Because of a white-hot housing market, many West Coast buyers learn that they must pay excessively high prices for older, less luxurious homes. Kenny Slaught notes that home values have been steadily climbing since 2008, and the Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller home price index reveals that Los Angeles home prices reached their highest point during April of this year, since October of 2007. Moving well beyond mere recession recovery, Southern California’s bigger metropolitan areas are closing in on their previous peaks. Slaught points the turnaround to a number of factors, including interest rates, job growth and supply and demand. Interest rates for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages are hovering around 3.5% or less, and these enticing numbers (the record low hit 3.31 percent in November 2012) are encouraging many to buy. Historically low rates are coupled with strong employment numbers, such as a 2.4% gain in Los Angeles County and a 3.5% rise in Orange County, and make it clear just why values are appreciating in an extraordinarily fast-paced manner. While home prices vary considerably throughout the state, the inflated asking price of high-end homes is outpacing all other states with the exception of Hawaii. The feverish demands on the market cannot currently be met by the slim supply available, therefore many first-timers are forced to consider condominium-style units: obtainable and much more affordable.