Condo sales
surge 56%

Housing resale prices still going strong

Star-Bulletin staff

Condominium resales led the pack as Oahu home owners continued to sell property at a rapid pace and strong prices in November, according to the latest report from the Honolulu Board of Realtors.

A total of 472 condominium resales last month marked a 56.3 percent increase over the 302 units sold in the previous November. Last month's condominium median resale price of $160,000 was up 17.2 percent from $136,500 in November last year.


Rents have risen faster than purchase prices, leading investors to look at condominiums in the lower price ranges, said Herb Conley, managing director of the real estate firm Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties.

"People are saying, "Why don't I buy one of those $100,000 units that's getting $1,200 a month in rent?' " Conley said.

First-time buyers are also contributing to the frenzy, he said. "What typically happens as the market goes through its cycle is that the upsurge starts at the single-family and higher-price levels and works its way through to condominiums."

A total of 307 single-family home changed hands, up 15 percent from 267 resales in November 2001. The median price among the houses sold in November was $347,000, up 11.9 percent from the November 2001 median -- the price at which half the homes sold for more and half for less -- of $310,000.


"Resales in the Oahu housing market continued their furious pace," said Guy Tamashiro, chairman of the 3,600-member real estate trade association. Through the 11 months of this year, sales of single-family homes and condominium units came to a total of $2.37 billion, up 28.1 percent from $1.85 billion by the end of November last year.

The single-family home market is strong but the condominium market "has truly been amazing," said Harvey Shapiro, research economist for the Board of Realtors. Current sales volume is approaching the remarkable level it reached in the 1980s, when Japanese investors were buying Hawaii properties, and although prices are still below record levels they are within 20 percent of their peaks, Shapiro said.

The high level of activity indicates investor-buyers are coming back into the Oahu market and the speed of sales has been "brisk," with the average condominium unit staying on the market only 26 days in November, he said.

With a month to go in the year, total sales of houses and apartments have surpassed the full-year figures for 2001, he said. In all of last year, 3,406 single-family homes and 4,261 condominium units changed hands on Oahu. The 3,559 total for single-family homes for the first 11 months of 2002 was 4.5 higher than the 2001 full-year total and the 4,919 condominiums resold in the January-November period showed an increase of 15.4 percent over all of last year.

The Board of Realtors gathers its statistics from its computerized Multiple Listing Service. The organization does not report on sales of newly built homes.

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