The market has picked up for sure some cities more than others. Orange county as a whole has about 23% increase comparing to November 2010. If you are curious about your area for your zip code WI, contact me and I would be happy to give you a detailed report. Call me at: 949-514-4177
Over the last year inventory (the number of homes for sale) has dropped steadily and the sales are increasing. It would be nice if we could measure how many offers were made on each property because it seems as though that is increasing but there is no data for that. The bottom line is that there is more demand than there is supply. When that happens prices tend to go up. The projection for the increase in property prices in Orange County for this year is 6.8%. That doesn't mean that is what will really happen but it is a good indication that prices will go up this year. Waiting to buy means higher costs for interest, property taxes, and insurance over the life of the ownership of the property. Irvine is consistently an area of very high demand compared to other areas in Orange County and that doesn't look like it will change in the near future. The rate of appreciation may be higher than other areas. Because of the relatively high number of sales, the appraisals are following the actual market values better than in areas with fewer sales.
If you are wondering what it is going to be in the future I can't tell you for sure. I can tell you that property usually gains an average of 4 to 6 percent a year. As you know things have been anything but average or normal for several years.
That's a pretty vague question and pretty much impossible to answer. Are you thinking about buying or selling? What are you short & long term real estate goals? Looking at appreciation on a monthly basis is pretty short sighted. Over the long term, real estate has traditionally been a great investment. I'd focus more on what your goals are in the next 5-10 years. Are you looking to buy your first "starter" home that you'll live in for a few years and then "move up"? Or are you looking for an investment property and you want positive cash flow for XX years? So many factors involved here.