Is the housing market picking up steam?

According to the stats from December 2010 the housing market is picking up some momentum.

Existing-home sales rose sharply in December, when sales increased for the fifth time in the past six months, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

Existing-home sales1, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 12.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.28 million in December from an upwardly revised 4.70 million in November, but remain 2.9 percent below the 5.44 million pace in December 2009.
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It does feel from people that I have been talking to that optimism is creeping in. Buyers are becoming more confident. Could this officially be a ‘good time to buy’?