Rapid home price increases in some parts of the country have prompted an alarm about another "housing bubble," but a New Jersey economist says that's not the case in the Garden State.

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Home prices overall are about 13 percent higher than a year ago, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, and a survey by Trulia finds home prices are overvalued in 19 of the top 100 markets in the country.

However, the economic jury is still out on whether the evidence is spotty or a real trend.

"What we've seen is prices have gone up, largely because the distressed properties have cleared through in many states -- not here in New Jersey, but in many other states," said Patrick O'Keefe, director of economic research at CohnReznick in Roseland.

O'Keefe said downward pressure on housing prices in New Jersey should continue until New Jersey's foreclosure crisis is resolved.

According to a report that was released in February by CohnReznick, New Jersey currently leads the nation in distressed mortgages.