's August "Hotness Index" is showing better signs for the battered metros of the Great Recession.

Markets like Vallejo and Stockton, Calif., and Columbus, Ohio, now stud the top of the "Hotness Index," which measures days a home stays on the market and how many pageviews the homes received.

MarketWatch reporter Andrea Riquier spoke with Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke for some details on these markets:

There’s another signal that outsize demand isn’t inflating a bubble this time around, Smoke said. Beyond cyclical job losses, a major factor that weighs on local housing markets is when the population shrinks over a long period of time, like in Detroit. But places like Columbus, which had been losing population for years, are re-appearing on’s index of hottest metros. “They’re not losing young people now,” he said.

In August, Columbus hit number-seven on the hotness list. Not far behind it, at number-nine, was Detroit. In fact, several other metros that have struggled, from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to Central Falls, Rhode Island, are all improving in terms of “hotness” compared to a year ago, Smoke said.

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