Is the Arizona market still on the rise?

Phoenix recently took the nod as the nation's hottest housing market, with prices rising 34% year over year for the quarter ending Sept. 30, according to the statistics from the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight. Next up were two neighboring southwest Florida coastal communities -- Cape Coral-Fort Myers, which saw prices jump 33%, and Naples, with a rise of 32%.

Besides newfound retirement destinations -- like St. George, Utah, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, and yet another Arizona market, Prescott -- the remainder of the top 20 price-gainers this past year were cities in Florida and California. This growth shows how coastal areas with warm climates continue to see much demand.

The hot markets are still hot," says Philip Hopkins, managing director of U.S. regional services with Global Insight, an economic research firm. "We're seeing some slowing in the rate of price growth, and in some cases price declines outside of the hot housing markets. A soft landing of housing prices is starting to show up outside the hot housing markets. The question is, when does it show up in the hot housing markets?"

Global Insight and financial services concern National City put out a report each quarter on which markets they consider the most overvalued in terms of price. Naples, Fla., recently took the nod as the nation's most overvalued market. However, from the second quarter to the third quarter of this year, the bulk of the overvalued markets remained the same, with only Phoenix, Honolulu, Pensacola, Fla., and Orlando, Fla., being added to the list. Hopkins says this steadiness shows how pricing is holding up in overheated markets.

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