Kauai, Big Island
home prices rocket

A lack of available homes slowed sales in some neighbor island markets last month, but March's single-family home and condominium prices continued to rise.

The number of single-family home and condominium sales on Kauai fell by more than 5 percent last month as real estate agents struggled to supply buyers with available properties.

"We've had plenty of buyers, but there's still a lack of inventory at prices that haven't jumped too far ahead of the game," said Phil Fudge, a Realtor with Kauai Landmark Realty LLC in Kapaa.


Half the homes sold last month on Kauai went for more than $509,000, nearly 20 percent higher than a year earlier, according to figures released yesterday by Hawaii Information Service.

The median price for a condominium hit $357,000, 8.7 percent above the year-earlier median of $329,000.

"We've got a shortage of everything -- single-family homes, condominiums and vacant land," Fudge said. "Any new inventory that comes on the market sells out within days."

A number of new resort developments are in the works, but the projects can't keep up with demand, he said.

"I attribute a lot of this to the baby boomers. They are all out looking for retirement places and what better place than Kauai," Fudge said.

The price and pace of sales also continued rising on the Big Island last month. The number of single-family home sales rose 14.73 percent to 257 in March, while condo sales rose 13.79 percent to 99.

More than half the single-family homes sold for greater than $365,000, a 46 percent gain from a year earlier. The $350,000 median condo price was a 27 percent higher than March 2004.

"Sales are taking off and prices are still going up tremendously," said Monica Takabayashi, a Realtor with T&C Realty in Hilo.

"It's definitely a seller's market, but buyers can still get a deal especially on rural land or fixer-uppers."

There are still bargains to be found in places like Nanawale and Ainaloa in the Puna area, she said.

While second-home and outside buyers have fueled Big Island home prices, local buyers also are major players, Takabayashi said.

"I have seen a lot more locals in on this rush than the last time the market took off in the 1980s," she said.

The pace and price of Maui's residential real estate was also healthy, with a median single-family home price of $632,000 in March and condominiums reaching $415,000, according to data from the Realtors Association of Maui.

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