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Thursday, December 7, 2000

Isle housing
market hits best
level in decade

Sales stay strong but
the median price for condo
purchases declines 2.4 percent

By Russ Lynch

Strong sales in November helped push the Oahu housing market to levels it has not seen in a decade, according to the monthly report of the Honolulu Board of Realtors.

The board said yesterday that there were more than 7,000 sales of previously owned homes and condominiums for the past 12 months through November.

"The combined residential rate of sales (single-family homes and condos) now surpasses the 7,000-unit mark for the first time since 1990," said Harvey Shapiro, the board's research chief. "It fell as low as 3,600 (units) just before the housing market began to expand in the summer of 1997."

The trade association said 255 single-family homes were sold last month, a 10.9 percent increase from 230 in November 1999. The median price among the single-family homes resold in November was $295,000, up 5.3 percent from the $280,200 year-earlier median, the price at which half the homes sold for less and half for more.

Last month, 345 condominiums changed hands, an increase of 29.7 percent from 266 in November 1999, while the condominium median price slipped 2.4 percent to $122,000 from $125,000 in November 1999.

It was the 41st straight month in which sales volume was higher than the year-earlier month, said Peter Freeman, president and CEO of the Realtors organization.

Single-family home sales through the first 11 months of this year totaled 2,911, up 13 percent from 2,576 in the equivalent period last year. Condo sales through the latest 11 months totaled 3,608, up 20 percent from 3,007 in the 11 months of 1999.

Freeman said the dollar value of all sales this year though November was $1.77 billion, up 22 percent from $1.45 billion by the end of November 1999. Median prices for single-family homes have been in the $280,000-to-$319,000 range for the last two years said Freeman, calling that a relatively small variance.

"Average prices, however, varied between $339,000 and $456,000 during the same time," he said. "This rise in average pricing indicates that high-end sales are taking place, but the impact on pricing for the rest of the island is limited."

Sales in high-priced areas such as the Kahala and Lanikai beachfronts have pushed the average up, Freeman said.

The 3,500-member real estate trade board makes a monthly report from an analysis of transactions reported through its computerized Multiple Listing Service. It does not report on sales of newly built homes.

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