It stands to reason: The pool of consumers willing to invest in home improvement projects dramatically swells when home prices are increasing. Under those conditions, not only does a new kitchen look nice, it promises a nice ROI.
That's why the latest S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, released late March, was hailed by the industry as a positive sign. Not only did two widely watched indices of home prices climb to the highest marks since the burst of the housing bubble, but all 20 cities on the list posted year-over-year gains — eight of them in the double digits.
At the top of the list were markets that were among those hardest hit by the bust — Phoenix, San Francisco and Las Vegas.
Here are the 20 cities and how their January 2013 level increased over the January 2012 level: