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Thursday, February 19, 2004



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GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Construction is continuing on the Hokua Tower luxury high-rise in Kakaako at the corner of Queen Street and Ala Moana Boulevard. Sales of new homes were down last month on Oahu.



New home sales slip
from last year’s boom


Sales of new homes on Oahu fell 38 percent year-over-year to 204 contracts initiated last month, with the drop largely explained by booming sales the previous January at a new condominium project.

The debut early last year of Hokua Tower in Kakaako, the first in a series of long-planned luxury high-rise projects, boosted activity, real estate analyst Ricky Cassiday said. Developers said sales have yet to reflect fallout from the strike by concrete workers at Ameron Hawaii and Hawaiian Cement.

Any slowdown in home closings because of the strike will probably not be felt for months, said Patrick O'Neill, vice president at Stanford Carr Development.

"I suspect before you'd see any reflection in actual closing of units you are probably talking 90 days out," he said.

Building crews have been kept busy doing everything short of pouring concrete, said Rik Papa, construction manager for Stanford Carr.

"When it resolves, we'll pour every day rather than every third day," he said.

Sales prices for new homes showed some decrease in January compared with the previous year.

The $368,887 average list price was down 11 percent from $416,256 in the same month last year.

The number of homes completed during the month also dropped by 33 units, for a total of 134 closings.

Although the luxury high-rise segment of the new home market showed a decrease in sales for the month, the single-family home side was steady with 137 contracts opened, just slightly less than the 153 sales in January 2003 and well ahead of the 78 new home sales recorded in January the year before.

Cassiday expects an uptick in sales of high-rise units as developers release more inventory.

The number of available new homes -- both condominiums and single-family dwellings -- shrunk by 785 units, or 68 percent, from 1,213 units in January 2003 to 394 units last month, he said.

But inventory is likely to grow during the year as more developments catch up with demand and become available for sale, he said.

The best-selling single-family home project in January was Haseko's Ocean Pointe in Ewa with 27 sales, followed by Castle & Cooke's Island Classics in Mililani with 20 sales.

Best selling condominiums were The Coconut Plantation at Ko Olina with 16 units sold, followed by the Waikiki high-rise The Windsor with 15 sold.

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