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The 10 Best and Worst Cities to Buy a House in 2011

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USAMapBuying a house in Washington, D.C. could be a great financial move this year, and home buyers in Columbus, Ohio, will see a dramatic reversal of fortunes in 2011.

But people looking to buy houses in Virginia Beach, Va., may want to keep on renting.

A report released recently by Clear Capital, a mortgage industry research company, predicts which major U.S. cities will see the biggest increases and the steepest declines in home prices in 2011. Washington, D.C. tops the list, with a predicted 6.5% increase this year, after a 5.3% rise in 2010. See our other coverage of the report here.

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Houston, Honolulu and Memphis each will experience price increases of between 3.2% and 3.6% this year. Columbus, Ohio, where home values dropped 17% in 2010, second only to Dayton, will round out the tMajorUSMarkets2op five cities this year, with a projected 2.1% increase.

“Some housing markets are well on their way to recovery, while others are experiencing a renewed downturn reminiscent of the housing crash only two years ago,” Alex Villacorta, Clear Capital’s senior statistician, said in a press release. “Understanding which path a given market is likely to follow is dependent on several key factors, but the two clear drivers are local unemployment rates and the prevalence of distressed homes.”

Declines in other cities may dwarf increases in the top performers, however. Homes in Virginia Beach, will probably drop 12.8%. Dayton, Tucson, and New Haven may all drop by more than 11%. Homeowners in Phoenix, famously battered by the housing bust, will see the fifth-worst decline this year, with property values dropping another 9.4% after watching them slide 8% last year.

Overall, the top 50 cities will lose 3.6% of their housing value in 2011, Clear Capital predicts.

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Images: Clear Capital

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