New home sales
leap 54 percent
year over year

Prices are up 19 percent, a
similar jump to that seen in home
resales for the same period

Star-Bulletin staff

The Oahu market for new housing zoomed in August, with a 54 percent year-over-year increase in properties sold and a 19 percent rise in prices, according to real estate analyst Ricky Cassiday.

"It's a good time right now," Cassiday said. A total of 254 sales contracts were signed in August, compared with 165 in 2001 and 150 in 2000.

The average list price of new homes sold was $352,477, compared with $295,389 last year and $268,856 in 2000.

In comparison, resales of existing single-family homes were flat in August, at 342 sales, according to the Honolulu Board of Realtors. Median resale prices rose 17 percent to $360,000, similar to the price increase for new homes.

Demand for homes has been unleashed partly by historically low interest rates. To keep up, Oahu developers have been accelerating and expanding their projects.

New home sales were boosted by Bert Kobayashi's Kapolei Kai development, which sold 53 homes in August, Cassiday said. Castle & Cooke's Heritage project in Mililani sold 26 homes.

The outlook for the rest of the year is not certain. Future sales depend on continued building, and the West Coast dock labor dispute would have put a crimp in Hawaii supplies if the recent worker lockout had continued another week, Cassiday said.

August is the last month of the traditionally strong summer sales period, but Cassiday notes that September 2001 sales were slightly stronger than August 2001.

The Building Industry Association's Parade of Homes, to take place this weekend and next weekend, could help push new home sales later in the year, Cassiday said.

For the year, new home sales have risen by one-third to 1,492 from 1,127 last year. Prices have increased 23 percent to $345,083 from $281,485.

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