Top 5 Turnaround Towns: Home Prices Expected To Rise Here

Last Updated Jun 9, 2011 3:25 PM EDT

When will home prices rise? That's the question of the week. Unfortunately, there are no easy answers. Many local markets around the country are taking baby steps towards recovery. But it doesn't look like prices are stabilizing in much of the country.

The National Association of Realtors reported that home sales rose in April, but pending sales have now falling 12 percent. Property prices are still falling in most of the country. Last week, the S&P Case/Schiller Index reported that home values are where they were back in 2002, although in places like Atlanta, it's looking like 1998 all over again. And in some places, we're back to home values last seen in the 1980s.

Weak employment numbers aren't exactly helping the housing market. Unemployment is now the single biggest factor for new foreclosures (we've burned through all those exotic mortgages, I'm afraid) and the number of employees filing for unemployment benefits was 422,000 last week, significantly above estimates. Nationally, unemployment is now 9.1 percent - hardly a real estate tonic. More like a real estate nightmare.

On the bright side, mortgage interest rates are now near historic lows again. With home values as low as they've been in about a decade (or two), affordability is high. The question is, where should you buy? Optimally, you'd want to buy in a place where home prices are expected to rise.

As we head deeper into the 2011 home buying season, real estate data from Realtor.com and other sources was used to identify five local U.S. real estate markets considered top candidates for a turnaround or where the recovery seems to be already underway. Median list price indicates what sellers are asking--but don't always get--for their properties.

Here's a list of five markets where things are heating up:

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    Ilyce R. Glink is an award-winning, nationally-syndicated columnist, best-selling book author and founder of Best Money Moves, an employee benefit program that helps reduce financial stress. She also owns ThinkGlink.com, where readers can find real estate and personal finance resources.