For a number of states around the country, the housing bubble is beginning to burst.

States like California, Arizona and Nevada that have had record housing appreciation are now starting to cool.

The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight reports home prices have registered the smallest quarterly increase in 13 years.

And yet, Utah's housing appreciation is still on the rise.

According to OFHEO, the Beehive State recorded the largest appreciation nationwide between the second quarter of 2006 and the second quarter of 2007. In fact, the top five in terms of appreciation are Western states: Utah (15.3 percent), Wyoming (12.8 percent), Washington (9.1 percent), Montana (9.1 percent), and New Mexico (8.8 percent).

States with the largest decline in prices during the same period are Nevada (-1.5 percent), Michigan (-1.4 percent), California (-1.4 percent), Massachusetts (-1.0 percent), and Rhode Island (-1.0 percent).

In addition, OFHEO reports Utah has two of the top three metro areas with the greatest housing appreciation: Provo-Orem (18.2 percent), and Salt Lake City (16.0 percent). Only Wenatchee, Wash. (23.5 percent), enjoyed stronger price growth.

So what do we make of all this good news? Jaren L. Davis, vice president of Business Development for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, believes Utah's solid appreciation in the housing market coupled with the state's strong economy positions Utah well for sustained long-term growth. He says this is occurring now because the state didn't see major appreciation while other states were; now Utah has affordability as the other states' declines keep this area in check. Also, he says, Utah has tools in place suggesting it is a safe harbor for homeownership and real estate investment.

Analysts believe Utah has been able to see such strong gains at least partly because of the hyper-appreciation seen by states like California and Nevada. At the end of the day, housing affordability is a significant issue in a lot of different areas.

So while it may seem to be getting worse in the West relative to other parts of the country, affordability is much better in Utah, says Andrew Leventis, senior economist for OFHEO. The agency does not make economic predictions, but Leventis adds, "It is fair to say that demographic trends and macro-economic conditions (in the Mountain West region) seem to be favorable at the moment." He cites the state's low jobless rate along with relatively low interest rates as favorable indications for the near future.