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BOSTON-Condominiums in three western Massachusetts counties experienced the largest median sales gains in the past year, surpassing even Boston where condo prices have risen sharply in the last few years, a study by the Warren Group found. “There’s been a dramatic increase in western Massachusetts that far exceeds what is happening in the eastern part of the state,” says Alan Pasnik, data analyst for group, which compiles real estate data on New England.

According to the report, which detailed condo prices gains for each Bay State county for the first 11 months of 2005, Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire counties topped the list with median condo sales prices increasing by the highest percentages. In Franklin County, median condo prices rose 28.97% from $138,900 in 2004 to $178,000 in 2005. Median condo prices in Hampden County jumped 18.95%, rising from $105,000 to $124,000 while Hampshire’s median price increased 18.24% from $148,000 to $175,000, the study shows.

Suffolk County, which encompasses Boston, Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop, had a median price increase of just 1.84% in the last year while in Middlesex County, which includes Cambridge, the median sales price of condos jumped 16.26%. Overall, the median condo sales price statewide increased 9.39% from $215,854 in 2004 to $236,133 in 2005.

“As people move out west to find better housing deals, the market prices have heated up,” Pasnik notes, adding that the demand for more affordable units have also pushed first-time buyers further west in search of more affordable units. With rising interest rates cooling down the state’s condo market, the frantic buying pace has subsided. But with prices in Metropolitan Boston still high, the state’s western region could see more buyers looking for housing deals, he says.

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