A lot of Americans saw their wealth disappear when the real estate bubble burst in 2008. For many it was much more than a paper loss, leaving them owing more on their homes than they could fetch in resale.

(Wonder if there’s more trouble brewing? Check out New York: the next bubble to burst?)

They say time heals all wounds, and the housing market has, in fact, bounced back. Real estate professionals track the trends in the market, and what they have found is positive. The latest national data from the National Association of Realtors, which covered the first three weeks in July, saw sales rise 7% over the previous June and 1% since May. The median price hit $234,000.

The website noted that recent data showed an even larger increase over the previous month. Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for the site, in a statement said that positive trends usually slow as summer drags on, suggesting that “this bodes well for more moderate price appreciation in the months ahead.”

Still, there are mixed signals with new home sales down about 7%, so the path ahead is promising, but not entirely clear.

There are many ways to measure real estate markets. The realtor group listed the hottest markets in the country, with the San Francisco, Dallas and Denver metro areas leading the country.

Choosing the healthiest housing markets was the task WalletHub decided to tackle. To rank the top 25 markets, the website used eight metrics, including how much equity locals held in their homes, the time until mortgages would be paid off and the cost of mortgages.

We’ve listed the 12 best housing markets in the U.S., based on WallettHub’s data, and included four of the key metrics and where each city ranked. Underwater mortgages are those in which zero equity or less is held, and precarious mortgages are those with equity of zero to 10%.

Downtown Nashville. (Photo: AP)

12. Nashville, Tennessee

Equity Level: 28% (tied for 15th)

Underwater Mortgages: 9.57% (7th)

Precarious Mortgages: 16.74% (25th)

Years Until Financial Freedom: 21 (tied for 12th)

Mortgage Costs: 4.69% (11th)

Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville. (Photo: AP)

11. Louisville, Kentucky

Equity Level: 32% (tied for 10th)

Underwater Mortgages: 9.39% (6th)

Precarious Mortgages: 10.5% (19th)

Years Until Financial Freedom: 20 (tied for 5th)

Mortgage Costs: 4.78% (13th)

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston. (Photo: AP)

10. Houston

Equity Level: 32% (tied for 10th)

Underwater Mortgages: 10.7% (10th)

Precarious Mortgages: 9.97% (15th)

Years Until Financial Freedom: 20 (tied for 5th)

Mortgage Costs: 5.19% (24th)

Philadelphia's Liberty Bell. (Photo: AP)

9. Philadelphia-N.J. metro area

Equity Level: 36% (tied for 5th)

Underwater Mortgages: 10,67% (9th)

Precarious Mortgages: 9.14% (12th)

Years Until Financial Freedom: 20 (tied for 5th)

Mortgage Costs: 4.64% (9th)

The Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

8. Rochester, New York

Equity Level: 38% (tied for 3rd)

Underwater Mortgages: 6.13% (1st)

Precarious Mortgages: 8.2% (9th)

Years Until Financial Freedom: 17 (1st)

Mortgage Costs: 4.89% (20th)

Brooklyn Bridge with Manhattan in background.

7. New York City

Equity Level: 47% (1st)

Underwater Mortgages: 9.96% (8th)

Precarious Mortgages: 6.46% (3rd)

Years Until Financial Freedom: 20 (tied for 5th)

Mortgage Costs: 4.79% (15th)

Bob Bullock History Museum in Austin. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

6. Austin, Texas

Equity Level: 33% (tied for 8th)

Underwater Mortgages: 7.29% (3rd)

Precarious Mortgages: 10.55% (20th)

Years Until Financial Freedom: 22 (tied for 18th)

Mortgage Costs: 4.81% (18th)

A statue of the Spirit of Victory in Bushnell Park in Hartford. (Photo: AP)

5. Hartford, Connecticut

Equity Level: 35% (7th)

Underwater Mortgages: 12.53% (12th)

Precarious Mortgages: 7.77% (7th)

Years Until Financial Freedom:  19 (tied for 2nd)

Mortgage Costs: 4.57% (7th)

View of Jersey City from Liberty State Park.

4. Northern New Jersey

Equity Level: 38% (tied for 3rd)

Underwater Mortgages: 13.8% (13th)

Precarious Mortgages: 5.96% (tied for 2nd)

Years Until Financial Freedom: 20 (tied for 5th)

Mortgage Costs: 4.53% (5th)

River Walk in San Antonio. (Photo: AP)

3. San Antonio, Texas

Equity Level: 36% (tied for 5th)

Underwater Mortgages: 9.08% (5th)

Precarious Mortgages: 10.15% (tied for 17th)

Years Until Financial Freedom: 19 (tied for 2nd)

Mortgage Costs: 5.24% (25th)

Oklahoma City State Capitol Building.

2. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Equity Level: 36% (tied for 5th)

Underwater Mortgages: 7.32% (4th)

Precarious Mortgages: 10.84% (21st)

Years Until Financial Freedom: 19 (tied for 2nd)

Mortgage Costs: 4.97% (22nd)

Boston park. (Photo: AP)

1. Boston

Equity Level: 43% (tied for 2nd)

Underwater Mortgages: 6.67% (2nd)

Precarious Mortgages: 5.46% (tied for 1st)

Years Until Financial Freedom: 21 (tied for 12th)

Mortgage Costs: 4.23% (1st)

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