housingThe Chicago housing market sizzled in March, as both home sales and median price spiked in the seven-county metropolitan area. According to RE/MAX Northern Illinois, 9,556 units changed hands last month—a noteworthy 14.8 percent increase from a year earlier. Meanwhile, the median price of a home in Chicago shot up 10.4 percent to $234,000.

“We expected a fairly robust early spring market, but the March results definitely surprised on the upside,” said Jack Kreider, executive vice president of RE/MAX Northern Illinois.

“Mild winter weather certainly helped bring out buyers, as did an improving job market and the prospect of gradually rising interest rates. Buyers were facing a market where inventory remained low by historic standards, but that didn’t slow them down much.

Kreider also noted March home sales in the metro Chicago region were the most since 2006.

“I’m optimistic that we can maintain this momentum at least through the second quarter,” he added.

According to RE/MAX, home sold in March spent an average of 100 days on the market before going under contract. That was 10 days faster than March 2016. For the entire first quarter, homes were on the market an average of 102 days. That was eight days faster than last year’s first quarter.

Also in the first three months of 2017, sales of distressed properties metro Chicago fell significantly. RE/MAX reports distressed properties—which are foreclosures and short sales—accounted for 13.5 percent of March sales. That was down from 21.7 percent a year earlier.

It was a strong start to the year for the Chicago housing market.