As the housing market works its way toward a full recovery with formidable roadblocks including unemployment and foreclosures, along the way buyers with stable incomes who want to put down some roots really do have an opportunity of a lifetime.

Affordability is high as reported today in the Illinois Association of REALTORS® September housing report. Mortgage interest rates in our region averaged 4.19 percent last week according to Freddie Mac and this combined with lower home prices makes for a very strong buyer’s market.

For Illinois and the Chicagoland nine-county region home prices are trending back to pre-boom 2000-2001 prices. Statewide, the median price for the month of September (single family and condominiums) was $145,983, down 8.0% from September 2009; in Chicagoland the price was down 12.1% to $175,000.

Year-to-date home sales remain positive, up 4.9% January through September 2010 statewide compared to the same period year ago; in Chicagoland home sales year-to-date remain up 10.5% compared to 2009.

Today the National Association of REALTORS® released its September existing-home sales report citing affordability conditions a full 60 percentage points higher than during the housing boom.

Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said: “A housing recovery is taking place but will be choppy at times depending on the duration and impact of a foreclosure moratorium. But the overall direction should be a gradual rising trend in home sales with buyers responding to historically low mortgage interest rates and very favorable affordability conditions.”