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Home prices have gone through a severe bear market for the past five years, after experiencing a strong rising market for several years before that. While some have become discouraged about residential real estate, the time for discouragement is past. Today's combination of low prices and low mortgage rates makes home buying very attractive. More than that, the real estate cycle itself is now far over-depressed, well below its long-term trend. The natural-and powerful-turn of that cyclic wheel in itself creates a major force driving appreciation of home prices over the next several years. To see this, we'll look at one of the most cyclic areas of all: California.
A picture is worth a thousand words, and in this case, so is a magazine cover. In both good times and bad the media loves a juicy housing story, as demonstrated by the cover images shown below. In 2005, TIME Magazine's "Home $weet Home" captured the buying euphoria at its peak, while housing's demise dominated headlines from 2006-2010. Over the last few years however, the headlines have become increasingly rosy once more. As Money Magazine's April 2013 issue succinctly phrased it, "Housing is Back!"