DENVER-The average price of a condominium sold in the metro area rose to $167,244 in May, according to Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. Coldwell Banker bases its figures on data released on the last Thursday of each month by Metrolist Inc.

The report shows the average price in May was up slightly from the $166,089 in April and up almost $9,000 from the $158,672 in May 2001.

It was the third-best month for condo sale prices. In December 2001, the average price sold and closed that month stood at a record $170,847. And the No. 2 month was February 2002, at $170,621.

The median price, is $147,900, up from the $145,000 in April and $139,000 a year ago.

”The condo market is very strong,” and a good alternative to the single-family home market, where the average price of a house closed rose to a record $268,952 in May,” Chris Mygatt, executive vice president of Coldwell Banker tells ”What I really think is going on is that people are buying, instead of spending their money elsewhere. They are nesting rather than traveling.”

Kate Rossi, president of Coldwell Banker, says lower interest rates also are helping condo sales, especially for first-time buyers.

”Interest rates are fabulous,” Rossi tells, hovering close to 6.5% for a 30-year, fixed-rate loan. ”Lower interest rates fuel that market.”

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