Wednesday, April 7, 1999

Oahu home
prices fell 5.6%
in March

Sales also were lower but
more condo units changed hands

Star-Bulletin staff


Art In what has been labeled a buyer's market, prices of previously owned Oahu houses and condominiums were lower in March than a year earlier.

The number of single-family homes changing hands was down but condominium sales were up from the previous March, the Honolulu Board of Realtors said yesterday.

Single-family homes that were resold in March totaled 194, down 4.9 percent from 204 in March 1998. The median price among single-family homes sold last month was $295,000, down 5.6 percent from the $312,500 March 1998 median, the price at which half the properties sold for more and half for less.

A total of 239 condominium units changed owners last month, up 18.3 percent from 202 in the previous March, and the condominium median price was $128,000, down 8.9 percent from $140,000 in March 1998.

Peter Freeman, president and chief executive officer of the 3,700-member real estate trade association, said the surge in condominium sales more than made up for the decline in sales of single-family homes, resulting in a 6.7 percent increase in combined sales of all types of property.

Freeman said it has been a buyer's market for homes for several months and although mortgage rates have risen a half a point since the start of the year, Oahu houses and condominiums are more affordable than they have been through the 1990s.

Still, Honolulu's home prices consistently rank among the highest in the nation.

Freeman said there are signs that Oahu prices are stabilizing but it is too soon to say whether they will stop falling.

The Board of Realtors gathers its resale information from transactions recorded in its computer-based Multiple Listing Service. It does not report sales of new homes, only those that were already owned.

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