As we finish 2009, one of the most difficult years our economy has faced since World War II, there are signs that we’re on the road to recovery. Existing home sales rose more than 10 percent in October over the previous month, to the highest level in 2 ½ years, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). The recent surge in home sales was largely driven by buyers seeking to cash in on an $8,000 tax credit for first-time buyers, which was set to expire on Nov. 30. Thankfully, Congress recently voted to extend the credit into the spring, as well as expanding it repeat buyers, which should continue to drive the recovery in the residential housing market. Adding to the positive home-buying climate, interest rates remain at historic lows and affordability continues to rise as prices fall. While there are still considerable challenges on the horizon, it does seem that the worst is behind us now. Looking forward, a slow recovery is predicted for 2010, with gains in the residential housing market leading the way.

 In order to stay competitive in this highly competitive environment, installers need to stay on top of the newest installation technology, which is constantly changing to accommodate new flooring materials. In this issue of Floor Covering Installer, we are proud to present our annual Spotlight Showcases, which highlight the latest installation products from the industry’s leading companies. In this special section, the manufacturers get to explain in detail their latest installation products and technological breakthroughs, giving an inside look at the future of installation technology. Thanks to their constant research and development efforts, today’s installers are using technology that would have been unheard of only a few years ago, such as using radio waves to melt adhesive without generating excess heat. In addition to developing better installation tools and products, these companies also help to improve the industry by offering technical assistance and installation training and certification to help installers boost their skills. We hope that you will find these spotlights to be interesting and informative. We would also like to thank these manufacturers for their support of our publication and the installation industry.

As we prepare for 2010, be sure to stay on top of the latest installation and flooring-related news by visiting the breaking news section at our web site, www.fcimag.com. Also, be sure to sign up for our monthly eNewsletter, which is delivered directly to your inbox free of charge. We at Floor Covering Installer wish you and your family a safe and happy New Year!