reportThanks to a surge in mortgage applications and mortgage preapprovals, the Chicago housing market is poised to be “one of the hottest in the nation in the third quarter.” The news comes from real estate information service Atom as relayed by Crain’s Business Chicago.

According to the report, Chicago trailed only Colorado Springs, Colo. in Atom’s analysis of “pre-movers.” This measures existing home owners that apply for a purchase mortgage or preapproval. The study’s index for Chicago was 241 as compared to Colorado Springs’ 249. The nationwide index was 100, which means Chicago-area homeowners are twice as likely to purchase a house than homeowners nationwide.

If a large number of these folks ultimately purchase a home, then “we expect the Chicago area to one of the hottest in the nation in the third quarter,” said Atom Senior Vice President Darren Blomquist.

The report noted two reasons for the increase in interest for Chicago homes. One is that home prices are more affordable in the Windy City than in “overheated markets such as San Francisco and San Jose.” In those markets, “moving up” may not be an option for many homeowners.

The second reason is more Chicago homeowners have moved into positive equity thanks to the housing recovery. Now, these folks are able to consider selling and move on to another home.

Recent reports on the Chicago housing market have been a bit mixed, so this latest study certainly leads to optimism for the rest of the year.

Here are the housing markets in the Atom study with the most and least activity. Index number and median home price are included:

  1. Colorado Springs, Colo., 249, $273,958
  2. Chicago, Ill., 241, $322,064
  3. Washington D.C., 221, $456,772
  4. Reno, Nev., 212, $381,562
  5. Lexington, Ky., 208, $246,565
  6. Grand Rapids, Mich., 46, $156,324
  7. Providence, R.I., 44, $275,067
  8. Honolulu, Hawaii, 36, $757,506
  9. Rochester, N.Y., 32, $176,690
  10. San Francisco, Calif, 31, $1,077,897