Neighbor isle home sales are stabilizing
Prices are still up, but sales pace is said to be slowing
Neighbor island home prices continued soaring last month, but industry experts say the market is nonetheless showing signs of stabilizing.
Kauai single-family home prices led the islands in March, with the median resale price hitting $850,000, up 65 percent from $515,000 in the same month last year, according to data released yesterday by the Hawaii Information Service.
Maui's median price for a house, which has generally been the highest in the state, was $705,000 in March, down from a peak of $780,000 in May but still up 11 percent from $635,000 in March last year.
On the Big Island, the median sales price for a single-family home rose 30 percent, to $442,450 from $340,000 last year.
Maui and Kauai median house prices were higher than on Oahu, where the median hit $650,000 in March, up from $525,000 last year, according to data released earlier this month.
Phillip Fudge, a Realtor with Kauai Landmark Realty in Kapaa, said the March numbers do not reflect the full effects of the recent rains because many of the transactions that closed last month were initiated before the rains began in mid-February.
Fudge said visits by prospective buyers from the mainland did decrease during the month, and fallout from that will be reflected in April and May numbers.
"I think we'll see continued price appreciation, but it's not going to be in the double digits," Fudge said.
Kauai's jump to a median sales price of $850,000 in March does not reflect overall market trends, he said.
"We're seeing days on the market increasing, and almost all price adjustments have been downwards since late February," Fudge said.
The story is much the same on the Big Island, said Realtor Helene Tajiri of Ala Kai Realty Inc., who specializes in residential property in Hamakua, Puna and South Hilo.
"We are seeing a lag, and there is a slowdown in our office," Tajiri said. "The phones are not ringing as they were before."
The signs are pointing to a healthier market, Tajiri said.
"Buyers were in a frenzy before and making hasty decisions. The market is saner now," she said.
Neighbor island condominium prices also rose last month. The median price for a condo on Maui jumped 26 percent, to $525,000 from $416,250, last year, according to the Realtors Association of Maui. Condo prices on Kauai increased 3.6 percent, to $355,000 from $342,500, while Big Island condo prices rose 43 percent, to $515,000 from $360,750, according to the Hawaii Information Service.
The number of homes sold on Kauai increased in March while sales volume decreased on the Big Island and Maui. Some 206 houses and 79 condos sold on the Big Isle in March, down from 247 homes and 112 condos last year. On Maui, single-family home sales fell to 105 from the year-earlier 123, and condominium sales dropped to 139 from 182. Forty-nine homes sold on Kauai, up slightly from 47 last year, while 110 condos were sold, nearly double the 56 sold in March 2005.