California is leading the United States housing market into a golden future

As 2012 draws to a close, people cannot say enough about the performance of California's housing market over the past year. Across the state, home prices are up, the number of foreclosures is down and even the quality of life has skyrocketed as people flock to this mecca.

What's more, the homes for sale in the Bay Area are the pride of the Golden State, and interest is beginning to heat up for the expected spring buying spree in 2013. Take a look at some of the following statistics to discover how well the market performed in San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose over the past year.

Mortgage rates
Average mortgage rates are normally very suggestive of the success or failure of a housing market, and in San Francisco and the Bay Area, the current numbers are pointing to an upward trend.

"Current trends are likely to stay with us well into spring, at least," said DataQuick president John Walsh, according to The Los Angeles Times. "There are still mortgage finance issues. Some loan categories are not active. But right now, low mortgage interest rates make up for that. With the mismatch between supply and demand, there's upward pressure on prices."

The San Francisco Chronicle recently reported the average rates in the nine-county Bay Area, and the following are the numbers of a theoretical $800,000 house with a $640,000 mortgage, an estimate that is near the average price of a property for sale in the area. The annual interest would be $24,000 with an interest rate of 3.75 percent, and annual property tax would only be $9,352 at a tax of 1.169 - the flat rate in San Francisco.

These numbers are manageable for potential homeowners, and this is just one of many reasons why interest in quality (and luxury) properties is heating up. Check out the MLS listings in the area today to find a home that is right for you.

Southern California success impacts Northern California
The overall success of the state has also increased interest in the Bay Area. For example, The Los Angeles Times reported that the region of Southern California experienced the most November home closings since 2006, before the housing bust of 2008.

As the inventory decreases in Southern California, more potential buyers are being forced to re-evaluate their regional approach and target the greater Bay Area. When two successful metro areas engage in a bidding war for new residents, everyone wins, and this is exactly what is happening between the north and south section of California.

Luxury homes breaking records
San Francisco is home to some very expensive properties, and although these are not within the reach of the average homebuyer, they can still give an indication of market performance. Affluent buyers are attracted to successful metro areas, and a recent sale in the Bay Area has experts buzzing.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the mansion located at 2901 Broadway has finally been taken off the market after six years of being listed. The sale was the third-most expensive in the city's entire history - the eventual sale price was reported as $28,850,000. Fittingly, the home features 8 bedrooms, 7.5 bathrooms and sweeping view of the Golden Gate Bridge and the surrounding cityscape.

Again, while this enormous sale will not be achievable for the average homeowner, it is a good sign of things to some. Six years ago, the housing bust began to rear its ugly head, and only now are the more affluent investors feeling more confident in the Bay Area. There is no time better than now to evaluate the market before quality homes are grabbed by competitors.