Known as the business and financial mecca of Oahu, Downtown Honolulu and Chinatown are popular locations for working professionals looking to settle down and find their new home. Shifting from the island’s early agricultural landscape to the urban hub it is today, Metro Oahu’s business district took shape in the mid 1800s, when Hawaii’s capitol was established and large parcels of land were designated for commercial business use. Following the end of World War II and on the heels of a big residential housing boom, Downtown and Chinatown quickly evolved into the metropolitan destination we recognize today, complete with a wealth of historic and modern commercial and residential properties.
Situated between the larger communities of Kakaako and Waikiki and located on the edge of the breathtaking Pacific Ocean, Ala Moana is a tiny yet urban community where both city amenities and natural wonders are always easily accessible. In the days of old Hawaii, however, Ala Moana was known by a very different name—Kalia. It was also valued not for its proximity to luxury storefronts, but for its extensive swamp land with numerous fishponds and taro patches, making it an ideal home for Hawaii’s fishermen and even some of the island’s monarchs. In the early 1900s, Kalia’s swamp land was transformed into a recreational park, and the region took on both the new name of Ala Moana, as well as the new function of better serving the local and visitor communities. Today, Ala Moana is where natural beauty meets cosmopolitan city life.
Waikiki is Metro Oahu’s mecca for tourism, a vastly developed mini city catering to the wants and needs of both visitors and Hawaii residents alike. With sparkling lights, towering skyrises and urban amenities, what may surprise those who are familiar with Waikiki is that the region was actually one of Oahu’s vast swamplands beloved for its suitability to fishing and taro farming. It wasn’t until the construction of the Ala Wai Canal in 1928 and the growing need for housing following World War II that Waikiki emerged as a growing metropolis, where high rises, hotels and storefronts lent to the neighborhood’s new reputation as Oahu’s concrete jungle.
Kakaako is a city in flux, and is praised as one of the fastest evolving communities in all of Metro Oahu. With more than 20 new condominiums breaking ground in just a few years’ time, this modernized little city is unrecognizable to past residents. In the times of old Hawaii, Kakaako was an expansive agricultural community where many alii, including Kamehameha I, made their homes. In the mid-19th century, the region evolved into a highly trafficked port site for international ships traveling to Hawaii. Resurgence took place once again a century later, when new zoning laws allowed for the introduction of new buildings, businesses, homes and, eventually, condominiums. Today, this urban mecca is a highly sought-after neighborhood ideal for families with young children, working professionals, and retirees alike.
We’re pleased to share the Oahu real estate update for April 2020.
As anticipated, the Oahu housing market is confronting challenges amid the Coronavirus pandemic, including a steep decline in sales and listings.
Closed sales for single-family homes and condos were down more than 20%, and new listings decreased by 42% compared to this time last year. However, the median sales price for single-family homes and condos rose slightly to $809,000 and $450,000, respectively.
The most sales activity for single-family homes occurred in the $500,000 to $999,999 price range. However, closed sales in this range were down 28% compared to the same time last year. Sales $1 million or more fared almost even, with a 3% decline compared to 2019.
Condominium sales across all price ranges experienced a significant drop in sales activity. The most significant drop in sales occurred in the $200,000 to $299,999 range at 56%. Mid-range sales between $300,000 to $599,999 were down by 24%, while sales in the $1 million and up category declined by 40%.
There continues to be a slowdown in the number of new listings coming onto the market due to the stay-at-home order that went into effect on March 23. New single-family home and condo listings in the $1 million and up range saw the largest declines at 51.4% and 58.1% respectively when compared to this time last year. Meanwhile, as mortgage rates continue to reach all-time lows, lenders are tightening credit standards thereby limiting the pool of buyers that can leverage this opportunity in their favor.
Only 26% of the current supply of active single-family homes were listed after the stay-athome order. Compared to the same time last year, listings put on the market made up 41% of the active single-family home inventory. Within the current supply of active condo listings, 24% of properties were listed after the stay-at-home order, compared to 37% during the same time period in 2019.
Sellers and buyers are exceedingly cautious as they juggle their perceptions and the reality of economic security amid these uncertain times. However, once consumers begin to feel some relief from the impacts of the pandemic, it’s likely we will see listing and buying activities slowly increase.
We’re pleased to share the Oahu real estate update for March 2020.
