Wednesday, March 3, 1999

Honolulu home
sales climb 35%

But Realtors worry about
rising mortgage rates

By Russ Lynch


Art Oahu home and condominium sales soared in February, the 20th consecutive month in which more existing homes were resold than in the year-earlier month.

There was a 34.8 percent increase in sales of previously owned single-family homes and a 28.7 percent increase in sales of existing condominium units, compared with February 1998, the Honolulu Board of Realtors said today.

Median sales prices for single-family homes were higher. And although condo prices overall were down, they were higher in nine of the 19 neighborhoods researched, the trade association said.

Still, the association cautioned that a rise in mortgage interest rates could slow the sales growth.

"We are concerned with the recent fluctuations in bond rates," Peter Freeman, the association's president and chief executive, said in a statement. "They increased mortgage rates by about a half percent."

"Although long-term, 30-year fixed rates are lower than a year ago, these rates have risen to where they stood about six months ago. If this mortgage rate trend continues, it could adversely affect the affordability of homes for real estate buyers. It may also put a dam-per on the renewal of strength we've seen in the housing market since mid-1997," Freeman said.

For now, however, that strength is still there, according the Realtors' data.

A total of 155 single-family homes changed hands last month, up from 115 in February 1998. The median price of $290,000 among the single-family homes sold was up 7.4 percent from the $270,000 February 1998 median, the point at which have the homes sold for less and half sold for more.

Resales of existing condominium units totaled 193 last month, up from 150 in February 1998.

The median condominium resale price of $140,000 was down 11.1 percent from $157,500 in the year-earlier month.

The Honolulu Board of Realtors, which has about 3,700 members, reports sales of previously owned homes and condos from data in its computerized Multiple Listing Service. It does not report sales of new homes or condos.

E-mail to Business Editor

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
[Stylebook] [Feedback]

© 1999 Honolulu Star-Bulletin