COURTESY MARY WORRALL ASSOCIATES
Unlike the dismal housing market on the mainland, Oahu's luxury real estate market remains strong. Seeking a tropical getaway, ex-pat investors from Asia are buying up island properties as second homes. Setting a record for this year's home sales, this home in Portlock Point sold for nearly $16 million last month.
Castle by the sea
Latest multimillion dollar sale is proof Oahu's luxury market remains strong
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Yesterday's purchase of a newly built home in Kahala, which fetched $11.25 million, represented the second largest single-family home purchase of the year and its timing, just one month after the largest transaction of the year, signifies that luxury home buyers are still bullish on the Hawaii market.
Kamaaina developer Donald T. Eovino, president and principal broker of Eovino and Associates Inc., said that the 4755 Kahala Ave. transaction represented the biggest redevelopment price for his firm, which specializes in high-end development and sales. Last month, a home at 503 Portlock Road was purchased for $15.9 million.
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The recent sale of a Kahala estate for $11.25 million yesterday, coming on the heels of a $15.9 million transaction that represented the highest of the year on Oahu, was the latest evidence that the isle's luxury home market is robust.
Kamaaina developer Donald T. Eovino, president and principal broker of Eovino and Associates Inc., a boutique real estate company specializing in high-end development and sales, said the 4755 Kahala Ave. transaction was the biggest redevelopment for his firm. The home, bought yesterday as a second home for a Japanese buyer, was a newly built home, he said.
"We're the Monaco of the West Coast for the more affluent buyers," Eovino said. "The market is very strong."
Although Hawaii has long been popular as a luxury second-home investment and resort market, improvements in transportation and technology have now made it a more viable year-round alternative for high-end buyers, who view it as good value relative to other destinations, Eovino said. In the last several years, developers and private owners have pushed the market higher with continued renovation and reinvestment in the market, he said.
The former site of a guesthouse at the Henry J. Kaiser estate, located at 503 Portlock Road, fetched the largest price on Oahu in the last 10 months.
The property, which features a two-year-old mansion and offers a two-acre oceanfront tract, was purchased by Jason Brand, Tokyo-based president of Merrill Lynch Pacific Rim, and his movie actress/director wife Malindi Fickle, said Mary Worrall, the seller's agent and president of Mary Worrall Associates Sotheby's International Realty.
"The couple are part of a growing trend of ex-pat buyers from the U.S. mainland who are living in Asia and buying property in Hawaii," Worrall said. "Hawaii is very appealing to these buyers because it is seen as a safe destination with little pollution."
Like the $11 million Kailua mansion that made news when it traded hands in August, Hawaii's most recent high single-family home transaction included an unusually large beachfront tract.
"It was just a gorgeous property and it was unique. It's very difficult to find a two-acre property on the ocean," Worrall said.
The property, which boasted a modern residence in turnkey condition, is also part of a growing trend toward renovation and reinvestment in the high-end market, Worrall said.
While the property sold for below asking price, Worrall said that the seller was pleased with the purchase price, which reflected its market value.
"The property was originally listed for $26 million with Coldwell Banker, Worrall said. "We reduced the property's price and put it into the Sotheby's network which helped it reach more luxury buyers."
COURTESY MARY WORRALL ASSOCIATES
Offering the finest in island living, the lanai of this multimillion dollar home looks out on a secluded stretch of the Hawaii Kai coastline. Part of the former Henry Kaiser estate, the Portlock property features two acres of oceanfront land and a swimming pool.
The Portlock property, whose sale closed Oct. 5, will now set the market comparison for Oahu's luxury oceanfront properties, she said.
The sale of this estate was the latest evidence that the luxury home market in Hawaii is still robust. In fact, Hawaii's luxury real estate sales are running ahead of last year, said Harvey Shapiro, research economist for the Honolulu Board of Realtors.
"The rest of Oahu's market has dropped a little bit, but the high end seems to be holding up rather well," Shapiro said.
During the first 10 months of the year, 497 properties were sold on Oahu for $1 million or more as compared to 460 properties during the same period in 2006, he said.
"It's a manini difference, but it shows that the high-end market is moving and it hasn't stopped," he said.
The subprime crisis on the mainland appears to have had little impact on Oahu's high-end market, Shapiro said.
"Of course, those people aren't trying to finance those properties through the normal channels," he said. "Normally you don't ask a bank to loan you $5 million to buy a home."
Oahu's fine-homes market appears to be the least affected by the mortgage issues in the overall real estate market," said Scott Higashi, Prudential Locations' vice president of sales.
"This can be attributed to buyers' higher incomes, solid assets and cash positions," he said.
Higashi said the luxury market is moving and that he expects high-end sales to remain robust through 2007.
Through the third quarter of 2007, fine-homes transactions on Oahu enjoyed a healthy 14 percent increase when compared to the same period last year, Higashi said. The number of sales in the overall real estate market dropped almost 10 percent, he said.
The pace of fine-homes sales also has picked up in Hawaii, Higashi said. The average number of days on market for luxury homes decreased 34 percent from 64 days in the third quarter of 2006 to 42 days at the end of the third quarter in 2007, he said, adding that this means that luxury market conditions are stable.
Also, while median prices for luxury homes stayed relatively flat, a handful of prosperous neighborhoods such as East Oahu experienced solid median price increases, he said.
Top Oahu Sales of the Year
||Oct. 5, 2007
||Nov. 9, 2007
||Jan. 2, 2007
||Aug. 6, 2007
||May 23, 2007
Source: Harvey Shapiro, Honolulu Board of Realtors