Is the Housing Bubble Back?

| Wed Jan. 16, 2013 12:16 PM EST

Yesterday I read a post by Karl Smith suggesting we might already be headed into a second housing bubble. His argument was a little convoluted, though, so I filed it in the back of my brain and continued with my day. This morning, though, I read this in the LA Times:

Southern California's housing market ended the year with sharp gains, rounding out the first solid year of sustained improvement after nearly five years of real estate malaise....The region's median home price registered a sizable 19.6% pop in December compared with the same month last year.

...."There is no possible way that number can be sustained nor should anybody look at that as a long-term trend," said Stuart Gabriel, director of the Ziman Center for Real Estate at UCLA. "We haven't shifted from bust back to bubble, and nobody should think we have, and nor likely will we."

Hmmm. A 20 percent gain? Sounds pretty bubblish to me! I guess time will tell whether Smith or Gabriel has the better of this story.