Thursday, June 3, 1999

Home sales
gain on Oahu
but prices fall

Condo purchases led the way
in May with a 42.2 percent jump

By Russ Lynch


Sales of previously owned homes on Oahu picked up sharply in May but prices were down, according to the monthly report of the Honolulu Board of Realtors.

A total of 239 single-family homes changed hands last month, up 5.3 percent from 227 in May 1998. In the condominium market, the sales volume increase was much higher, a 42.2 percent rise to 293 sales in May compared to 206 in the previous May.

Art Last month's median price among single-family homes -- the level at which half the properties sold for more and half for less -- was $285,000, down $10,000 or 3.4 percent from the $295,000 median of May 1998. The condominium median price last month was $122,500, a drop of $12,500 or 9.3 percent from $135,000 in the year-earlier month.

Year-to-date sales of single-family homes totaled 1,026, up 10.4 percent from 929 sales in the first five months of last year. Year-to-date sales of condominium units were up 28.9 percent, with 1,208 transactions reported in the first five months of this year compared to 937 in the 1998 period.

Despite lower prices, the increased volume pushed the total value of house and apartment resales in the first five months up 14 percent to more than $571 million, from $501 million in January through May 1998, said Peter Freeman, president and chief executive officer of the 3,500-member real estate trade association.

Freeman said one factor that indicates how the real estate market is doing is the pace of sales, measured by the time it takes to sell a property after it is listed for sale. The industry expects to sell the current inventory of single-family homes in a little more than seven months and the condominium inventory in about nine months.

Both numbers are about one-third lower than they were a year ago, showing a faster sales pace, Freeman said.

The Board of Realtors measures sales recorded in its computerized Multiple Listing Service. It does not monitor sales of new homes, only those that were previously owned and were listed for resale.

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