Drive around the streets in New Lenox, Mokena or Frankfort and you might see a higher frequency of signs with the word "SOLD" stamped across them.
According to Crain's Chicago Business, single-family home and condo sales have increased for the first time in a year, up 19 percent in July 2011 compared to this time last year for the nine-county Chicago area.
Local realtors have seen some recent success, but recognize there's a long way to go before the area reaches the growth it saw earlier last decade. Jim Murphy, of the , attributed some of his recent success to being well established in Frankfort for 15 years.
"While a lot of people have been getting out of real estate, we've managed to stay in business," he said. "This year alone, I will close over 100 properties myself," he said.
Although Murphy also said it could still be a long haul out of this economy, he added that as long as the interest rates stay at record lows for a few more years, people will buy again and the market will turn around.
The Lincoln-Way area, like the rest of Chicagoland, has seen a drop in the median price of a single family home in the last year.
"(In Frankfort), there is way too much inventory and not enough buyers," Murphy said. "Prices are being driven down by the number of vacant new construction homes and vacant lots."
Glenn Jurgens, of , said being a multifaceted agency as helped him stay afloat even when home sales weren't so great.
"I do a lot of commercial and industrial as well as residential real estate, and it's kept food on the table," he said. "We've been very fortunate here."
New Lenox, according to Jurgens, has a different economy than other towns in the area.
"It is stronger, has a conservative equity base, and the employment rate is greater. It doesn't mean people still aren't having trying times," Jurgens said. "New Lenox is a great market right now for people with money to invest."
He also said the new Silver Cross Hospital, which will open in February 2012, will have a "tremendous positive impact" on the area.
In Mokena, meanwhile, Joe Siwinski of saw an increase in single family homes from July 2010 to July 2011, but says numbers can be misleading. He sold 16 single-family homes in July 2011, up from 10 in July 2010. But August sales were down compared to last year.
"Given the current market, Mokena and the surrounding area have done well as compared to other areas," Siwinski said. "People still want to live here because of the schools, parks, community and the proximity to public transportation."