Expected five-year price gain: 15.9% Sometimes called the "Wall Street of the West," San Francisco's large financial sector, seven Fortune 500 companies and thriving tech industry underpin the 7.6-million-person metro area's economy and housing market. Large employers that call San Francisco home range from Wells Fargo ( WFC) to Craigslist. The 25,000-student San Francisco State University also adds to local housing demand that Colpitts expects will increase in the next few years. "A rich, diverse cultural mix of people has transformed the greater Bay Area into a world-class city to make home," he says. Realtor.com has some 1,800 San Francisco homes for sale, from a $99,000 fire-damaged teardown to a $38 million eight-bedroom estate.