Home sales down. But six cities defy housing gloom.

Home sales plunged in July and housing prices may dip again. But in six metropolitan areas, the housing picture is far brighter: Home values are rising and median prices are already well ahead of their peak during the housing bubble. Is your city on the list?

6. Buffalo, N.Y.

Derek Gee/The Buffalo News/AP
Mallory Gawronski (left) and her brother Conner of Lackawanna, N.Y., fly through the water earlier this month on an inflatable tube towed by a motor boat driven by their parents in the outer harbor in Buffalo, N.Y. The metro area has seen the largest three-year appreciation in home sales of any metro area in the US.
John Kehe/The Christian Science Monitor
Here are Top 10 cities who have seen home prices rise since the peak of the housing bubble.

Buffalo is tops among metro areas in terms of home-price appreciation. The median sales price of existing single-family homes has risen from $104,000 in 2007 to $121,400 in the second quarter of 2010, a 17 percent increase. Employment, buoyed by the presence of several health-care facilites and the State University of New York at Buffalo, is at an 11-month high and the unemployment rate is well below the national average.

Buffalo still has its challenges: continuing population decline and incomes below the national average. Not everyone's a fan of its huge annual snowfall. But the metro area is beginning to gain recognition for its affordability. Forbes magazine earlier this year rated it the 10th best place to raise a family in the US.

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