Mountain House, Calif., in which over 90 percent of owners owed more than their house was worth in 2008, is feeling less glum these days — you can tell by the Little League participation, which has gone from 178 to 220 kids in a year.

More importantly, the bidding war has returned to the real estate scene, with one family jostling with 12 others for a $299,000 5-bedroom home. (They lost, and the house eventually went for 30 percent above asking.)

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