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updated: 8/29/2012 6:30 AM

Hottest and coldest U.S. housing markets

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Associated Press

U.S. home prices rose in June from the same month last year, according to the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home price index released Tuesday.

Steady increases have contributed to a housing recovery that began earlier this year. And most markets are being affected by foreclosures.

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Bank-owned homes typically sell at a sharp discount, weighing down the values of nearby homes. In markets where the supply of bank-owned homes for sale has declined, investors and other buyers will often drive up prices on the few properties that hit the market.

Here are the top five cities that have recorded home price gains over the past year and the five that have posted the steepest declines in the same period:

Five hottest markets:

1. Phoenix, up 13.9 percent.

The combination of fewer foreclosures coming onto the market and investor demand for bank-owned homes has created bidding wars, driving prices higher. But sales of bank-owned homes sank to the lowest level in nearly 4 years last month.

2. Minneapolis, up 5.7 percent.

Sales of foreclosed homes have been rising, growing 33 percent in the first three months of the year. Even so, Minneapolis still has a nearly 20-month supply of foreclosures.

3. Miami, up 4.4 percent.

Investors and overseas buyers have been scooping up homes. Sales in June hit the highest level for that month in five years. But the market still has a 20.3-month supply of foreclosures.

4. Denver, up 4 percent.

Sales in Denver have posted monthly annual increases going back to February. Nearly 21 percent of sales in June were made by buyers that didn't list the home as their primary residence. That suggests they were investors or people buying second homes.

5. Washington, up 3.9 percent.

The Washington metropolitan area, including suburbs in Maryland and Virginia, benefits from a healthy job market, much of it linked to the federal government. Demand for homes is consistently strong, and foreclosure activity in the area slowed in the first half of the year.

Five coldest markets:

1. Atlanta, down 12.1 percent.

The housing market is weighed down by 11 percent unemployment, partly due to heavy reliance on the construction and real estate markets. The market also has about a 12-month supply of unsold homes, which is about twice that of a healthy market.

2. New York, down 2.1 percent.

Prices in New York remain beyond the reach of most buyers. Even homes in foreclosure that are being sold at deep discounts remain high. It takes, on average, nearly three years for a home in the New York area to complete the foreclosure process, which means many potential sales are delayed for years.

3. Las Vegas, down 1.8 percent.

Sales have slowed as the inventory of bank-owned homes on the market has declined. High unemployment and a tourism-dependent economy have put off some buyers.

4. Chicago, down 1.7 percent.

The Chicago area's unemployment rate fell to 9.4 percent in June from 10.9 percent a year earlier. Sales of foreclosed homes have been climbing. The region's supply of bank-owned homes is now nearly 19 months.

5. Los Angeles, down 0.6 percent.

The housing market in Los Angeles has stabilized during the past year. More homes that are not in some stage of foreclosure have been selling. But the job market has been improving only slowly. So it's not creating enough demand to move prices higher.

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