Neighbor island home sales plummeting
The number of previously owned homes sold on the neighbor islands continued to plummet in September, most dramatically on Kauai, according to figures released yesterday.
Median home prices went up on Maui and the Big Island, by 12.8 percent and 0.6 percent respectively, according to the latest data from the Realtors Association of Maui and the Hawaii Information Service. But on Kauai, the median home price fell 12.2 percent.
Maui topped the state in median prices, reaching $775,000 last month, while Kauai had a median price of $665,000. The Big Island continues to offer the most affordable homes, with a median price of $427,500 recorded last month.
On Oahu, home sales fell about 20 percent in September while the median home price remained fairly steady at $620,000, according to data released Tuesday by Honolulu Board of Realtors.
Hawaii's softening residential real estate market reflects a national trend, said Calvin Mobbs, president of the Realtors Association of Maui.
"I think the market is going to continue to slow down in the single-family housing market," Mobbs said. "I don't think we'll see anything like last year. This is a pause that the market needs to take."
In September, Maui sold half the number of homes that sold a year earlier, with only 61 house changing hands compared to 122 the same time a year ago.
Mobbs said he expects prices to remain flat for the rest of the year, without reaching the record of $780,000 set in May 2005 and matched in July 2006.
The story was the same for condominium sales on Maui, which dropped dramatically in September to 66 at a median price of $499,000, compared to 160 the same month a year earlier at a median price of $405,000.
On the Big Island and Kauai, sales also declined dramatically. Only 132 houses sold on the Big Island in September, down 43 percent from 233 sold the same month a year ago.
Some 37 homes sold on Kauai in September, down 49 percent from 72 sold the same month a year ago.
Condominiums on the Big Island and Kauai fared no better. Only 46 condos on the Big Island were sold in September, despite a drop in the median price to $341,000. Some 126 condos sold the same month a year ago at a median price of $424,900.
Only 37 condos changed hands on Kauai in September at a median price of $450,000, down 31 percent from 54 sold in September 2005 at a median price of $405,000.
Debra Blachowiak, principal broker of Sleeping Giant Sotheby's on Kauai, said she wasn't surprised by the dip in sales.
Buyers are no longer in a hurry to snatch up properties in the face of increasing prices.
"Buyers are holding back a little bit to see what happens," she said. "Last year, this time, and maybe a year and a half ago, it was the complete opposite. People thought, 'If we don't buy, prices are going to go up.'"
There are fewer speculators, she said, and more owners looking for a home to live in.
"I think it's going to stay steady like it is (for the rest of the year)," Blachowiak said. "Sales will be down about the same amount for the rest of the year. I don't expect a crash, but there are not as many speculators."