Home sales in Illinois rose 15.2% over year earlier levels in December, while median prices jumped 5.6%, the Illinois Association of Realtors said Tuesday.

December home sales totaled 10,265 homes sold, up from 8,908 the previous December. Home sales in 2012 totaled 128,436, up 22.9% from the 104,480 homes sold in 2011.

The median sales price in Illinois reached $132,000 in December, a 5.6% increase from a year prior. For 2012 as a whole, the median sales price rose 0.7% from $138,000 in 2011 to $139,000 at the end of 2012.

"Throughout 2012, we saw signs the state's housing market was recovering," said Michael Oldenettel, president of IAR. "When you look at where we were in January 2012 versus where we ended up in December, you have to be impressed with the market's resilience."

Rates in the North Central region dropped significantly from December 2011, falling from 3.94% to 3.32% year-over-year.

"Positive signs for the housing market continue with the comparative advantage of ownership versus rental generating a significant opportunity for increased housing sales in 2013," said Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois.

Hewings added, "The housing market is likely to experience some bumpiness in the first quarter of the year until there is resolution of the fiscal challenges in Washington and Springfield. Declining consumer confidence reflects the uncertainties; consumers are unlikely to explore major purchases, especially of houses, when tax rates, mortgage interest deductions and pension obligations remain unresolved."