Oahu condominium
prices hit record

Total home sales have fallen
slightly but Honolulu's high prices
are expected to keep on rising

Median home prices on Oahu edged up in July from the previous month, but were slightly lower than the record of $610,000 in May.


Condominium prices, meanwhile, hit a record, the Honolulu Board of Realtors said yesterday.

The board reported 418 single-family home sales with a median price of $599,000 for July, up 1 percent from the $593,000 median price in June and up 25 percent from $480,000 in July 2004.

The board reported 684 condo sales with a record median price of $270,000. That was up 2 percent from the $264,000 median in June and up 24 percent from the $217,000 median price in July 2004.

"While it appears our sales growth trend, which started eight years ago in July 1997, may be coming to an end, this is certainly not the case for median prices," said Harvey Shapiro, the board's research economist.

In higher-demand regions of Oahu, median sales prices went through the roof last month, said Jim Mazzola, principal broker at the Windward office for Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties.

More than half of the buyers in Hawaii Kai paid $922,500 for a single-family home last month. That was followed closely by Kailua and the North Shore, where the median prices reached $885,000 and $787,500, respectively.

"We have sticker shock when we look at prices here, but if you go to places like Malibu, Calif., the median single-family home price is about $1.5 million," Mazzola said.

A run of luxury sales on the North Shore has contributed to a dramatic rise in median prices for that area, said Mary Worrall, principal broker and owner of Mary Worrall Associates, which specializes in the high-end market.

"Our oceanfront was undervalued in comparison with the neighbor islands," Worrall said. The repositioning of Turtle Bay Resort has fueled increased interest in that region. Fee-simple cottages at the resort are going for nearly $3 million, she said.

Kailua's easy commute into downtown and its proximity to the beach also has made it one of Oahu's more sought-after real estate markets, Mazzola said.

Malibu Mayor Ken Kearsley predicted Kailua's rise several years back when his son first bought property in the little beach town, said Mary Beddow, a Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties vice president and Realtor involved in that transaction.

"(Kearsley) envisioned what's happened now three or four years ago, before it really got crazy," Beddow said. "But I think Kailua is a lot better than Malibu -- they just have the movie stars."

The continued strong prices come as the number of properties for sale continues to lag demand from buyers. The 418 single-family homes sold in July was down 11 percent from the 467 sold last July, and the 684 condos sold was down 12 percent from the 776 sold last July, the board reported.

Sales continued to be stifled by the lack of available inventory, said Judith Kalbrener, president of the Honolulu Board of Realtors.

"While the number of July listings edged up somewhat, to 958 available single-family homes and 1,001 listed condominiums, these counts are still limiting factors for Oahu buyers," she said.

For the year, the volume of home sales has fallen 1 percent from the first seven months of last year, the board reported. The number of condos that have sold increased by 3 percent.

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