Thursday, January 3, 2002

Isle home sales
best in decade

Stable purchases in December
cap off a strong year

By Russ Lynch

Slow, but steady gains outweighed the occasional drop in residential real estate activity on Oahu last year, yielding the best volume in more than a decade, according to the Honolulu Board of Realtors.

December resales continued the trend.

chart Sales of previously owned Oahu single-family homes were down slightly in December, compared to the year-earlier level, but prices were up and condominium resales were higher in both volume and price, according to the Honolulu Board of Realtors.

A total of 260 houses changed hands last month, a dip of 3.7 percent from 270 in December 2000, the 3,500-member real estate trade association said today. There was a year-over-year increase of 0.7 percent in the median price among single-family homes, to $308,500 from the $306,500 year-earlier median, the level at which half the homes sold for more and half for less.

Condominium sales volume was up 4.4 percent at 332 units, from 318 in December 2000, and the condominium median price last month was $130,000, up 2 percent from $127,500 a year earlier.

Overall, the real estate industry had a good year in 2001 with total sales of just under $2 billion, up 2.7 percent or $53 million from total house and condominium sales of $1.94 billion in 2000, said Peter Freeman, Board of Realtors president and chief executive officer.

"The market in 2001 produced sales higher than at any time since 1990, a sign that our market continues to be healthy," Freeman said. He said the market's vigor is coming from lower financing costs and good opportunities on Oahu for buyers, sellers and investors.

For all of last year, 3,406 single-family homes were sold, up 7.1 percent from 2000, and 4,261 condominium units found new owners, up 8.5 percent.

The organization compiles sales statistics from transactions posted in its computerized Multiple Listing Service. It does not monitor sales of new homes or apartments.

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