Neighbor isle home prices mixed


POSTED: Friday, March 06, 2009

The median price and number of residential real estate sales continued to drop on the Big Island and Kauai in February, according to a report released yesterday by the Hawaii Information Service.

But Maui partly bucked the downward trend as its condominium prices rose even as condo sales, as well as single-family home prices and sales, all fell, according to Realtors Association of Maui Inc.

On the Big Island, only 85 single-family homes and 13 condominiums changed hands in February, resulting in a 16.7 percent drop in single-family home sales and a staggering 53.6 percent drop in condominium sales.

More than half of single-family home buyers spent at least $291,000, a 26.3 percent drop from the year-prior median of $395,000. Comparatively speaking, condominium prices held steadier. More than half of condominium buyers spent at least $435,000, a scant 4.1 percent drop from February 2007's median price of $453,500.

Kauai, which in comparison to the Big Island is a much smaller market, showed more volatile market swings. Residential sales dropped 61.5 percent to 10, but that was coming off of 26 sales the prior year. Likewise, 10 condominiums changed hands last month, a 37.5 percent decline from the 16 properties that sold in February of 2007.

“;It's so slow that it is dire right now, but I can't help but put some of the blame on the lenders,”; said Phil Fudge, principal broker of Kauai Landmark Realty.

Fudge said he's had one client who has been waiting for the lender to approve a short-sale offer for two weeks.

While sales activity has fallen off, Fudge said that falling prices combined with low interest rates has made it a good time to buy now.

The median price paid for a single-family home on Kauai last month fell 47.4 percent to $399,500 from the prior year's $760,000. The median price paid for a condominium on Kauai in February fell 40.1 percent to $338,500 from the year-ago $565,000.

“;For buyers who are waiting for the bottom, I don't think that it's going to get much better than this,”; Fudge said. “;And, if it does, they may lose out if interest rates rise.”;

On Maui, the median price for condos rose 0.7 percent to $578,950 from $575,000 a year earlier but condo sales plunged 53.7 percent to 44 from 95. Single-family home prices on Maui slipped 6.9 percent to $581,250 from $624,391 while home sales nose-dived 60.5 percent to 30 from 76.