Oahu home sales,
prices jump again

Home-buyers are taking
advantage of low interest rates

Star-Bulletin staff

Home sales and prices on Oahu continued to boom in July, and homeowners who may have been waiting for just this opportunity jumped into the frenzy.

More existing homes were put on the market last month than at any time in at least the last six years.

For-sale signs are cropping up everywhere, in some cases where only a trickle of homes went on the market over the last several years. Realtors say would-be homeowners are outbidding each other, pushing prices higher as they realize that low interest rates are bringing monthly payments well below what they would have been a couple of years ago to buy properties of the same value.

In Kailua's Enchanted Lake, open-house signs proliferated yesterday and it was common to see five or six cars at a time stopped outside properties during yesterday's open-house period.

Real estate experts have cautioned the buying enthusiasm must flag eventually, but that didn't happen in July.


While prices have not reached the record levels of the mid-1990s in most areas, they are steadily rising. The median price among single-family Oahu homes resold last month was $320,000, up 5.3 percent from $304,000 in the previous July. The lift in prices didn't inhibit sales, which were up 12.6 percent at 366 homes last month compared to 325 in July 2001.

The action among condominiums was even livelier. A whopping 528 units changed hands last month, compared to 410 in the previous July.

That was a sales volume increase of 28.8 percent, right on the heels of a rise of more than 20 percent in June.

And the median condo price -- the point at which half the units sold for more and half sold for less -- was $157,000 last month, up 12.1 percent from $140,000 in July 2001.

Watching that action, many owners have decided to sell.

"New single-family-home listings coming on to the market in July, at 537, were the highest that the board has ever recorded since January 1986, when the board started keeping records," said Guy Tamashiro, chairman of the Honolulu Board of Realtors, a 3,600-member trade association that gathers the monthly figures from its computerized Multiple Listing Service.

The 714 new listings of previously owned condominiums was higher than in any month since May 1995, he said.

Through the first seven months of this year, single-family-home resales were up 11.5 percent and condominium resales were up 17.9 percent, Tamashiro said.

Year-to-date resales of all types of homes amounted to $1.39 billion this year, up $246 million or 21.5 percent from the equivalent period last year.

The Board of Realtors does not monitor the first sales of new houses and condominiums, but a recent survey by Prudential Locations, a major Hawaii real estate firm, showed those numbers also have risen.

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