Several trophy properties in the Twin Cities have recently traded hands, helping jump-start the upper-bracket market. Bruce Birkeland of Coldwell Banker Burnet, for example, said that he's put together more than a half dozen deals so far this month, including a nearly $5 million property in St. Louis Park, making it one of his best months ever and an unusually busy January.

One of the latest big deals happened on Jan. 21, when Cynthia Froid of Keller Williams closed a deal on what is nearly an all-time price-per-square-foot record for a downtown condo. She sold a 4,362 square-foot riverfront condo (Unit W31) in the Washburn Lofts building for $4.235 million, or nearly $1,000 per square foot. That was not the highest price per square-foot for a downtown condo. That record was set last year when Froid sold unit No. 601 in the adjacent Stone Arch Lofts building for $2.995 million, or more than $1,000 per square foot. Both of those units sold before hitting the market. The 10-story Washburn Lofts building is at 700 S. 2nd St. in the Mill District and was originally the Washburn Crosby Co. building, which was built in 1914. The building now has 22 condos. And just across the river, Ben Ganje of Lakes Sotheby's, sold a nearly 6,000 square-foot condo on the top floor of Phoenix on the River for $2.2 million late last year. That unit was completely unfinished and was originally intended to be connected to an even larger condo owned by the late Horst Rechelbacher. That nearly 12,000 square-foot unit is still on the market for $8 million.

With developers focusing on building rental apartments in Minneapolis, downtown condos are in short supply. Using data from the Minneapolis Area Association of Reators, here's a chart that shows the limited availability of properties in the Central MLS district, which includes downtown and is mostly condominiums, to the broader market in Minneapolis.

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Case-Shiller: Twin Cities home prices up only slightly during November

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Twin Cities home builders hit the pause button this month