» The monthly payment on a median-priced home in the Chicago area in mid-2010 was 35 percent below the payment for that same house five years earlier, according to research by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Combine a 23 percent drop in home prices with record low mortgage rates, and the average monthly mortgage payment on that median home dropped from $1,242 in 2005 to $812 in 2010, NAR reported. “Affordability conditions are hovering near an all-time high,” says Walter Molony, an NAR spokesman.