Existing home sales rose 13 percent in May compared to the same month a year ago. This is welcome news for builders, realtors, lenders and Notaries who have suffered through a lengthy recession. Home prices have also increased, pushing values 15.4 percent higher than one year ago, but the National Association of Realtors said the increases will slow down soon. The steep increase in home prices has been attributed to a number of factors including fewer homes on the market as well as: An improving economy Continued low interest rates Pent-up demand Reduction in the number of foreclosures and short sales Growth in the number of households, with first-time buyers, accounting for 28 percent of May sales The robust interest in home ownership has had another positive effect reducing the time a home sits on the market. The median time for a sale is 43 percent faster than last year at this time, and almost half of the homes sell in less than a month, the shortest sale time since 2004 and 2005. The Midwest is leading the number of existing home sales, up 16.3 percent from 2012, followed by the South at 16.1 percent, the East at 8.3 percent and the West, which has the tightest regional supply, at 7.0 percent. This improved housing market has created a need for more qualified signing professionals. If you missed NNA 2013 Conference, you can still learn how to become a Notary Signing Agent. Michael Lewis is Managing Editor at the National Notary Association.