Friday, September 19, 2003

New home purchases
on Oahu hit low for year

But the August pace is still 68%
above the same period last year

August was the slowest month for new home sales so far this year, with new contracts falling by 84 units, or nearly 32 percent, from 182 in the same month last year.


But the number of sales that closed in August was up by 68 percent over the same period in 2002 as developers delivered 252 homes, the highest monthly closing count in five years, according to real estate analyst Ricky Cassiday, who tracks new home sales.

The average list price for homes saw a slight decrease, dropping 1.2 percent from $379,240 to $374,735, the lowest price since last September, according to Cassiday.

Available inventory also continued to slide, down 455 units or 40 percent from 1,138 available homes in August 2002 to 683 last month.

Cassiday believes the drop in sales contracts initiated last month is because builders cannot keep up with demand.

The fall in the average list prices is a result of the change in the mix of sales, Cassiday said. Fewer expensive single family homes sold compared to less expensive multifamily projects.

A shift can be seen in the types of sales in August. During the month, there were 124 single-family home sales, down almost 43 percent from August 2002's 216 sales. In contrast, there were 58 multifamily home sales last month, versus 50 the previous August.

The top closing project in August was Kapolei Kai, developed by Makai Village Partnership. It had 32 single-family homes close, the second highest number of closings recorded this year by any development. The project now has about seven homes left to close out, which should wrap up next month, according to Makai Village Chief Operating Officer Kathy Inouye.

Kapolei Kai, like a number of new Oahu home developments, had been idle for about six years until the real estate market began to move forward again. But once construction began, Inouye said, even the company was unprepared for how rapidly the build out would happen.

"It was absolutely timing. We weren't prepared for how quickly it was absorbed. We were ready to go out in increments of 20, so we were not prepared for the demand," she said.

The Kobayashi Group, a partner in the Makai Village project, will now concentrate on its Hokua high rise project in town, which it expects to complete by 2005. Inouye said demolition work at the site is expected to begin in the next few days.

Another top-selling project last month was Castle and Cooke's Renaissance across from Waikele on Managers Drive in Waipahu. The development had its official grand opening last weekend. Of the 230 homes slated to be built, the company has signed contracts for more than 100 homes and has closed about 16, according to Vice President Bruce Barrett. Prices at that project, which features detached single-family homes, range from $350,000 to $450,000.


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