Market Report

Oahu Market Report – April 2021

Tall buildings at Waikiki Beach and Wai Canal in Honolulu, Hawaii. Light effect applied

In April 2021, a year after Oahu’s real estate market saw a steep decline in sales and listings, activity has rebounded. Closed sales of single-family homes and condos rose 51.2% and 88.0%, respectively. The wide year-over-year variance is due to 2020’s downturn in real estate activity spurred by the initial shocks of the pandemic and the first stay-at-home order.

Single-family homes in the $700,000 to $999,999 range accounted for the bulk of the sales in April, with 167 total sales, an increase of 45.2% compared to this time last year. Total closed sales of singlefamily homes priced at $1 million and above more than doubled compared to April 2020, with 118 properties sold in the $1 to $1.99 million range and 40 in the $2 million and above range. More than half of single-family homes – 58.9% to be exact – sold above the asking price last month. Meanwhile, high demand for single-family homes continues to keep the median days on the market at a low of just nine days.

Condo sales in the Ewa Plain and Waipahu regions recorded the most significant month-over-month increases of 22.8% and 57.9%. The Metro region more than doubled its closed sales of condos with 345 total sales compared to this time last year when just 167 condos sold. In April, 30.9% of condos sold above the asking price and condo properties spent a median of 13 days on the market, which tied the record low set in June 2017.
While new listings for single-family homes are up 58.3% compared to April 2020, active listings remain down 35.3% year-over-year. The condo market tells a similar story with a 60.5% increase in new listings last month, but active listings are still down 17.6%.

Sustained demand and low inventory levels remain constants in our real estate market and when paired with historically low-interest rates, it has created the fast-paced, competitive environment we see in today’s market.

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Oahu Market Report – March 2021

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Closed sales of single-family homes and condos saw significant double-digit growth of 19.1% and 52.7%, respectively, compared to pre-pandemic activity last March. For the third consecutive month, the median price for a single-family home set a new record of $950,000, representing a 17.3% year-over-year increase and a 3.5% increase over February’s record of $917,500.

With sustained limited supply and high demand, the number of single-family homes and condos sold over the asking price nearly tripled compared to March 2020. During the first quarter of 2021, single-family homes sold over asking price made up 50% of the sales compared to just 19% in quarter one last year, while condos sold above the list price accounted for 29% of the sales compared to 10% in the previous year’s first quarter. Single-family homes continue to spend a record-low median of just nine days on the market.

New listings for single-family homes and condos added much-needed inventory to Oahu’s housing supply. Single-family homes marked a 12.6% jump with 439 new listings as nearly all regions saw positive growth. The condo market added 715 new listings, marking a 17.2% increase in listings compared to this time last year.

Sales activity in March rounded out a solid first quarter for 2021 with total increases of 11.9% and 32.5% for single-family homes and condos, respectively. The single-family home market recorded an uneven shift in sales with a 36.1% drop in sales for properties sold below $800,000. In comparison, the upper price tiers of $1.5 million and above saw a dramatic 113% increase in sales. The condo market remained active with steady growth at all price points. 

Courtesy of the Honolulu Board of Realtors

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Art / Lifestyle Featured

Trends in the Landscape – The Latest in High-Impact Grounds

Ridgefield, Connecticut | Krissy BlakeSotheby’s International Realty – Greenwich Brokerage

A home’s exterior greenspaces are often the perfect place to find a moment of peace. From city plots to country estates, the configuration of a garden or the layout of a lawn can affect the overall feel of a property and add opportunities for connection and relaxation.

For those in the process of searching for the perfect view—or updating their existing grounds—here are five landscaping trends that are having an impact.

Embrace Rewilding

Munster, Ireland | David AshmoreIreland Sotheby’s International Realty

If you’re seeking to draw even more nature to your grounds while focusing on sustainability, rewilding may be the approach for you. The practice refers to the act of ecological restoration, and for gardens this can mean reestablishing natural habitats for everything from microorganisms and bees to birds and local mammals. Rewilding calls for an abundance of domestic wildflowers to appeal to pollinators, grasses that require little to no maintenance, and plants that are free to grow where they please. With a little time, your landscape should teem with life.

Go Monochrome

Dorado Beach, Puerto Rico | Oriana JuvelierPuerto Rico Sotheby’s International Realty

In contrast to the maximalism of rewilding, the monochromatic landscaping trend thrives on simplicity. Create an outdoor space in a single hue: outfit a patio with all-white furniture and decorative accents to instill tranquility, and flow the theme outwards. In the garden, intersperse varying sizes and shapes of flowers in similar shades to please the eye. Contrast adds even more impact here: if you’re longing for variety, enliven your consistent backdrop with some well-chosen bright blooms.

