Don't get your hopes up too soon, but DataQuick Information Services reports that the number of homes sold in the Bay Area actually rose in April. In fact, the number rose by 33 percent, the largest monthly increase since 1988. (It looks like lenders are feeling a little less nervous now, and potential homebuyers think that the market's softened just enough to snatch up a few bargains.) Along with rising gas prices and health care costs, the housing market's collapse has been a key element of the region's economic problems, and this development may well signal a flattening of bad financial trends. On the other hand, UC Berkeley real estate economics expert Ken Rosen told the Chronicle, "The month-to-month numbers are not very meaningful. ... I do not believe that the worst is behind us at all."