Condo sales
keep climbing

As prices rise, more attractive
properties are being put
on the market, agents say

By Russ Lynch

Oahu's real estate market has not reached the feeding frenzy of the early 1990s but there is definitely a boom on and a lot of people who paid more than they should have for homes in tight markets are now able to sell, local real estate experts say.


"More people are bidding on a smaller number of properties" and that is pushing up prices, said Herbert Conley, managing director of the residential business of Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties.

One statistic that interests him is that about 12 percent of the 752 houses and apartments that changed hands last month went for prices higher than the original listings. That shows a vibrant market, in which buyers in some cases are outbidding others to be able to secure the property of their choice.

"I see it as an extremely healthy market at the moment," Conley said, noting there is a good supply-demand mix that is helping both sellers and buyers.

A lot of owners, who may have bought 10 or a dozen years ago when properties were priced high, can now see a chance of getting their money back and that is bringing more homes on the market that are selling for good prices in a relatively short time, he said.

Typically what happens in a cycle when inventory gets short and prices go up is that people who would not consider selling at lower prices now see some advantage in putting their places on the market, Conley said.

Noting there were more than 750 resales last month, he said there are about 2,500 single-family and condominium units on the market, about a three-month supply.

The Honolulu Board of Realtors yesterday reported condominium resales last month were up more than 20 percent from the year-earlier level and prices were up at the same time, with the median resale clocking in at nearly 14 percent above June 2001.

Sales of single-family homes were flat, with only one more unit selling than a year ago, but prices in that market were up too, with an 8.2 percent rise in the median, the level at which half the properties sold for more and half for less.

A good reason for the condominium surge is developers have not been producing new inventory in that market, said Ricky Cassiday, research consultant for the Prudential Locations realty firm.

Developers never really produced affordable condos after they over-produced condos at the turn of the last decade, Cassiday said.

"Condo production is a quarter of what it was in a 20-year average," he said.

In both condominiums and single-family homes, a lot of the people who bought at peak prices and have been "under water" for years are now seeing prices that approximate what they paid, said market watchers.

"There's a bunch dying to come to the market" and that will keep units drifting into the inventory for a while, Cassiday said. Real estate experts agreed inventory will get tighter, pushing up prices and slowing volume, but that is not yet happening.

Board of Realtors tracks how long properties stay on the market after they are listed for sale. In 1991, the average was 67 days for a single-family home and 68 days for a condominium unit. There was a peak in 1996 of 81 days for a house and 80 days for an apartment.

Last month the average single-family home stayed on the market only 31 days and the average condominium 40 days.

In June, 413 condominium units changed hands, compared to 343 in the previous June.

The median condominium price, the level at which half sold for more and half for less, was $158,000, up from a year-earlier $139,000.

Last month's single-family sales were 339, up just one unit from 338 houses a year ago, but the median price among single-family homes rose to $330,000, up $25,000 from the year-earlier median of $305,000.

E-mail to Business Editor


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

© 2002 Honolulu Star-Bulletin