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?

3. Springfield, Ill.

Seth Perlman/AP/File
In this July 15, 2010 photo, construction workers Brian Stocks (left) and Cody Marinelli unload doors to a new home under construction in Springfield, Ill. The median price of a home there has jumped from a housing-bubble high of $109,000 to $123,600 this year, according to recent data.

Much of the city's early history is inextricably bound to its most famous resident, Abraham Lincoln, who lived in Springfield from 1837 until he left for the White House in 1861. He helped make it the state capital (Illinois's third) in 1839. When a local race riot led to the lynching of two African Americans in 1908, black leaders noted that it occurred in Lincoln's old city, weakening their faith in the Republican Party and causing them to found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Things have been a little quieter since that time. Even the great recession has so far failed to make a huge dent in Springfield's economy, which relies heavily on state government spending and payroll. Those steady jobs, in turn, have helped the housing market. The median price of a local single-family home barely dipped when the housing bubble burst and has now climbed to $123,600, up 13 percent from its prerecession peak, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Springfield is the only one of the six post-bubble cities with median household income above the national average: $53,408 vs. $52,029. But it also faces the biggest economic challenge, because Illinois is struggling with its worst budget in history (more than $12 billion) and the largest of any state this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislators.

If state government jobs start getting cut, the effect could spill over into the housing market.

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