The 10 Best U.S. Housing Markets 2013

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The percentage of Americans optimistic about the U.S. housing market has reached levels not seen since rumblings of the financial crisis began.

A new Rasmussen Reports national survey found 37% of homeowners believe the value of their home will increase in the next year – thehighest since September 2008.

And 58% of Americans believe their homes are worth more now than when they bought them. That's the highest percentage believing this since fall 2011.

Recent housing data shows why: U.S. home prices measured by the Case-Shiller index were up 9.3% in February from a year ago, the biggest increase in almost seven years. That move follows January's rise of 8.1%.

Phoenix led all markets in February with a year-over-year gain of 23%, while prices surged nearly 19% in San Francisco, 17.6% in Las Vegas and 16.5% in Atlanta.

Even better, prices rose in all 20 cities in the index for the second straight month, reflecting the growing belief that the housing recovery is for real.

The 10 Best Housing Markets

According to Zillow's Home Value Index, median U.S. home prices rose 5.1% to $157,600. from the end of Q1 2012 to the end of Q1 2013.

Here are the top-performing housing markets over that span, when prices bottomed in each market, and where prices are headed.

Six of the top 10 are in California, which was hit harder than most states by the housing collapse.

1. Phoenix, AZ

  • Year-over-year change in home prices: 24% increase
  • Average home value: $165,600
  • Bottom in home values: Q3 2011
  • 1-year price forecast: 10.6% increase

2. Las Vegas, NV

  • Year-over-year change: 22.3% increase
  • Average home value: $138,800
  • Bottom in home values: Q1 2012
  • 1-year price forecast: 7.5% increase

3. San Jose, CA

  • Year-over-year change: 22.1% increase
  • Average home value: $676,100
  • Bottom in home values: Q2 2009
  • 1-year price forecast: 9.7% increase

4. San Francisco, CA

  • Year-over-year change: 21.4% increase
  • Average home value: $563,200
  • Bottom in home values: Q1 2012
  • 1-year price forecast: 10.5% increase

5. Sacramento, CA

  • Year-over-year change: 20.1% increase
  • Average home value: $241,600
  • Bottom in home values: Q1 2012
  • 1-year price forecast: 15.6% increase

6. San Diego, CA

  • Year-over-year change: 17.1% increase
  • Average home value: $396,800
  • Bottom in home values: Q1 2012
  • 1-year price forecast: 8.8% increase

7. Riverside, CA

  • Year-over-year change: 16.3% increase
  • Average home value: $210,100
  • Bottom in home values: Q1 2012
  • 1-year price forecast: 17.2% increase

8. Los Angeles, CA

  • Year-over-year change: 14.9% increase
  • Average home value: $439,400
  • Bottom in home values: Q1 2012
  • 1-year price forecast: 11.1% increase

9. Detroit, MI

  • Year-over-year change: 13.1% increase
  • Average home value: $84,700
  • Bottom in home values: Q3 2011
  • 1-year price forecast: 4.4% increase

10. Denver, CO

  • Year-over-year change: 13.1% increase
  • Average home value: $234,200
  • Bottom in home values: Q2 2011
  • 1-year price forecast: 3.1% increase

For more on housing, check out Money Morning's 5 Charts Prove the Housing Recovery is for Real – and Just Beginning.

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