Incorporate Water

Lucca, Italy | Daniela SpreaItaly Sotheby’s International Realty

Sound is an important element to consider when creating a personal outdoor paradise, and the ambience of trickling water is of a piece with elevated landscaping. Not only does even the simplest water feature add a sense of calm to an outdoor space, but the choices are endless from a design perspective—from multi-level ponds that cascade into one another to modern marble fountains to natural stone waterfalls, an aquatic touch makes a garden even more appealing for those who like to listen.

Think Tall

Como, Italy | Luca D’AngeloItaly Sotheby’s International Realty

Don’t overlook the powers of height to make a landscape feel grand and sophisticated. Towering, manicured greenery like trees and topiaries lining a garden’s perimeter can make a space feel palatial and secluded. Planting tall varietals like hardy hibiscus, foxglove, and delphinium adds drama and instant visual impact to an otherwise flat garden. Raised flower beds are another trending way to bring height and dimension to your grounds—they improve soil drainage and help with the longevity of your plants and flowers.

Augment Indoor/Outdoor Living

Montecito, California | Sandy StahlSotheby’s International Realty – Montecito – East Valley Road Brokerage

Indoor/outdoor living spaces are always a desired feature of luxury homes, but properties that showcase a seamless flow between house and garden are even more in demand this year. Large sliding, retractable, or French doors help connect kitchens and living rooms with nature, and carrying through similar details—whether through color, pattern, or materials—lets a patio or garden become an extension of the home. To really encourage spending more time outdoors, consider incorporating an outdoor kitchen or fireplace.

Regardless of the size or style of your garden, there are myriad ways to approach a timely refresh. From letting flora get a little wild to creating an exceptional outdoor living space, this is the year to turn your landscape into a veritable sanctuary.

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Inside Jimmy Fallon’s Unique Gramercy Park Home

In the late 1800s Manhattan, the concept of cooperative living—multiple families sharing one building—was a novelty, yet a group of developers who hit on the idea determined to move forward with it. They hired New Jersey–based architect George W. DaCunha to design an arresting Queen Anne–style building overlooking Gramercy Park, whose gates have, since 1844, been openable only by neighborhood residents in possession of a key. His ornate affair, completed in 1883, was a masterwork of redbrick, with terra cotta, brownstone, polished granite, and carved foliate accents; a mansard roof; and three of the city’s first hydraulic elevators. In its early days, the building was home to some of New York’s socially prominent families, and by the time of its 75th anniversary, had beckoned to such Hollywood icons as James Cagney and Margaret Hamilton. Ultimately, the building and its concept would survive early skeptics, going on to be known as a distinguished paradigm of the cooperative model. No expense has been spared in the meticulous maintenance of the building over its nearly 140-year lifespan. To this day the foyer retains elements of 19th-century charm—such as stained glass, mahogany woodwork, and leaded- and beveled-glass doors—although the original elevators have been replaced. New York, New York | Jeremy V. Stein & Debbie KorbSotheby’s International Realty – Downtown Manhattan Brokerage Add to the list of luminary residents comedian, actor, singer, writer, and “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon, who began purchasing space in the building in the early 2000s and over the ensuing years—alongside producer Nancy Juvonen, his wife—combined four apartments on three levels into one home of impressively generous scale and delightfully whimsical and vibrant style. Throughout its 4,950 square feet—a rarity on Gramercy Park outside townhouse living—vintage elements have been painstakingly maintained and restored, perfectly harmonizing with superior fixtures and finishes, contemporary comforts and conveniences, and state-of-art smart technology, from lighting to audiovisual systems. Occupying the seventh, eighth, and ninth floors of the building’s southwest corner, the home is appointed to the hilt with antiques and imaginative finds from around the world. In the colorful living room, 1940s wallpaper and Brooklyn Navy Yard woodwork endure alongside such modern amenities as an in-ceiling projector. In addition to an oversized island with plentiful storage and sitting space, custom cabinetry with E.R. Butler & Co. hardware, and top-caliber appliances, the cheerful kitchen features a gas fireplace with its original mantel and a walk-in soundproofed pantry. A classical staircase unites the public spaces with the private quarters—six restful and uniquely appointed bedrooms. Perched at the top is the owner’s suite, a skylit oasis boasting a gas fireplace, a wet bar, a sitting area, a bath with a separate steamshower and soaking tub, and two well-outfitted walk-in closets. An intercom allows for easy communication between the home’s two enchanting and thoughtfully equipped playrooms. On the eighth floor is the one-of-a-kind “saloon,” anchored by an antique bar that pays homage to the building’s provenance with its inlaid stained glass and intricate wood detailing. Striking ceiling beams and a dramatic stone fireplace contribute to a feeling of Old West warmth. Other highlights include a quiet office, a gym, and two convenient laundry rooms. Naturally, as has been the case since the earliest days of this innovative residential building, ownership conveys a coveted key to the park.
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Oahu Market Report – February 2021

