Home sales decrease on neighbor islands
While the pace of residential real estate sales went down substantially last month in many neighbor island markets, prices continued rising.
The start of the school year, as well as slowdowns in the West Coast real estate market, continued to cause a slight lag in Kauai's housing market. The pace of home sales declined 24 percent, with as few as 39 homes changing hands, according to Hawaii Information Service data released yesterday. However, sales of condominiums grew 54 percent: Buyers purchased 63 condominiums compared to the year-ago 41 as more people were priced out of houses.
Home prices on Kauai, like on all other islands, shot up significantly last month. More than half of the buyers on the Garden Isle paid more than $695,000 to purchase a home last month. That's a 19.8 percent increase from the prior year.
Trudy Vella, a broker with Hanalei Land Company LLC, said the Kauai market has been so strong that she's been able to sell sight unseen to clients from her base in Lake Tahoe, Calif.
Vella, who caters mostly to second-home buyers, made the move to Tahoe a year and a half ago and has continued to see her business trend upward.
"Surprisingly, my business has remained steady," Vella said. "I get a lot of interest from the Internet and I stir up business in Tahoe -- baby boomers are driving both of these areas."
Vella, who is returning to Kauai in January to begin marketing a high-end resort condominium property for SMP Destinations in Poipu, said demand is still strong, despite price valuations that have risen above 40 percent in some regions.
"People have worked hard and they want what they want," she said. "They want to be in resort areas."
Baby-boomer demand has made it increasingly difficult for buyers to find affordable housing on Kauai. The median sales price for a condo hit $459,000, a 10.6 percent increase from the year-ago median price.
It's becoming increasingly difficult to supply buyers with affordable housing on Kauai, said Lehua Rosa Malott, a counselor at the Hawaii HomeOwnership Center.
"We have lots of qualified buyers who want to purchase a home or a condominium on Kauai, but there just isn't enough inventory on the island," Rosa Malott said.
For the first 11 months of the year, single-family home sales declined nearly 3 percent to 621 from the year-earlier 640, while condominium sales rose 25 percent to 619 from 495.
On the Big Island, the number of single-family home and condominium sales dropped last month. Single-family home sales fell 20 percent to 184 in November, while condominium sales fell 29 percent to 82.
Fall is typically a slower period for home sales, but the Big Island market appears to be strong, said Paula Beamer, a Realtor with Parker Ranch Realty.
When the Canadian snow birds and the North American tourist market come back to the islands in December, the Big Island's real estate market is expected start jumping again.
"There are still buyers here although inventory is not flying off the shelf," Beamer said.
Although prices are still rising on the Big Island, they have begun to level off, forming a more stable market, she said.
Median sales prices on the Big Island showed strong overall increases last month as second-home buyers continued to flood the island, where prices in most districts are still lower than on the other major islands.
The median price paid for a single-family home on the Big Island in November was $379,500, an increase of 19.4 percent from the year-earlier $317,924. More than half of Big Island condominium buyers paid $368,750 for their purchase -- a 23.1 percent jump from year-ago median.
Maui's real estate followed the trend set by other islands during the month, with median prices rising from last year and the number of sales dropping.
More than half of the single-family home buyers on Maui paid upwards of $767,000 for their purchase, a 46 percent rise from November 2004's $525,000 median and the highest the market has been since it hit a record $780,000 in May.
Perhaps because of the rising prices, buyers purchased only 78 Maui homes in November, a nearly 28 percent decline from the year-prior activity.
The pace of Maui's condominium market dropped as well, showing an 11 percent decline in the number of sales to 131 from the 147 sold in November 2004. The median price paid for a Maui condominium in November was $469,000, a nearly 22 percent increase from the year-ago $385,000.