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Boston condo market prices set record in 2014

A luxury condo at 45 Province Street near Downtown Crossing. David L Ryan/Globe Staff/File 2013/Globe Staff

If all the cranes and construction crews squeezed into the city don’t offer enough proof the Boston condominium market is hot, a report on record-breaking sales should eliminate any doubt.

The median selling price of Boston condominiums jumped to a new high of $619,000 in 2014, a nearly 12 percent increase from the previous year’s $555,000, according to LINK, a real estate tracking firm.

Units that sold above their asking price rose to 35 percent of all Boston condo transactions in 2014, another record, according to LINK, which will formally release its year-end report Thursday.

LINK follows condo sales in 11 central Boston neighborhoods, including the Back Bay, the Fenway, downtown, and Charlestown. It doesn’t track sales in some of the city’s lower-income neighborhoods, such as Mattapan and Dorchester.

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David Stenberg, who manages the Boston office of Hammond Residential Real Estate, said the city’s strong economy, leading universities, and walkable neighborhoods have attracted traditional home buyers and international investors looking for a safe place to park their money.

“Last year, it was better than good, it was great,” Stenberg said. “Boston has come from a kind of big New England city to an international global city.”

There were fewer 2014 sales of luxury condos, which boast amenities such as doormen, spas, and fitness centers. But the median price of those high-end homes jumped 13 percent to $1.5 million.

The city’s growing population, which has increased by more than 30,000 people in the past three years, and a tight supply of condos have also pushed prices upward.

Debra Blair, the president of LINK, said she expects sales and prices in 2015 to climb at a slower pace as the inventory of properties on the market remains low.

But several building projects are in the pipeline that could keep the local market buzzing through the next three years, Blair said.

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Earlier this week, developers broke ground on the Four Seasons Hotel and condominium development. The project will have 180 luxury condos that are expected to fetch some of the top prices in Boston when construction is complete in 2017.

Millennium Tower Boston, another downtown condo tower, is set to open in the summer of 2016.

Statewide, the median price of all single-family homes placed under agreement increased to $333,000 in December, compared with $319,000 in the same month of 2013, according to the Massachusetts Association of Realtors.

The number of these pending sales, an indicator of future sales activity, increased by nearly 29 percent in December, compared with the same month a year earlier.

But low inventories of homes for sale have dampened confidence in the market this year, according to a survey by the realtors association.

Realtors still believe they’ll see a moderately strong market and rising prices, but their targets have been set lower than they were at the end of 2013, said the association’s president, Corinne Fitzgerald.

“Consistent inventory gains across the state are needed to help push sales up in the New Year,” she said.


Deirdre Fernandes can be reached at deirdre.fernandes@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @fernandesglobe.