Home prices are soaring.

Does that mean we're on the verge of another housing bubble?

Not exactly, as millions of homeowners remain underwater and prices are still well below their peak from seven years ago.

The fact that prices are going up, in other words, is more a function of how far they fell rather than current overexuberance -- not to mention, the upward trend appears to be moderating considerably.

In a report released yesterday, the data analytics firm CoreLogic illustrated the progress of the ongoing recovery in its monthly Home Price Index Report. According to CoreLogic, nationwide prices increased in August by 0.9% compared to July and by 12.4% over the same month last year.

What follows is a list of the five states where home prices are increasing at the fastest pace on a monthly basis.


Home Price Increase Over July

Home Price Increase Over August of 2012

New York






North Dakota









Source: CoreLogic.

While these states appear to have little in common, the ongoing trend is likely to be a welcome relief to the mortgage lenders servicing these markets. U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB) comes to mind. While the nation's largest regional bank has operations throughout the United States, it's headquartered in Minnesota. Over the last year, the bank has recorded a return on equity of 14.1%, a phenomenal feat for any large lender in the current regulatory environment.

For the same reason, Bank of Hawaii (NYSE:BOH) is likely to experience a disproportionate amount of the benefit from the improvement in home values. As the company's chief executive officer noted during a recent presentation to analysts and investors, "we have a No. 1 or 2 market share in 82% of the zip codes in the state of Hawaii."

John Maxfield has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of Hawaii. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.