Home sales in Illinois jumped 13.6% year-over-year in March, with median prices increasing 3.6%, according to data from the Illinois Association of Realtors. 

Illinois home sales in March equaled 10,992 homes, up from 9,679 one-year prior. The state has continued posting monthly year-over-year gains since July 2011. 

Up 3.6% year-over-year, the statewide median price in March totaled $135,000, compared to March 2012 when the median price was $130,250. 

"We are entering what is traditionally the busiest period of the year in the real estate market," said Michael Oldenettel, president of IAR.

He added, "The decreasing time it takes to sell a home, coupled with shrinking inventories shows there is keen interest on the part of homebuyers who are rushing to lock in favorable interest rates and take advantage of low, but increasing prices."

Mortgage rates in the state continued inching up, with the monthly average commitment rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage for the North Central region at 3.54% compared to 3.49% the month before, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. The average in March 2012 was 3.99%.

Geoffrey Hewings, director of the regional economics applications laboratory of the University of Illinois, said the inventory in Illinois suggests that demand has started returning to the market.

"However, foreclosed properties are accounting for a sizeable portion of these sales. The good news is that foreclosed sales are outpacing new additions to the foreclosure inventory but at a cost of dampening median price increases," added Hewings.