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Housing recovery leaders & laggards

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Home prices in major markets across the country are improving, but some are faring better than others partly because of state foreclosure processes, according to one housing analyst.

"Home prices have bottomed out, and we're showing home prices rising now instead of falling," said Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac, of his firm's analysis of 100 major U.S. housing markets.

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Concentration of Foreclosures

RealtyTrac ranked the leaders and laggards in the housing market recovery based on factors like home prices, unemployment, percentage of underwater loans, foreclosure activity and the share of total sales to institutional investors.

"If a market is attracting institutional investors, it means it's on solid ground," Blomquist said.

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But just how much markets have recovered varies widely. In some areas, one in 178 homes were in the foreclosure process, while in the better-off regions, one in 86,368 homes were in foreclosure, according to RealtyTrac data.

"We actually saw, somewhat surprisingly, a couple of markets in upstate New York, in Albany ... and Rochester, N.Y., that were in the top five," Blomquist noted. San Francisco, San Jose, Calif., and Cape Coral-Ft. Meyers, Fla. are also leaders in the housing recovery, according to the data.

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But several cities including Baltimore and Hagerstown, Md. are lagging in the recovery in large part because those states require court involvement in the foreclosure process, which takes longer, Blomquist said.

The Allentown, Pa.; Rockford, Ill.; and Philadelphia areas are also lagging the overall housing market recovery, RealtyTrac found.

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