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Saturday, September 11, 2004



Maui, Kauai home
sales pace slows


While the single-family home and condominium markets on the neighbor islands remained strong in August, concerns about rising interest rates and prices caused sales volume to drop slightly.

Overall, sales volume for neighbor island single-family homes decreased 1.3 percent to 379 sales, while sales volume for condominiums declined 6.6 percent to 297 sales last month.

While prices on Maui remained strong and continued to rise, sales volume slowed for both condominiums and single-family homes, said Maui Realtor John Harrisson, of Aina Maui Properties in Paia.

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"Things aren't moving as fast, but we're still on an upward projectory," Harrisson said, adding that some buyers are showing signs of resistance to rising prices and heightened interest rates.

Rapidly rising prices have continued to strengthen Maui's condo market, reducing the time that properties stay on the market, and doubling asking prices, Harrisson said.

While the number of single-family home sales declined by 44.7 percent on Maui, prices edged up 15.3 percent to a median of $540,000.

For condominiums, the number of sales declined to 143 last month from 185 in August 2003.

However, prices increased substantially to a median of $339,000, up 44.3 percent over August 2003's median of $235,000.

On the Big Island, 247 single-family homes and 107 condominiums sold last month, a significant increase from the number of sales a year earlier.

Single-family home prices moved up to a median price of $275,000, an increase of 10 percent from August 2003.

The number of condominium sales increased by 38.9 percent, and prices increased 44.26 percent to a median of $250,000.

Big Island Realtor Jerry Sick, of Realty Executives Hawaii, said while the market is strong, it's slowed down enough to give buyers more time to pick and choose.

"It was a feeding frenzy in the spring and mainland buyers had to make offers on properties sight unseen, but the market has slowed down enough to give people time to make wise decisions," Sick said.

And while prices are still robust, in the last month or so, the market has become more buyer-friendly, he said.

"Not as many buyers have had to pay over the asking price," Sick said.

That's true in Kauai too, said Donna Apisa, president and principal broker of Oceanfront Realty, based in Princeville.

"We're starting to see offers coming in 5 to 10 percent below the asking price," Apisa said. While asking prices continue to rise, the amount buyers are willing to pay for properties has remained the same.

The median price for single-family homes increased 34.8 percent in August to $485,000, but the price for condominiums declined slightly to $330,000.

The number of single-family home sales increased to 59 last month, while the number of condos sold slipped a bit.

"More buyers are looking for value," Apisa said. "They are a little more discerning."

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