Where to Buy Now: Real Estate Markets With Great Deals

Sold Home For Sale Sign in Front of New House
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Overview

One positive to the housing market downturn was reduced prices throughout the country and while values look to be ticking upward, there are still areas where buyers can get good deals on quality homes. In general, Midwestern and Mid-Atlantic cities have the strongest buyers' markets, where homes for sale stay on the market longer, price cuts occur more frequently, and homes are sold for less than their listing price, according to Zillow.com's January 2013 buyer/seller index. Here are Zillow's top 10 picks for places with good deals on homes.

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Victorian Village
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\#9: Columbus, Ohio

This city boasts friendly residents and great values: The cost of living is more than 13 percent below the U.S. average and real estate prices are low. The median home in Columbus is valued at $126,200, down nearly 12 percent over the past five years. Home values are expected to tick up about one percent through 2013.

USA, Missouri, St. Louis, Gateway Arch, Monument at the riverside
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\#8: St. Louis, Missouri

Famous for the Gateway Arch, the tallest man-made monument in the United States, St. Louis offers abundant cuisine, live entertainment, and plenty of shopping. The cost of living is about 13.9 percent lower than the U.S. average, and the median home is valued at $126,200, down nearly 16% over the past five years and projected to fall further through 2013.

City Waterfront
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\#7: Baltimore, Maryland

Bustling Baltimore, the second largest seaport in the Mid-Atlantic U.S., is sometimes known as a "city of neighborhoods" -- from quiet and close-knit Medfield to historic Baltimore Highlands, you can choose from a wide range of communities. This city's cost of living is about 9.7 percent lower than the rest of the country and home values have fallen nearly 20 percent in the past five years to $222,000. But the time to buy may be now, as they're projected to jump about 1.4 percent during 2013, according to Zillow.

Pittsburgh, PA
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\#6: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, once known as a hub of the steel industry, has gotten beyond its hard-knock roots to become something of a cultural hub (the symphony orchestra is top-notch, and there are a number of world-class restaurants). Better yet: It's affordable -- the cost of living is nearly 12% below average -- and homes are downright cheap with the median home valued at $112,000 (down more than 7% over the past five years). These deals likely won't last: Zillow predicts home values will rise 1.4 percent this year.

Brownstone row houses in Manhattan, New York City
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\#5: New York, New York

You've probably long written off The Big Apple as an unaffordable place to live, and in many ways, it is -- the cost of living is a whopping 68.9 percent higher than the U.S. average. But right now, you might be able to snag some excellent real estate deals, as home values have fallen more than 19% over the past five years to $345,700 and are expected to remain at roughly that rate this year, according to Zillow. Just don't expect to get into a place in Manhattan for that; for more affordable options, consider Brooklyn or Queens.

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Ornate 19th century building
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\#4: Cincinnati, Ohio

Known for its friendly residents, decent job market and low cost of living, Cincinnati has plenty to offer young families. Plus, home values in the area are low at just under $122,000, down more than 14% over the past five years and expected to remain at roughly that level throughout the year, according to Zillow.

Patriotic American Street
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\#3: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Historic Philly -- home to the Liberty Bell -- is relatively affordable compared to other northeastern cities (the cost of living here is just 1% above average for the U.S., compared to nearly 70% for New York City). It also has an attractive real estate market with homes valued at $187,000, down more than 17% in the past five years. However, home prices are expected to climb nearly 1% this year.

Historic architecture of Shaker Heights
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\#2: Cleveland, Ohio

From history-filled, family-friendly Broadway Slavic Village to beach-accessible, arts-centered Detroit Shoreway, Cleveland – also known as the Rock 'n' Roll Capital of the World – flourishes with diversity and personality. Another perk: The cost of living is about 16.1 percent lower than other cities in the country. Homes here are affordable -- the median home is valued at $111,000 -- having dropped more than 14 percent over the past five years. If you're thinking about buying, you may want to act soon, as Zillow predicts home values will rise nearly 1% in 2013.

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