Home, condo sales up on Kauai and Big Island


POSTED: Saturday, February 06, 2010

Sales of single-family homes and condominiums on Kauai and the Big Island posted triple and double-digit increases last month as buyers pursued bargains.

Prices were mostly lower.

While Oahu's housing market experienced a double-digit rise in single-family home sales and the median price last month, the neighbor islands still have farther to go, said Howard Dinits, a Realtor with RE/MAX Resort Realty in Waimea whose specialty is Maui and the Big Island.

“;Oahu has already stabilized, but the outer islands still have no jobs and that hurts,”; he said. “;Furlough Fridays have hurt, too.”;

In January, 31 single-family homes changed hands on Kauai, which represented a 210 percent increase from the prior year's sales. Likewise, condominium sales doubled to 14, a 100 percent rise last month.

Despite the run-up in Kauai sales, home prices continued to drop last month. More than half of the Kauai buyers in January paid at least $375,000 for a house, which represented a nearly 20 percent decline. Likewise, the median price paid for a Kauai condominium fell 19.5 percent to $204,500.

More Canadians than ever are looking for Kauai properties, said Phil Fudge, principal broker at Kapaa-based Kauai Landmark Realty.

“;We had about five Canadian buyers come through in the last month,”; Fudge said. “;Their economy isn't as sluggish as ours, and their dollar is in a good position.”;

It was a similar story on the Big Island, which saw single-family home sales increase nearly 69 percent to 86 and condominium sales rise nearly 63 percent to 26.

The median price paid for a single-family home on the Big Island fell about 9 percent to $239,250; however, the median condominium price increased about 21 percent to $245,000.

Bargain hunters from Oahu, Alaska, the U.S. West Coast and Canada are eyeing the neighbor islands, Dinits said.

“;They like the low prices and the chance to get away from the cold,”; he said.

Local buyers also are capitalizing on low prices, favorable interest rates and the tax credits that are available to qualifying first-time buyers and owner-occupants, he said.

“;Our volume is up. I've closed nine sales on the Big Island and Maui this year,”; Dinits said. “;But I wouldn't say that prices are appreciating yet.”;

Big Island buyers are getting more serious, said Paula Beamer, a Realtor with Clark Realty's Waimea office.

“;Some of them feel we are at the bottom,”; she said. “;Getting a loan is a little tricky, but if you can get one, some of the prices are back to 2004 levels.”;

There are plenty of lookers in Kauai's market but fewer investor-buyers, Fudge said. “;Our tourism has been down, and they want to see potential renters,”; he said.