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Location, Employment Helping Some Markets See Faster Recovery

The positive indicators seen in housing markets across the country are not a mirage, but a true recovery, according to ""RealtyTrac"":http://www.realtytrac.com/ VP Daren Blomquist and a panel of six real estate professionals who spoke during a roundtable discussion Friday.

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RealtyTrac ranked 100 markets in terms of recovery and found a smattering of markets from all regions in the top 20.

Florida and California markets were notable in both the top 20 and the bottom 20 recovering markets.

Blomquist said the defining factors for where a market landed on the ranks were location and employment. Inland Florida cities tended to rank near the bottom, while coastal cities ranked near the top.

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Another major factor was judicial status. States that rely on a judicial process to complete foreclosures tend to work through their foreclosure inventory more slowly and in turn, are making slower strides toward recovery.

Real estate professionals also pointed to rising inventory, declining numbers of underwater borrowers, and pent-up demand as factors helping their local markets recover.

Monty Smith, SVP of strategic initiatives for Realogy NRT, said pent-up demand is a major driver for the recovery across the nation. Employment and consumer confidence have improved enough that some of the demand is translating into home purchases, according to Smith.

While some Americans may have to turn to renting in the short-term, Smith says, ""homeownership is still a critical part of how Americans think of their lives.""

""We don't see a change in that,"" he added.

While the recovery is widespread, participants in Friday's roundtable worry the qualified mortgage rule will dampen the recovery. Studies have suggested anywhere from 25 to 43 percent of applicants receiving mortgages today will not qualify for a mortgage under the new rules.

The qualified mortgage rule, as it stands, would be ""not a hiccup in the recovery but a massacre,"" said one participant.

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