October home sales in Illinois rose 15.3% from a year earlier with 8,536 homes sold, compared to 7,402 sales in October 2010. The Illinois Association of Realtors reported the increase in its latest home sales report released on Monday. As home sales increase, buyers favor lower priced properties across the state with the median sales price dropping 10.3% to $130,000 from $145,000 last year. In the Chicago metropolitan statistical area, single-family homes sales totaled 5,778 last month, up 23.7% from 4,670 homes a year earlier. The average interest rate for a 30-year, fixed mortgage for the north central region hit 4.07% in October, down from 4.09% in September. In October of last year, the average 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage for the same area was 4.21%. The median home sale price in the Chicago MSA fell to $149,900 in October, down 15.3% from $177,000 last year. "The increase in units sold in the city of Chicago continues to show the absorption of distressed properties in the market," said realtor Bob Floss, president of the Chicago Association of Realtors. "Prospective buyers in the market are making investments that make sense long-term," said Floss. "Those who haven't considered buying are encouraged to work with a realtor to assess their individual buying power in today's market and plan how they may make a purchase given historically low interest rates and their own financial ability." Write to Kerri Panchuk.