Third-best market: Topeka, Kan. Projected 2012 price gains: 4.7% Colpitts expects Topeka's rental market to do well in 2012 because of the area's high crop prices and low cost of living, "which makes the city more affordable for many folks." The capital of Kansas, 230,800-population Topeka has a diversified economy that revolves around agriculture, state government and other sectors. Publicly traded companies that call the city home include Capitol Federal Savings Bank ( CFFN) and Westar Energy ( WR) Footwear giant Collective Brands ( PSS) -- which owns the Keds, Saucony, Stride-Rite and Sperry Top-sider brands -- also has headquarters in Topeka. So does Collective's Payless shoe-store subsidiary. Goodyear Tire ( GT) and other manufacturers also operate large factories in town, while Washburn University calls Topeka home.