Now it is not clear why the cards are doing that well. Some of it might be supply and demand. There is a short supply so the value of the cards goes up. The cards were just announced back in September and hit retail not all that long ago. If you do not want something from Nvidia it is a good bet.
It is also unclear how many cards AMD sent to retailers. In the event that supply was short to begin with, this could help explain why we are seeing the cards out of stock at most places and with inflated prices elsewhere.
There is a rumour circulating that the reason for the boom on the cards is because they are good at mining Litecoins. Litecoins can still be somewhat efficiently mined by the average Joe but are happier with processing power from GPUs. This makes higher-end Radeon R9 series cards one of the best available for the job. ASICs now dominate bitcoin mining and GPUs can no longer be used to mine bitcoin in a cost-effective way.