The Oahu housing market continues a record-setting year as single-family homes reached a median sales price high of $917,500, a nearly 20% year-over-year increase and a 3.9% jump above last month’s record of $883,000. Single-family home sales saw a 5.3% increase and condominium sales soared 41.1% over last year.

The fierce competition between buyers resulted in sellers receiving more than their asking price in 48.5% of single-family home sales and 29.1% of condo sales compared to only 19.8% and 8.9%, respectively, in February 2020. The record-setting pace of sales continued in February, as single-family homes spent only nine days on the market.

Approximately one-third of single-family homes sold were in the $700,000 to $899,999 range, nearly even with the sales a year ago. However, sales in the $1,000,000 and over range doubled, jumping to 111 sales compared to 55 sales in February 2020. The $400,000 to $499,999 range accounted for 21.3% of sales in the condo market and saw the largest increase in sales volume, up 53.2%.

New listings for single-family homes and condos declined by 19.3% and 2.5%, respectively, offering no relief to the difficulties presented by the lack of inventory. There are 774 active listings for single-family homes and 1,979 active listings for condos available on Oahu.

While strong demand for limited inventory and increased purchasing power through low interest rates continues to place sustained upward pressure on prices is good news for sellers, buyers face a challenging environment with steep competition.

Courtesy of the Honolulu Board of Realtors

Featured Market Report

Oahu Market Report – January 2021

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The Oahu housing market continued to gain positive momentum into the new year with closed sales of single-family homes and condos increasing 9.8% and 3.4%, respectively over last year.

The median sales price for single-family homes set a new record of $883,000, marking a 14.7% increase year-over-year and 1.5% more than last month. Compared to the previous year, the condo median sales price increased 5.4% to $452,000, which is a slight decrease of 0.7% from $455,000 recorded last month.

Steep competition continued to drive the market’s pace, with single-family homes spending a mere median of nine days on the market before entering into a contract. This speedy pace ties with the record low nine days on the market set in September 2020. In addition to quick transactions, sellers received more than their asking price in 54.6% of all single-family home sales in January. Condos spent more time on the market than single-family homes, with a median of 18 days on the market, but this rate is 45.5% faster than the median days on the market last year. Meanwhile, nearly 30% of condo sales closed above the original asking price, which is more than triple the amount compared to last January.

While single-family homes in the $600,000 to $999,999 range accounted for 56.4% of closed sales last month, most sales increases were generally in the upper price ranges. Homes sold at $800,000 to $999,999 increased by 61.5%, and properties sold in the $1 million and up range hiked up 64.1%. In the condo market, properties in the $500,000 to $699,999 price range saw the largest increase in closed sales, up 35.3%.

Typically, new property listings see a bump in the New Year; however, new listings were down for both single-family homes and condos at 14.7% and 5.3%, respectively. There are 790 active listings for single-family homes and 1,992 active listings for condos available on Oahu.

Courtesy of the Honolulu Board of Realtors

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Sotheby’s International Realty Expands its Presence in Ohio

Sotheby’s International Realty Expands its Presence in Ohio Sotheby’s International Realty today announced that it is expanding its presence in Ohio with the opening of Elite Sotheby’s International Realty. The addition marks the brand’s continued growth in the state and its third affiliated company in Ohio. Elite Sotheby’s International Realty is owned by Ken Schmidt and Mike Schmidt and will be led by Managing Broker Joanne Zettl who together bring more than a century of combined real estate experience to the company. Continue reading Sotheby’s International Realty Expands its Presence in Ohio at Sotheby´s International Realty | Blog.
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Latest COVID-19 Hawaii Travel Updates

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Pre Clear Program

Hawaiian Airlines, Alaska Airlines and United Airlines have launched Pre-Clear Programs for the opportunity for passengers to be pre-cleared prior to departure and bypass long wait times upon arrival into Hawaii. For more information:

Recent Travel Updates

Update January 27: Starting Feb. 5, travelers from South Korea can forego the State of Hawaii’s mandatory 10-day self-quarantine through the pre-travel testing program. Learn more.

