John Steinbeck once said, “What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” It’s a time when moms have no carpools to drive and no schedules to abide by; dads come home early from work; and of course, kids enjoy the freedom of being study-free for three months. We drink sangria with friends on the deck of our lake houses, listen to the sound of kids splashing in the pool, and smell sunscreen mixed with the sweet aroma of popsicle juice. Ah, the sweet and lazy days of summer never felt so good, Steinbeck!

The California writer’s words seem apt for the real estate market right now too, which appears to have woken up from its winter slumber (also known as “the financial crisis”) right as school lets out, temperatures rise, and bathing suits and flip flops replace our usual uniforms. Granted, summer doesn’t officially start until June 21, but it seems California is getting a head start: many parts of the Golden State are “embarking on a stretch of triple-digit days” while simultaneously seeing double digit year-over-year home price gains.

Could summer have arrived early this year? Let’s take a look in the context of the latest real estate headlines.

Oakland, Oakland, Oakland. Bay area home prices are shooting up, but Oakland is leading the pack. (See? Didn’t we say it’s the Brooklyn of the West?) 

Even hardest hit areas in the Bay Area (Oakley, Antioch, East Oakland, East Palo Alto and East San Jose) are hot right now as a swarm of move-in buyers and investors compete for a relatively small number of homes for sale, says the San Jose Mercury News

Curious where the best neighborhoods and schools are in the Bay Area? The San Francisco Business Times has the list. 

It’s getting hot down in Southern California–and it’s not just the weather. Prices for homes in the Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine area grew 20%; while home prices in the L.A.-Long Beach-Glendale area rose 19% and prices in the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario area rose 17%, reports Southern California Public Radio

Are McMansions making a comeback? The Census Bureau thinks so.  

According to Emerging Trends in Real Estate, recent job creation should be enough to keep the recovery on track. 

We seem to be leaving the legacy of the financial crisis behind as record-low interest rates gradually disappear, says the Washington Post. 

Even if mortgage rates are back above 4% for the first time in a year, it’s probably not going to be enough to take the wind out of the sails of the real estate rebound, or so the Wall Street Journal reports. 

Are Wall Street investors creating a new bubble? Forbes examines. 

Home prices in April grew 3.2% during the month and were up 12.1% from the same period in the prior year–the highest rate since February 2006, reports MarketWatch