New luxury
high-rise condos
selling big

Oahu new-home sales shot 20.8 percent higher in February from a year earlier but the increase was driven almost entirely by sales of a new high-rise condominium being built in Kakaako.

Developers sold 256 new homes in the month, up from 212 last year. It was the best new-home showing for February in 10 years, according to a study prepared by independent analyst Ricky Cassiday for Hawaii HomeLoans.

The 370-unit Koolani condominium, just Ewa of Ala Moana Center, fueled the growth with the sale of its first 60 units. Had it not been for Koolani, the February numbers might have been lower than last year, but Cassiday said high-rise condos such as Koolani will account for an increasing share of the growth in new home sales over the next year. Other new projects are due to release units on to the market in coming months, including the Moana Pacific on Kapiolani Boulevard and The Colony in Hawaii Kai.

"High-rise projects are going to take over for the time being, partly because there is just not as much growth in terms of single-family home sales," he said.

Sales of new single-family homes dropped 8 percent in February "because developers cannot build them fast enough," Cassiday said.

The average price of a new house or condo slipped 5.4 percent in February, mainly because prices in the year-earlier period were driven higher by sales of million-dollar units in Kakaako's Hokua high-rise.

"There is such low inventory now that price changes are really just blips. You can't read too much into them," Cassiday said.

His report said inventory dropped by 44 percent to 494 available units.

Cassiday said prices should begin to climb back up in the months ahead as higher-priced condo units come onto the market. He said those units could push monthly new home sales to as high as 310 units in the next year.


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