chief economist Jonathan Smoke's crystal ball. chief economist Jonathan Smoke checks the first and second derivative rates of change in the rich and deep data pool at the National Association of Realtors, and clocks in with a 2016 Top 10 markets to watch for growth in prices and sales volume.

Here's a look at the basic approach to the methodology:

Smoke and his team took past trends and seasonal variations of housing and economic data for the 100 largest markets in the country and stuck them into a time machine—oops, we mean a statistical model that predicts future values for home sales and prices. Then they identified the markets whose forecasted growth was equal to or better than the U.S. average. The resulting top 10 list is of the real estate markets that look the most bullish for the coming year.

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