Home sales down, prices up
A big drop in sales on Oahu hasn't stopped the prices from rising
While single-family home and condominium resales for September dipped to their lowest point since February, prices continued rising at a slow pace, according to statistics released by the Honolulu Board of Realtors yesterday.
"The housing market on Oahu appears to be in a general slowdown, similar to the mainland markets, although we've not experienced the price declines," said Harvey Shapiro, economist at the Board of Realtors.
Resales of single-family homes declined to 255 in February, a drop of 29 percent from the year earlier market. Condominium resales, which dropped to 414, fell 13.9 percent from the previous September.
But while sales are declining and inventory is increasing on Oahu, prices are still rising. More than half of the single-family homes sold on Oahu last month changed hands for more than $650,000 -- 4.8 percent above the median a year ago. The median price paid for a condominium also rose, by 4.7 percent to $335,000.
Median prices paid for single-family homes and condominiums have remained relatively constant despite the decline in units sold last month, said Berton Hamamoto, president of the Honolulu Board of Realtors.
"We are entering a slower market seasonally -- usually the market slows from now into January -- and the recent issues in the mortgage market did take a few buyers out of the market," said Scott Higashi, executive vice president of sales for Prudential Locations.
While the mortgage issues have tempered Oahu's market they haven't drastically affected it, Higashi said.
"We aren't seeing anything to indicate a doomsday. We aren't seeing the same trend in Hawaii as we are seeing reported nationally," he said.
Shapiro speculates that some of the downturn in the resale market is due to demand for new properties. Many developers are offering incentives that have proved enticing to buyers, said Higashi, whose company markets 909 Kapiolani.
"We've had an overall price reduction at 909 Kapiolani, but the developer is also offering rate buy downs and furniture packages," he said. "Developers don't want to be left with any remaining units so they'll put together very competitive offers to sell them."