TODAY | May 30, 2013
>>> the housing market is improving, but is there a new real estate bubble already on the horizon? nbc's stephanie gosk is here with a closer look at what's going on. hi, stephanie .
>> good morning, matt. the new housing numbers show prices rising at the fastest pace since 2006 . but look closely, may be too soon to celebrate.
>> reporter: a big day for sarah, she's finally getting the keys to her new house.
>> here you go.
>> happy to be a homeowner, doubly happy her real estate battle is over. in six months, she made nine offers and out bid eight times.
>> every offer was a cash offer.
>> a victim of the white hot housing market in oakland, california. her successful offer was $100,000 over the asking price . just before the housing bubble burst in 2008 , shocking stories of real estate hysteria like this were repeated all across the country. have those days really returned? the numbers are rebounding. an index of 20 cities shows 10.9% growth in housing prices in the last year. the highest growth rate since 2006 . three cities, las vegas , phoenix, and san francisco showed annual growth over 20%. some experts say the san francisco area may be on the cusp of another bubble. but for many cities, prices sunk so deep during the recession, there's still a long way to go.
>> remember, these markets are still 40, even 50% down in home prices from where they were during the peak of the housing boom.
>> reporter: after the collapse, banks are now very careful whom they lend to. so mortgages are harder to come by. some of the surge in sales is from investors with lots of money looking to cash in as the market heats up.
>> what's happened in some of the most distressed markets is that investors have come in and bought up all the distressed properties. that is homes on the very low end. and that's pushed those prices up higher.
>> reporter: so a buyer with a mortgage faces tough competition.
>> i think people are doing whatever it takes to get a house in the bay area right now.
>> reporter: the only way to get the house is to offer the highest price.
>> another bit of positive news, last year the total number of foreclosures was down 24%, but there are still twice as many foreclosures nationwide compared with pre-recession numbers, matt.
>> stephanie gosk, thank you very