Oahu Housing Market Remains Steady, Readies for Impacts of COVID-19.
Single-family home sales up, condo sales and new listings down in March.
According to resales figures released by the Honolulu Board of REALTORS®, single-family home sales were up again in March with a year-over-year increase of 9.8%, while condo sales declined 12.2% compared to last year. The median sales price for both single-family homes and condos rose modestly to $810,000 and $435,000, respectively.
“While the numbers illustrate the market is holding strong, we’re only beginning to see the changes in activity,” said Tricia Nekota, president, Honolulu Board of REALTORS®. “For example, the majority of closed sales were already in escrow at least 30 days prior to the stay-at-home order, and we saw a double-digit decline in new listings last month. These stats are likely an early reaction to economic uncertainty and indicative of a shift in market activity due to the impacts of COVID-19.”
Generally, real estate activity has kept pace with 2019 figures. For the first quarter of 2020, single-family home sales were up 11.6% compared to 2019. Condo year-to-date sales trail last year by just under 1%. However, the stay-at-home order that went into effect on March 23, 2020 has contributed to a slowdown in the number of listings coming on market. Single-family home listings declined by 16.7% and condo listings were down 14.3% in March. A significant number of active listings have also been moved into a temporarily off-market status, which has resulted in lower inventory levels.
The Honolulu Board of REALTORS® temporarily canceled all open houses effective March 24, but its members continue to conduct essential business. Showings are held virtually and preventative measures, including best practices in social distancing and hygiene, are encouraged for any activity that must occur in-person or on-properties.
“We’re all doing our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and keep our community safe,” added Nekota. “The real estate industry – from REALTORS® to title companies, financial institutions and more – is presenting a united front to support homeowners and renters. We know that it will take everyone’s cooperation to get through this uncertain time.”
As many in the community face unemployment and concerns over paying their mortgages and rent, resources have been made available to provide relief. Homeowners and renters are encouraged to contact their mortgage lender or landlord to discuss relief options, such as deferral and forbearance. Information is available at https://hicentral.com/.
Courtesy of Honolulu Board of Realtors
We’re pleased to share the Oahu real estate update for February 2020.
Oahu Housing Market Holding Strong and record low mortgage rates continue to drive healthy market activity
According to resales figures released today by the Honolulu Board of REALTORS®, single-family home sales performed strongly again in February with a healthy year-over-year increase of 18.8%, while condo sales saw a slight dip of 1.6%.
Mortgage interest rates continue to average near historic lows, with this week’s average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage falling to a record low of 3.29%.
Single-family homes saw a median sales price of $765,000 or a 3% decline, which is largely due to a boost in sales in the mid-range prices. Homes in the $600,000 to $899,000 range were scooped up by buyers across the island, accounting for 55% of the sales last month. The majority of the total 136 sales occurred in the Ewa Plain region, followed by the Waipahu and Central Oahu areas.
Meanwhile, condo sales marked a median sales price of $430,000 or a 3.6% increase from this time last year. Though median condo sales prices continue to climb, more than 75% of the condos sold last month closed below the original asking price. This marks a slight increase when compared to February 2019, when 68.2% of the sales had closed below the asking price.
We’re pleased to share the Oahu real estate update for January 2020.
Single-Family Home and Condominium Sales rose in January 2020. Positive momentum in Oahu real estate market activity continues with a 12.6% year-over-year increase in total sales.
According to resales figures released by the Honolulu Board of REALTORS®, Oahu single-family home and condominium combined sales rose 12.6% over January 2019. Single-family home sales were up 7.7% and condominium sales were up 16.3% for the month. The median price for single-family homes saw a slight increase of 0.3% to $770,000 while condos saw a 7.5% increase to $429,000 compared to the same time last year.
Although new listings were down 18.9% compared to last year, the new listing volume in January 2019 was notably higher than any other January since 2009. Median days on market was 35 days for single family homes and 33 days for condos last month marking the first time since 2014 that monthly median days on market has been above 30 days.
Approximately 41% of single-family home sales occurred in the $600,000-$799,999 price range. This price range also represented the most significant jump in sales volume at 19.8% or 18 more sales compared to January 2019. The most substantial portion of condominium sales occurred in the $300,000- $499,999 price range, while a 51.7% increase in sales volume occurred in the $400,000-$599,999 price range.