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Home and condo sales up


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POSTED: Wednesday, November 04, 2009

For the first time since June 2006, inventory for Oahu's single-family homes and condominiums dipped below five months, sending a positive signal to real estate watchers that the market is beginning to favor sellers.

Sales and pending sales were up in both markets, too; however, prices, which were still contracting last month, are not following the positive trend, said Chason Ishii, president of Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties.

“;It's the chicken-and-the-egg thing,”; Ishii said. “;Sales are up because values are down; however, there are some indicators out there that the real estate market could be improving.”;

As many as 281 single-family homes changed hands in October, up 15.1 percent from the prior month and 15.6 percent from the prior year, according to statistics released yesterday by the Honolulu Board of Realtors. Likewise, condominium sales rose to 381, a 10.4 percent increase from the prior month and a 20.5 percent increase from the prior year, HBR said.

“;The current rate of sales for both single-family homes and condominiums were both slightly up in October, which is truly encouraging in light of the overall economy,”; said Sandra “;Sam”; Bangerter, HBR president.

While some of the sales were generated by first-time homebuyers scurrying to close by Nov. 30 to take advantage of an $8,000 tax credit, Ishii said the move-up buyers are back in the market.

Kapahulu/Diamond Head, Kahala and Hawaii Kai posted their highest single-family home sales of the year, he said.

; “;Buyers, in general, last month had a lot more confidence than they've had all year,”; Ishii said.

 

In October, months of remaining inventory for single-family homes fell to 4.6 from the prior year's 9.8, according to the HBR. Likewise, remaining condominium inventory fell to 4.8 months from the year-ago 8.7 months, HBR said.

While the contraction in inventory is a positive sign, some of it can be explained by sellers who are avoiding the holidays, said Walt Harvey, a Realtor with East Oahu Realty.

“;It's good to see these numbers in a positive direction, but I'm reluctant to say it's a trend,”; Harvey said. “;There is a tendency for people to take their homes off the market in the holidays unless they have to sell them.”;

Other sellers, especially those that bought after 2005 or live in neighborhoods that have been hardest hit with foreclosures, might not have enough equity to list them, said John Riggins, of John Riggins Real Estate.

Although HBR reported the median price paid for a single-family home on Oahu rose 0.8 percent to $605,000 from September, home values dipped 3.2 percent from October 2008. The median price paid for a condominium fell to $295,000, down 3.2 percent from September and off 9.2 percent from the prior October.

With prices still well below the peak, Riggins said sellers without a good reason to market their properties probably will not list them.

“;I'm a classic example. I have several properties that I bought for $600,000 that I couldn't sell now for $400,000,”; Riggins said. “;I'm paying my mortgages and waiting for the market to pick back up.”;

The number of expired and withdrawn listings grew last month, he said.

“;It's only a seller's market for properties that are fixed up and priced right,”; Harvey said. “;Sellers who hope to set new highs will be sorely disappointed.”;

It's a frustrating market for buyers, too.

Stephen and Megan Wolfe wanted to buy the single-family home that they were renting in Kunia, but were turned away because the owners could not afford to sell it.

“;We were hoping to buy this house,”; said Stephen Wolfe, who is stationed at Schofield Barracks. “;The market is frustrating. You can find 20 houses that you love, but 19 of them will already have an accepted offer or will have short-sale-related complications.”;

Given Oahu's so-called down market, Wolfe said he was surprised by how difficult it was to find a suitable property.

“;You'd think that if all of these houses were getting all of these offers, there would be enough demand to raise the prices,”; he said.

While the number of pending sales indicates that sales should be strong at least through the end of the year, Harvey said Oahu might not see comparable price increases for some time.

“;The economy is still suffering,”; he said. “;Layoffs and foreclosures are looming out there.”;

;

NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH

Oahu single-family home and condominium resales data for October by neighborhood with the percentage change from last year:

SINGLE-FAMILY HOMES

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
NO. NEIGHBORHOOD GROUPSALES PCT. CHANGEMEDIAN PRICEPCT. CHANGE
1Moanalua-Kalihi20185.7%$604,000-8.5%
2Honolulu1677.8%$797,0006.3%
3Kapahulu-Diamond Head2343.8%$700,000-14.0%
4Waialae-Kahala140.0%$1,072,50029.1%
5Aina Haina-Kuliouou4-42.9%$1,310,000-5.8%
6Hawaii Kai2547.1%$838,00027.8%
7Kailua-Waimanalo210.0%$920,0004.5%
8Kaneohe2376.9%$710,000-17.9%
9Windward Coast5400.0%$515,0008.4%
10North Shore525.0%$902,500-1.7%
11Wahiawa4-20.0%$423,5003.9%
12Mililani11-56.0%$580,000-1.7%
13Makaha-Nanakuli129.1%$295,000-19.2%
14Ewa Plain42-14.3%$433,000-11.6%
15Makakilo1344.4%$426,500-14.8%
16Waipahu2420.0%$485,000-10.9%
17Pearl City-Aiea1926.7%$580,000-4.1%

CONDOMINIUMS

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
NO. NEIGHBORHOOD GROUPSALES PCT. CHANGEMEDIAN PRICEPCT. CHANGE
18Moanalua-Salt Lake11-35.3%$288,0004.7%
19Kalihi-Palama4-42.9%$390.00021.9%
20Downtown-Nuuanu307.1%$437,45026.0%
21Ala Moana-Kakaako4223.5%$375,000-12.6%
22Waikiki6247.6%$305,00022.6%
23Makiki-Moiliili5758.3%$280,000-17.4%
24Kapahulu-Kuliouou11-21.4%$325,000-20.2%
25Hawaii Kai16-15.8%$485,000-5.8%
26Kailua-Waimanalo980.0%$384,000-2.8%
27Kaneohe147.7%$367,000-17.3%
28Windward Coast0NA-NA
29North Shore0NA-NA
30Wahiawa1NA$122,020NA
31Mililani244.3%$274,500-11.2%
32Makaha-Nanakuli10100.0%$137,50052.8%
33Ewa Plain2644.4%$246,500-33.9%
34Makakilo7-30.0%$225,000-23.6%
35Waipahu28133.3%$267,000-0.9%
36Pearl City-Aiea29-9.4%$260,000-10.3%

Source: Honolulu Board of Realtors