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Few condos under construction despite downtown housing growth

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While thousands of apartments are being built or converted from older buildings, construction of condominiums in downtown Minneapolis and the adjacent North Loop has remained stagnant.

Finance and Commerce reports that only one condo project is currently being built in the area, the Stonebridge Lofts near the Guthrie and Gold Medal Park. Ninety of the 164 units have been sold, priced from $300,000 to $1.2 million.

Mary Bujold, president of Maxfield Research, told the publication that the average price of downtown condos has reached $312,000, a level that could attract the interest of condo developers. Financing for condo projects remains tricky. Prior to the real estate slump, a developer could line up financing with 30 to 40 percent of the units sold. Today banks want to see 50 percent to 60 percent sold, Bujold said.

If apartment rental costs remain high, developers may be more likely to consider building condos for those who can spend a comparable amount for a mortgage. If apartment rentals fall, interest in developing new condos may, too.

Downtown condo properties on the drawing board for condo conversion include the Western Container at 500 Third Street N. with 35 units, and the Fruen Mill just outside downtown in the Bryn Mawr neighborhood with 114 condos and 50 micro-units.

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