Third-shortest break-even period: Phoenix, Ariz.
Break-even point: 2.1 years

Phoenix is rising from the housing bust's ashes, with median local property values bouncing back by an estimated 24% over the past year to hit $165,600.

Zillow predicts home values will rise another 10.6% during the coming 12 months, which means people who buy Phoenix properties can expect a quick break-even point.

Gudell says that's particularly true given that home values are still relatively low when compared with the area's $1,170 estimated median rent.

Add in the expected future home-price appreciation and "it's looking pretty smart to buy in Phoenix right now," she says.

Zillow lists nearly 7,000 Phoenix-area houses and condos as up for sale.

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