We don’t recommend you try to time the housing market but, if you’re in the market for a new home, it helps to pay attention to its cyclical nature. When times are hard, prices drop and the market becomes more attractive. When more people get in, prices naturally rise. While there are still deals to be had, this map shows that some of the regions that were hit hardest by the housing crisis in 2007 and 2008 have begun to bounce back in early 2009 with increased sales numbers. With sale prices of homes plummeting as much as 50% in some regions, more people have been jumping into the market with hopes of getting a great deal, especially with 30 year fixed rates falling below 5% for the first time in recent memory. The metropolitan areas that are highlighted are those with the highest percentage of change in median sales prices, for better or worse. The highest percentage increases in home sales are in areas where prices have dropped the most over the past year, which is an encouraging sign as bargain hunters see new opportunities. Further, the decrease in prices and attractive housing credits have finally made it possible for many first-time homebuyers to afford a home in the once red-hot areas like Orange County, Phoenix, and Las Vegas. While there are only six states that have experienced increases in sales volume in the past year, most of those positive changes have been drastic. Arizona has seen a 50% jump, California over 80% and Nevada an impressive 117% increase from 2008. Depending on where you live, the housing market may be in either a boom or bust cycle. Let us know in the comments how real estate is looking in your hometown, whether it is on the map or not.