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9. Lakeland-Winter Haven, Fla.

Year-over-year Median List Price Appreciation: 9.09%
Year-over-year Median Age of Inventory: -28.89%
Year-over-year Inventory: -35.28%
Unemployment Rate (November): 11.0%
Search/Listing Ratio Rank: 4

Just a year ago, Florida's Lakeland-Winter Haven area had the dubious distinction of topping national lists of foreclosure filings. However, those filings are now on the decline, and in September 2011 the number of distressed homes sold dropped to 86 from 107 in the previous month, and 132 in the year before.

If any figure dampens the outlook for the area, it’s the unemployment rate. Although it dropped from 12 percent in the third quarter to 11 percent in the fourth, the area clearly has a long path to recovery.

Reinhold Matay | AP