While the U.S. housing market has come back with a vengeance from its recession lows, that recovery over the past several years has been quite uneven.
The Economist notes that U.S. housing prices overall have appreciated by 17 percent over the past three years. But it also acknowledges that statistic doesn't reflect the greater market landscape.
In fact, according to the latest annual Coldwell Banker Home Listing Report, half of the 100 most expensive housing markets in the U.S. are in California, while cities in the Midwest dominate the report's most affordable rankings.
Budge Huskey, president and CEO of Coldwell Banker Real Estate, said consumers should examine those numbers carefully. "At this point in the stage of the recovery ... it's really important that people go beyond the national metrics," he told CBS MoneyWatch.
"It really is all about the local and hyper-local market, and there's more affordability around many of these markets than people anticipate or believe, based on reading the headlines."
The report looked at the average listing price of four-bedroom, two-bath real estate properties on coldwellbanker.com of more than 81,000 listings in nearly 3,000 markets.
As you might expect, the top five most expensive markets are in California, with four located in the Silicon Valley region, where the tech-fueled boom has created a cutthroat real estate market.
And while Midwestern cities like Cleveland and Detroit have been pummeled by the recession and, in the case of Detroit, municipal bankruptcy, Huskey said a stronger economy has made those cities more attractive to industries looking for inexpensive real estate, which in turn attracts job hunters looking for convenient homes.
Here, according to the Coldwell Banker report, are the five most expensive and most affordable housing markets in the U.S.
#5 Most Expensive
Los Gatos, California. Average listing price: $1,569,615
#4 Most Expensive
Cupertino, California. Average listing price: $1,659,297
#3 Most Expensive
Saratoga, California. Average listing price: $1,979,218
#2 Most Expensive
Palo Alto, California. Average listing price: $2,066,600
#1 Most Expensive
Newport Beach, California. Average listing price: $2,291,764
#5 Most Affordable
Alma, Michigan. Average listing price: $90,523
#4 Most Affordable
Detroit, Michigan. Average listing price: $81,616
#3 Most Affordable
Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Average listing price: $79,480
#2 Most Affordable
Riverdale, Georgia. Average listing price: $79,223
#1 Most Affordable
Cleveland, Ohio. Average listing price: $74,502