Bakersfield, Calif.
Bakersfield, Calif.
Average home price (2011): $131,000
Projected home price (2014): $128,500
Gross rent (2011): $736
Projected gross rent (2014): $829

After the housing market bubble burst, Bakersfield, Calif. became one of the nation's sickest housing markets, with plunging prices, high delinquency rates and many foreclosures. Unemployment here soared to more than 15%.

The local economy, which had previously relied on the rich farmlands nearby, became dependent on real estate development during the boom. When that industry vanished, it took a lot of jobs with it. Home prices have been cut in half since 2006.

With employment improving slowly but surely -- the unemployment rate fell a half point over the past 12 months -- rents are estimated to climb higher.

Winzer expects real estate investors to see average returns that are 2.5% higher than the national average.

Last updated July 12 2011: 10:25 AM ET
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