Update January 20: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued an order that went into effect Jan. 25, 2021 for all travelers flying to the U.S. from a foreign country. All airline passengers arriving into the United States are required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19. You will be required to complete the CDC passenger attestation form at home or during check-in at the airport. Every traveler two (2) years and older will need to submit the form and receive a negative test result. To be exempt from the State of Hawaii’s mandatory quarantine, make sure you comply with both State of Hawaii and CDC requirements.

Update January 19: Maui County has added an additional requirement the state of Hawaii pre-travel testing program, requiring all travelers to download the AlohaSafe Alert application or enable their exposure notification setting on their mobile device prior to arrival. Learn more

Update January 5: Kauai has resumed its participation in the pre-travel testing program for inter-island travel and established a “resort bubble” model for U.S. Domestic travelers. Inter-island travelers who have been in the State of Hawaii for 72 hours or more can forego the 10-day self-quarantine by taking a state-approved COVID-19 test no more than 72 hours prior to departure and providing proof of a negative test result upon arrival. US domestic travelers who take a pre-travel test, quarantine for three days on an Enhanced Movement Quarantine “resort bubble” property, then take a post-travel test, will be released from quarantine with negative test results. Read more for more details

Update December 2020: Governor David Ige announced Hawaii’s mandatory travel quarantine period has been reduced from 14 days to 10 days. The reduction reflects updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Travelers without a negative test result before boarding the final leg of their flight MUST quarantine for 10 days or the length of their stay, whichever is shorter.

Update November 2020: All travelers must have a negative test result BEFORE beginning the final leg of their trip. Travelers without a negative test result before boarding the final leg of their flight MUST quarantine for 14 days or the length of their stay, whichever is shorter.

For more information about Traveling to Hawaii click here:

Featured Market Report

Oahu Market Report – December 2020

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The Oahu real estate market ended 2020 with a spike in sales and new listings in December. Closed sales of single-family homes on Oahu were up 35.9%, and condo sales rose by 20.1% compared to the same period in 2019. New listings increased by 15.3% and 3.6% year-overyear for single-family homes and condos, respectively. Median sales prices for December 2020 were up 6.1% at $870,000 for single-family homes and 6.9% to $455,000 for condos.

While 2020 began with both single-family home and condo sales outpacing the start of 2019, Oahu’s real estate market experienced a steep decline in activity when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in mid-March. In reaction to stay-at-home orders, record-high unemployment, health concerns, and general uncertainty brought about by the pandemic, second-quarter sales dropped 17.3% for single-family homes and 38.1% for condos, compared to the same period in 2019.

Deemed an essential business, the real estate industry pivoted to implement new policies and procedures that allowed for safe client interactions, open houses and transaction elements while adhering to public health and safety guidelines. Third-quarter sales saw a 4.0% bump in single-family home sales and a 13.4% decline in condo sales.

By the end of the year, mortgage rates were at a record low, with the average 30-year fixed-rate dipping more than one percentage point over the 12-month period. Total annual single-family home sales were up 2.3% over 2019, but condo sales remained down, declining 13.0%. Increased purchasing power from lower mortgage rates and heightened competition spurred by low inventory resulted in annual median sales price increases of 5.2% to $830,000 for single-family homes and 2.4% to $435,000 for condos. Total new listings were down by 17.7% for single-family homes and 14.4% for condos compared to 2019.

The number of single-family homes sold over the original asking price was up 168.1% in the fourth quarter of 2020, representing 45.0% of the quarter’s sales compared to just 19.0% in the year prior. Competitive bids were also seen more frequently in the condo market during the fourth quarter of 2020. The number of condos sold over the original asking price increased by 93.2%, representing 22.3% of the quarterly sales compared to 12.1% in 2019.

Neighborhood trends and sales by bedroom count may indicate how some buyers navigated their options during the pandemic. The greatest annual sales increases for single-family homes occurred in Kailua, North Shore and Ewa Plain regions. The Ewa Plain and Kailua also saw the greatest increase in sales volume for condos. Given the shortage in single-family home inventory, preferences for more space and added purchasing power from low mortgage rates, condos with four or more bedrooms experienced a 31.7% jump in closed sales at 79 properties compared to 60 in 2019.

Courtesy of the Honolulu Board of Realtors

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Sotheby’s International Realty® Brand Opens First Office in South Korea