Home prices in 10% of the nation's top 200 housing markets have recently hit new peaks or are only a hair away, new data show.
Another 24 of the top markets are within 5% of their previous peaks, according to data provided to USA TODAY by real estate tracker Lender Processing Services.
Many of those cities are likely to hit new peaks this year, economists say, given projections for continued price increases.
The data show how far prices in many cities have rebounded since the historic housing bust after mid-2006 - and how far they still have to go in most cities. The figures also underscore the uneven impact of the housing bubble, and then bust, in different regions.
Dozens of markets where prices peaked in 2006 or earlier are still 25% to 58% below those plateaus, LPS says.
Many cities now at or close to previous highs never saw the price run-ups leading up to the bust that others did. They didn't drop as far, so they have less of a climb back.
Of the cities within 5% of their previous peaks, none saw more than an 11% decline in home values from mid-2006 to the market's bottom in early 2012, LPS data shows. Nationally, prices fell almost 28% during that time.
"We didn't get invited to the party, so we never had the hangover," says Ron Croushore, CEO of Prudential Preferred Realty in Pittsburgh, where LPS shows prices peaked in 2012 and are now down less than 1%.
Denver, which was up almost 1% in February from its 2006 peak, suffered almost a 10% decline during the national housing bust.
Honolulu, which in February was within 2% of its 2007 peak, saw an 11% decline.
Job growth is another big factor in recovered markets.
Austin; Denver; Baton Rouge, La.; Houston; Oklahoma City; and Knoxville, Tenn., are at their previous highs or within 5%, LPS' data show.
In March, all of them posted stronger annual job growth than the national average of 1.4%, based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
Austin's job growth was 4% year-over-year. Home prices there are up 9.7% from mid-2006, LPS data show.
The strong job market "has helped our housing market recover rather quickly," says Angelos Angelou of the Austin-based Angelou Economics.
Seattle had a big fall, with prices down 26% from mid-2006 to 2012. It's still 21% off of its previous peak, LPS data show.
"Even though prices are rising a lot, we still have a ways to go," says E.J. Bowlds, managing broker for Coldwell Banker Bain in a Seattle suburb.
In the past year, national home prices rose faster than many had expected. LPS shows a 7.3% gain in February year over year.
Some cities have done even better. Home prices in Phoenix and San Francisco were up 19%.
Despite the gain, Phoenix is 36% off its 2006 peak. San Francisco is almost 25% off its peak, LPS says.
Las Vegas and the Central California cities of Stockton and Modesto are more than 50% below their peaks.
It'll be years before those cities hit their previous highs, says Jed Kolko, economist for real estate website Trulia.