July Illinois home sales were up 18.4 percent from a year ago, a strong jump and the first year-over-year sales gain since June of 2010 when sales were still under the influence of the homebuyer tax credit stimulus, according to the Illinois Association of REALTORS® July Home Sales Report issued today.

With mortgage interest rates still at record lows, affordability conditions remain strong for qualified and motivated buyers who are out there studying their options. However, the current level of economic uncertainty and tight credit are taking a toll on buyer confidence.

“The market, like the economy, continues to struggle even though interest rates and prices would appear to suggest favorable conditions for housing purchases,” said economist Dr. Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory (REAL) of the University of Illinois.

In the latest REAL forecast for the Illinois housing market, Dr. Hewings indicates that when we get stronger signals from the economy with sustained employment growth of the order of 200,000 jobs added per month, that is when “we can we expect to see a sustained uptick in housing sales and some modest recovery in prices.”

Watch this video featuring Dr. Hewings on the forecast for the Illinois housing market in the second half of the year.