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Thursday, November 2, 2000

Isle housing
market surges

The median price for condos
hits a year high of $135,000 while
total home sales jump 10.6%

By Russ Lynch

Helped by a strong improvement in the condominium market, sales of previously owned homes on Oahu in October topped the year-earlier total for the 40th month in succession, the Honolulu Board of Realtors said today.

Art The median prices were higher as well, among both condominiums and single-family homes, the trade association said.

"Oahu housing resales in October were fantastic," said Peter Freeman, president and chief executive officer of the 3,500-member Realtors organization.

A total of 272 single-family homes changed hands last month, up 10.6 percent from 246 in October 1999, the association reported. The single-family median price, the level at which half the homes sold for more and half for less, rose 0.7 percent to $288,500 last month, from $286,500 in the previous October.

Condominium resales last month totaled 339, up 4.3 percent from 325 in the year-earlier month, and the condominium median price in October, $135,000, was up 10.7 percent from $122,000 in October 1999.

"The condominium segment of the market, comprising both apartments and townhouses, is showing clear signs of recovery," Freeman said.

The median price among condominiums last month was the highest for any month since July 1999 but that was just one positive factor, Freeman said. The sales speed, the time from the listing of a property for sale to the signing of a purchase contract, has fallen to 41 days, compared to 58 days for the average condominium a year ago, he said.

Harvey Shapiro, Board of Realtors research chief, said the figures for fee-simple condominiums were dramatic. "Inventory contracted by 24 percent in the last 12 months, to 1,201 units, and asking prices rose to $161,000 from $149,900. This is an increase of 7.4 percent," Shapiro said.

The October sales brought the year-to-date total to 2,656 single-family homes, up 13.2 percent from 2,346 in the first 10 months of last year, and the year-to-date condominium total was 3,263 this year, up 19 percent from 2,741 in 1999.

"The year-to-date dollar volume of sales now exceeds $1.6 billion, compared with $1.3 billion at the same time last year," a 23.2 percent increase, Freeman said. The Honolulu Board of Realtors compiles the sales figures from its computerized Multiple Listing Service. It reports only on resales of existing homes and does not monitor sales of newly built homes.

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