Fourth-best market: Charleston, W.Va.
Projected 2012 price gains: 4.5%
"Charleston is one of those rare places that has suffered for so long that it's reviving because of retirees moving to the area for a lower cost of living," Colpitts says. "That will boost the market for investors."
West Virginia's capital city hosts lots of state agencies, as well as Appalachian Power, Mountaineer Gas and other large companies.
The University of Charleston and West Virginia State University are also major employers in the 304,000-person metro area.