One up-tick does not a trend make, but the increase in the statewide median price in January (up 0.2 percent from January 2009) is positive movement and marks the first year-over-year price increase since September 2007.

The statewide median price in January was $145,300, up 0.2 percent from $145,000 in January of 2009, according to the Illinois Association of REALTORS® latest housing market report. Sales were up 14.0 percent statewide, the fifth consecutive month of year-over-year sales increases.

In the Chicagoland Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA), year-over-year home sales were positive for the seventh straight month, up 29.2 percent in January. The median home sale price for the Chicagoland PMSA was $175,000, down 5.4 percent.

“We are seeing an accelerated spring market despite the snow and cold in Illinois with the homebuyer tax credit the driving factor for rising home sales,” said REALTOR® Mike Onorato, GRI, president of the Illinois Association of REALTORS® and broker-owner of Onorato Real Estate in Coal City. “Current conditions remain favorable for buyers with interest rates still hovering near 5 percent and just over two months remaining to take advantage of the homebuyer tax credits before the April 30 deadline to have a purchase contract in place for first-time buyers and current homeowners who want to buy their next home.”

In the IAR report, University of Illinois economist Geoff Hewings noted foreclosed properties continue to exert downward pressure on median prices in the Chicagoland region but less so statwide.

His forecast through April calls for continued home sales increases in the range of 1-14% statewide and 18-50% in the Chicagoland PMSA. Median prices will fluctuate and fall just under 2 percent statewide and in the range of 6 percent below comparable prices from the same months in 2009 in the Chicagoland PMSA.

(The Chicagoland PMSA includes the counties of Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will.)