About the Focus on Faux Blog

The Focus on Faux blog is a free resource for professional decorative artists. The blog provides tips, advice, insights and information geared toward helping artists succeed. For more in-depth information and feature articles, subscribe to the Focus on Faux online magazine.

Good news for decorative finishers: The housing market is moving full steam ahead as indicated by a nine-year high in existing home sales and an uptick in new single-family housing starts and completions.

The National Association of Realtors® provided the brightest ray of sunshine this week, reporting that existing home sales surged in May to the highest pace in nearly a decade. In fact, supply this spring hasn't kept up with demand, which has pushed the median sales price for an existing home to an all-time high of $239,700.

Overall, however, total existing home sales grew by a seasonally adjusted 1.8 percent. Sales are up 4.5 over the past year (May 2015-May 2016) and are at their highest annual pace since February 2007. Existing housing sales refers to completed transactions encompassing single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops.

If there's one little cloud in this otherwise sunny forecast, it's that the Midwest is lagging behind other major regions of the country in terms of strong sales increases. The West, South and Northeast all posted month-to-month increases above 4 percent. In the Midwest, existing home sales dropped 6.5 percent from April to May, but they still ran ahead by 3.2 percent above May 2015.

Homeowners are having an easier time selling their homes now that warmer weather has arrived. In April, the average time a property remained on the market prior to a sale was 39 days in April. In May, that average shrunk to just 32 days, which is the shortest amount of time since the association began tracking those figures five years ago.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that single-family housing starts in May were up slightly (0.3 percent) above April, while housing completions were up a more robust 2.3 percent in the month-to-month comparison.