Big Island and Kauai see home prices dip
Neighbor Island condo prices pick up
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Single-family home prices slid on the Big Island and Kauai last month, but real estate agents say the dip was mostly an artifact of those islands' small market size.
And in the case of Kauai, the decrease merely brought the single-family median back down to near Oahu's levels.
Condominium prices gained on both islands, meanwhile.
Canadian buyers continued trying to take advantage of the weakened dollar by looking for real estate values on the Neighbor Island, agents said.
Neighbor island prices
Median sales prices for single-family homes:
Source: Hawaii Information Service
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Median home prices on the Big Island and Kauai slid in January, but the median price paid for condominium units picked up in both markets. The number of transactions fell in both categories on both islands.
The number of single-family home sales on the Big Island fell to 84, a 30.6 percent drop from January 2007, according to data released yesterday by Hawaii Information Service. Single-family home sales on Kauai dropped by 40 percent in January to 21 from the year-prior 35.
While the number of condominium resales was flat on Kauai, it dropped by 52.5 percent on the Big Island. Only 19 condominiums changed hands on the Big Island last month as compared to 40 in the year prior month.
Neighbor Island real estate agents say the falloff in single-family home prices was not as dismal as the numbers would suggest. Since the neighbor island markets are much smaller than Oahu's, a handful of high or low sales have a much greater effect on the numbers without necessarily indicating a market trend.
Manu Spaur, the broker/owner of Re/Max Island Surf Realty in Pahoa, said Canadian buyers were making more cash purchases last month, especially in the condominium and land categories.
"The dollar is weak so Canadians are taking advantage of that," she said.
While Canadian buyers were actively looking in Kauai, they weren't closing as many deals as they did in the Big Island, said Jimmy Johnson, a broker in charge at Re/Max Kauai in Kapaa.
More than half of the buyers on Kauai paid $630,000 for a single-family home last month, down 21.5 percent from the year-ago $799,000 median. Steep as it was, the decrease merely brought Kauai prices down to Oahu levels.
"I saw a lot of activity in January, but not that much urgency for buyers or sellers," Johnson said, adding that he expects sales will pick up after election and interest-rate unknowns are resolved.
On the Big Island, the median sale price for a single-family home fell 20 percent to $324,000 from last year's $405,000 median. However, the drop only served to fuel sales activity in some markets, Spaur said.
While single-family home prices dropped on the Big Island and Kauai, condominium prices rose in both markets. The Kauai median condo price jumped 28.6 percent to $586,000 from $455,810 last year. Condo prices on the Big Island increased 11.3 percent to $444,444 from $399,170 in the prior year.