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5 Top Cities for Real Estate Investors in 2012

No. 1 investor market: Miami
Projected 2012 price gains: 5.8%
Hard-hit by South Florida's real estate bust, 2.5 million-population Greater Miami is recovering slowly as second-home sales boost property values.

"Miami tops the list with the highest forecast housing inflation for the year" among recommended cities, Colpitts says. "[That] makes the community a good bet for long-term real estate investors."

Long a popular tourist spot and jumping-off point for Caribbean cruises, Florida's largest city is home to Carnival Corp. (CCL - Get Report) and other travel firms.

Miami's large Hispanic population and proximity to Latin America also make it a major center for Spanish-language music and TV programming. Univision, Telemundo and other Spanish-language media have headquarters or major operations there.

Other large companies based in Miami include home builder Lennar (LEN - Get Report) and restaurant chains Burger King (BKC) and Benihana (BNHN)

Colpitts says the city's housing market still has an uncertain future.

"Prices aren't expected to reach where they peaked in much of Florida for at least another 20 to 30 years," he says.

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