Sales of Oahu houses, condos fell during the first quarter
The latest quarterly real estate data confirms what many home sellers and their agents are already experiencing: Oahu's once-sizzling housing market is cooling off.
Even though prices continue to rise in the first quarter of this year, the number of sales fell 3.4 percent for single-family homes and 4.8 percent for condominiums, according to data released yesterday by the Honolulu Board of Realtors.
"It's pretty clear that our market has passed its peak -- which was reached in the third quarter of 2005 -- and we've seen declining unit sales," said Harvey Shapiro, the board's research economist. "Prices, however, are still increasing and we expect the prices to continue increasing throughout this year before leveling off."
The median sales price for houses rose 18.1 percent to $625,000 from $529,100 a year earlier but edged up just 0.8 percent from $620,000 in the fourth quarter of 2005. There were 943 sales last quarter, 34 less than the year-earlier quarter.
The median condo sales price jumped 40.5 percent last quarter to $309,000 from $220,000 a year earlier and up 3 percent from the previous quarter. Sales, though, fell to 1,687 from 1,772 a year earlier.
Diamond Head was the most expensive place to buy a single-family home in the first quarter with a median price of $993,000, and the North Shore was close behind at $900,000. The Leeward Coast offered the least expensive homes at $355,000.
For condominiums, apartments and townhouses, Hawaii Kai had the highest median price at $555,000 while the Leeward Coast was the most affordable at $178,000.
Shapiro said another sign of a slowdown is that houses and condos are staying on the market longer than 2004 and 2005.
"The days on the market is higher, but you have to realize that in 2004 and 2005 we were setting records with the speed of sales," Shapiro said. "It's coming back to a more normal market where you have just a couple of people contending for a property."
Last quarter, single-family homes remained on the market an average of 42 days before a sales agreement was reached. That's up from 32 days in the first quarter of 2005. The shortest time on market was 15 days in June 2005.
Condos actually spent less time on the market last quarter, 30 days, versus 32 days in the year-ago period. However, the days on market were up from the record of 13 days in July 2005.