It appears to be. A slew of statistics are showing signs that the poster child for real estate devastation, California, is finally showing signs of returning to life.
Some recently released statistics provide a compelling case that things in The Golden State are getting much better. According to the California Association Of Realtors (CAR), inventories of unsold, previously owned homes shrank to a five-year low in December.
The supply of unsold inventory shrank from 5.6 months a year ago to the current number of 3.8 months. More importantly, December's number is substantially lower than the peak of 16.6 months in January 2008. The current number is equivalent to that last seen in 2005 - during the mania in real estate. By comparison the trough was about 1.5 months recorded in 2004.
Note: this does NOT mean I am calling for a renewed mania.
The median price of an existing single-family home has risen 8.4% from one year ago to $306,000, making December the 10th straight month-over-month increase.
As to Southern California, sales were up 16.4% from November and 12% from December of last year, according to MDA Data Quick, a San Diego-based firm which tracks real estate trends from public property records.
December sales figures were the highest for that month since 2006. MDA Data Quick's methodology compares like month to like month as opposed to "seasonally adjusting" numbers. Despite the increase in sales, they remain 11% BELOW the average for a December as compiled over the last 22 years.
Nationally, the picture is not nearly so rosy. Today, the National Association of Realtors (NAR), reported that sales had FALLEN to a "seasonally adjusted" rate of 5.45 million in December from 6.54 million in November. The median sales price was $178,300 - up 1.5% from one year ago. This was the first yearly gain since August 2007.
My call for a bottom in RESIDENTIAL real estate has generated some heat in the past. I'm ready for ya!
TAKE ME ON!
P.S. According to the latest vote tallies, it appears that Ben Bernanke WILL be approved for a second term.
I'll cover the implications of a second Bernanke term in the near future as new developments unfold.