Top 5 Rebounding Housing Markets

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Where to buy right now? The answer is not what the blaring good news headlines of the past six months would have you believe. A housing rebound is in full swing but it is very uneven, with some towns on a rollercoaster ride to ever higher prices and many other cities seemingly stuck in neutral, with slim price bumps to show for the past year.

The other fact: parse the numbers and they clearly point to five towns that belong on any house shopper's list.

First, however, know this: many house markets are slowing as three factors come into play. Recent price jumps may mean bargains are fewer and so are buyers. In most cities, the inventory of foreclosed homes has dwindled, and the thinking is that there won't be a fresh dump of foreclosures anytime soon. Factor three: mortgage interest rates are edging up. 30-year fixed rate loans are going out on average around 4.5%, and that is up from 3.31% in November.

So contracts to buy previously owned homes actually fell 1.3% last month, according to the National Association of Realtors. Mortgage loan applications have tumbled 14% since May, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Does this mean it's no longer a good time to buy? Absolutely not. In the right cities it may be an even better time to buy, because the herd has thinned.

You want names? Read on.

Las Vegas: It tops just about every list of rebounding home markets. Realty number-crunchers Case Shiller peg the year-on-year uptick at 24.9%.

Online real estate brokerage Redfin's numbers show a 39.1% year on year gain and an average home sales price of $175,000.

One of the hardest hit real estate markets, Las Vegas still finds its prices a way off from the highs. Dave Tina, president of the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors, pegged the 2005 to 2007 price of that $175,000 home at $315,000, in an interview with the Las Vegas Review Journal.