Neighbor island home sales cooled in May
Fewer houses were sold on Maui, Kauai and the Big Island
Median home sales prices on Maui and Kauai continue to top Oahu's, though Maui saw a slump in both prices and the number of sales last month.
The number of previously owned houses sold on Maui dropped despite a $53,000 decrease in the island's median price to $727,000 in May from a year earlier, according to the Realtors Association of Maui. A total of 84 homes were sold, compared to 110 in May 2005.
Maui's median home sales price was far higher than the median on Oahu, which hit a record $668,300 last month.
The Valley Isle's median sales price for condominiums rose dramatically to $435,500 from $365,000 in May 2005. Only 135 condos traded hands, 40 less than a year earlier.
The year started off slow, said Keone Ball, president of the Realtors Association of Maui. However, he said the market is picking up momentum as the summer months kick in.
"At the beginning of the year, the market had slowed down considerably compared to last year," Ball said. "I think sellers will still make money, but they may not make the crazy money they made last year."
An increase in the number of homes for sale is going to keep prices lower, he said. On the other hand, some buyers are eager to lock in current interest rates before they rise any higher.
"People are buying," he said. "If people are waiting, I tell them they should put in the offers for less than the asking price because if they wait too long, they may get kicked out by high interest rates."
The scenario on the Big Island and Kauai is similar, with fewer home sales, though median prices for homes on both islands went up, according to the latest statistics from Hawaii Information Service.
On Kauai, the median house price went up to $785,000, a 25.6 percent increase over May 2005, when the median was $625,000. Only 36 were sold, 23 less than last year.
The median price for a Kauai condominium, on the other hand, fell to $353,764 in May this year, from $405,000 in May 2005. Some 78 condos traded hands, 14 more than last year.
Debra Blachowiak, principal broker of Sleeping Giant Realty, a Sotheby's affiliate, said she expected the market to flatten out toward the end of the year.
"I think interest rates are our biggest factor at the moment," Blachowiak said. "When they go up, then the pool of buyers that can afford the median price here slows down. I think there's still demand, but I think the interest rates are going to tamper that."
On the Big Island, the median sales price for houses increased 19 percent to $435,500 from $365,000 at the same time last year. Condominium prices were even higher, at $525,000.
Sales dropped dramatically, with 160 single-family homes trading hands in May compared to 233 the same month last year. Only 61 condos sold, 21 fewer than May of last year.
Paul Jensen, a Realtor at Clark Realty in Keauhou, said luxury condominiums and homes on the Kona coast tend to skew the prices higher.
He expects the market to slow down in the next three to six months.
"There are still a lot of buyers out there," he said. "They're being much more selective, and the investors are taking a vacation."