Illinois home sales shot up 13.5% in September as prices and rates declined, sparking interest in existing properties, the Illinois Association of Realtors said Thursday. The association noted that 9,182 homes were sold in September, up from 8,088 last year. At the same time, home prices across the state fell 5.6% to a median price of $136,850, compared to $145,000 in September. IAR quoted real estate agent Loretta Alonzo, president of the association, as saying she would "expect to see even more people taking advantage of these excellent affordability conditions with low mortgage interest rates." Yet, she noted the economy is still slow and an overcorrection in mortgage underwriting continues to weigh down sales in Illinois. Statewide, 63% of Illinois' reporting counties saw a year-over-year increase in sales last month. At least 45% saw a year-over-year median price increase, with the average sales price edging up 1.7% to $150,000. Looking at Chicago alone, September home sales increased 6.8% with 1,498 homes sold, compared to 1,403 homes a year earlier, the association said. "September home sales in the city of Chicago show signs of stabilization, with an increase in the units sold for both single family and condominiums," said Bob Floss, president of the Chicago Association of Realtors. "While interest rates remain historically low and prices compelling, we remain concerned of the overall economic stability of our marketplace with unemployment numbers and job creation still top of mind for so many buyers and homeowners, alike." Write to Kerri Panchuk.