Foreclosures might be heading for the stratosphere, prices might be crashing and inventory piling up, but local newspapers still find something positive to say about the real estate market.

Today's puff piece comes from San Francisco. In this article, we are being asked to believe that, the "market is back". We are asked to forget "the leaking bubble stories", and "never mind the doom and gloom". Suddenly, real estate agents are selling again, and picking up their undeserved 6 percent commissions.

Obviously, this article will make the hard pressed and increasingly wealth challenged realtors of the bay area happy. It is good that newspapers try to raise the spirits of people who are finding it hard to make a living. Spread the joy, that is what I say. However, it is not the truth. Reality for realtors is not a happy-clappy Wednesday morning revival meeting. The truth is falling sales volumes, rising inventory and no, I repeat, no commission.

Read on and laugh......

On a recent Wednesday morning, Jackie Cuneo entered her office meeting with a heightened sense of anticipation -- in a good way. She, along with about 140 other Zephyr Real Estate agents and brokers, crowded into a large conference room and politely sat for announcements of real estate forums, reminders to use the company intranet and an announcement from an agent soliciting donations for an upcoming charity marathon. All buzzed by quickly, and Cuneo, a Bay Area native, sat easily, sipping her morning coffee.

Then the show really began. "Anybody work this week?" deadpanned company co-founder and owner Bill Drypolcher from the podium, cocking an eyebrow. The meeting came alive. Hands shot up. Sales manager Don Saunders slipped between tables to hand people the microphone to announce their sales for the week. Cheers broke out and agents muttered amongst themselves. Nearby, a staff member kept a running tally of the results. A smile spread across Cuneo's face. It was her turn.

She introduced herself and made her announcement in a very businesslike way: She represented a buyer in the joint purchase of a tenancy-in-common on Casselli Avenue in San Francisco's Castro district. "It received eight offers," she rattled off. "It went five ways over."

A "way" is $50,000. The property sold for $250,000 over asking. The cheers and applause were louder and more raucous for Cuneo's announcement than for any other of the day, and Cuneo, who is friendly but a bit shy when speaking in public, laughed. Never mind the gloom and doom stories in the newspaper and on TV. Forget about a leaking bubble. In this room you could feel it: The market was back.