July’s year-over-year Illinois home sales fell off only 0.1%, and marked the sixth consecutive month of sales increases in 2009, according to the Illinois Association of Realtors. There were 11,407 homes sold in July 2009, compared to July 2008 sales of 11,417 and June 2009 sales of 10,944 homes, a month-over-month increase of 4.2%. The July 2009 median home price was $169,000, down 13.8% from July 2008 ($196,000), but 1.2% higher than June 2009 ($167,000). While prices have continued to rise over the past six months, it could be due in part to state legislation enacted earlier this year that extends the time it takes a lender to foreclose on a borrower by nearly three months. With foreclosures delayed and fewer foreclosure properties on the market for sale, buyers are funneled into higher-priced houses until foreclosures continue to move through the system. “This remains a market seeking stability,” Pat Callan, president of the Illinois Association of Realtors said in a statement. “Those seeking to buy in 2009 and take advantage of the low mortgage interest rates and lower prices are seeing good opportunities in this market. We are near the 100-day mark before the first-time homebuyer tax credit expires Dec. 1.” In the Chicago Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), July 2009 home sales of 7,427 were up 0.3% from July 2008 sales of 7408 and up 4% from June 2009 sales volume of 7,140. The Chicago MSA median price was $213,500 in July 2009, down 16.3% from $255,000 in July 2008 and up 1.7% from $210,000 in June 2009. “Chicago continues to show a leveling of the marketplace as we see distressed properties being absorbed.” David Hanna, president of the Chicago Association of Realtors, said in a statement. “With that said, we are a long way from seeing a stable real estate market in Chicago, and we face challenges surrounding lending that do not take into account real local market conditions.” Write to Austin Kilgore.