Oahu real estate update

April 4, 2011 11:07 am 0 comments

Share this Article


Oahu’s real estate market showed strength in the month of February, posting an increase in the number of condominiums sales as well as an uptick in the median price of a condo. There were just less than three hundred condominium purchases in February 2011, marking a substantial twenty-one percent increase over the 244 reported at the same time last year.

The average price of a condo rose as well, moving from $299,000 in February 2010 to $320,000 in February 2011.

This suggests that consumers’ demand for condominiums is sufficient to resist the downwards pressure of increasing prices, although that trend has not held true for single-family homes on the island.

There were 181 single family houses purchased last month, representing a marginal increase over the 177 sold in February 2010. Conversely, the median sales price of these properties declined by approximately one percent from $575,000 to $570,000.

This particular discrepancy between condos and single family homes suggests two things. First, that investors may be returning in force to the Oahu housing market, as represented by the uptick in condo sales volume, and second, that residents’ demand for residential properties may be cooling off.

There is reason to be optimistic, however, since the decline in median price actually represented a moderation of the previous month’s decline, which was a drop of more than four percent. In other words, the real estate sector of the housing market seems poised to stage a moderate recovery as the year moves along.

In terms of the amount of time that properties spent on the market, homes sold in February 2011 took 58 days to be purchased, compared to 38 days the year prior. Similarly, condominiums spent an extra week on the market relative to last year, with time on market rising from 51 days to 58 days. This can be understood partially as a result of the federal housing tax credit which was in effect last year. Essentially, the credit may have cannibalized future demand by accelerating the pace of short-term sales. Therefore, this apparent slowdown should not necessarily be interpreted as showing weakness in the market.

There were also fewer homes and condominiums in the market in February 2011 – just under 1400 single family houses and slightly over 1900 condominiums. These numbers represented a decline of roughly ten percent and four percent for homes and condominiums, respectively.

Interestingly, February is traditionally the part of the year with the fewest number of sales in Hawaii. The fact that condominiums sales rose substantially while home sales remained relatively static seems to indicate an encouraging strength in the Oahu real estate market. There have been a number of instances throughout the island in which properties have been bid on by multiple individuals, even when the price is at or near the market mean.

There were slightly fewer foreclosures in the Oahu real estate market in February, although that dip may have been the product of national foreclosure backlog. Throughout the entire state, there were 953 foreclosures in February, representing a two percent decrease from the 972 recorded last year at the same time. Although this past tracking period was the third straight in which the number of foreclosures declined, the decline is not likely an indication of a decrease in distressed properties but rather the result of several major lenders freezing foreclosure actions.

Hawaii’s foreclosure rate is relatively severe overall, consistently ranking in the top ten or fifteen worst markets for foreclosure nationwide for several months. The news was more encouraging for Honolulu and Oahu in particular, however, since the City and County of Honolulu saw the lowest foreclosure filing rate of the entire state. In February 2011, Oahu had one foreclosure for every 825 homes, compared to one out of 270 for the Big Island, one out of 362 for Maui, and one for every 502 on Kauai.

Despite the lowest proportion, Oahu saw the largest quantity of foreclosures, with just over 400 in February. Most of these foreclosures were either auction notices or lender repossessions, although there were only 84 default filings (which mark the start of a foreclosure). It is possible that Oahu’s median home price will be depressed once banks start to clear out their backlog of foreclosures, since foreclosures are generally sent for less than the market median.

Leave a Reply

Other News

  • Featured Media Publicity Hawaii Herald launches online edition

    Hawaii Herald launches online edition

    The Hawai‘i Herald today took a major step forward in its more than thirty­ year ­history with the launch of its online edition. The debut issue is focused on the Primary Election, with a story on the “David vs. Goliath” gubernatorial race between incumbent Governor Neil Abercrombie and veteran State Senator David Ige, as well as a Q&A forum on the issues with responding candidates for the major offices.

    “This is an historic moment for The Hawai‘i Herald, the only Hawaii­-based newspaper dedicated to covering the local Japanese American community,” says Keiichi Tagata, president of parent company Hawaii Hochi, Ltd. “After 34 years of sharing stories in print with loyal readers, mostly in Hawaii, we look forward to sharing the Herald with a wider audience of readers around the world.”

    Read more →
  • Featured Technology Honolulu happy hour app taps new beacon tech

    Honolulu happy hour app taps new beacon tech

    Happy Hour Pal, a Honolulu-based startup, is the first business to deploy beacon technology into restaurants and bars throughout the state.

    Happy Hour Pal is a searchable website and free GPS-based mobile app that allows people to save money while dining out, by locating happy hour specials in their area. Integrating beacon technology will make Happy Hour Pal even easier for users to identify nearby happy hour specials, and provide local businesses an effortless opportunity to engage directly with customers and increase awareness and sales during the most powerful internal promotion – happy hour.

    Happy Hour Pal’s website and mobile app users can search for happy hour specials by food, drink, time, and location, and easily access happy hour menus and daily specials for each business. Users can share information via text message and email, and invite friends to join them for happy hour. Users can also earn points for rewards when they check in to a business on the app.

    Read more →
  • Featured Publicity Science Third historic volcano found off O‘ahu

    Third historic volcano found off O‘ahu

    University of Hawaii researchers, working with colleagues in California and France, have discovered evidence of a third major shield volcano making up the island of O‘ahu.

    Previously, geologists believed the island’s current profile is the remnants of two volcanoes, Wai‘anae and Ko‘olau. But extending almost 100 km WNW from Ka‘ena Point, the western tip of the island of O‘ahu, is a large region of shallow bathymetry, called the submarine Ka‘ena Ridge. It is that region that has now been recognized to represent a precursor volcano to the island of O‘ahu, and on whose flanks the Wai‘anae and Ko‘olau Volcanoes later formed.

    The team included scientists from the University of Hawai‘i–Mānoa, Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de L’Environment in France, and Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.

    Read more →
  • Education Featured Publicity Science Technology Leaf Doctor: UH plant expert launches third app

    Leaf Doctor: UH plant expert launches third app

    Fresh from his success with two widely utilized smartphone apps, plant pathologist Scot Nelson has created a new and more technical app, the Leaf Doctor, for a more specialized audience.

    Nelson, who works at the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources at the University of Hawaii, doesn’t anticipate that the Leaf Doctor will have the same broad, popular appeal as his Plant Doctor app. For many of those who will use the Leaf Doctor, though, it is likely to be a professional game-changer.

    The Leaf Doctor focuses on the finer points of diagnosing plant diseases.

    Read more →
  • Featured Health Publicity Study: Shorter men may live longer

    Study: Shorter men may live longer

    Short height and long life have a direct connection in Japanese men, according to new research based on the Kuakini Honolulu Heart Program (HHP) and the Kuakini Honolulu-Asia Aging Study (HAAS).

    “We split people into two groups – those who were 5-foot-2 and shorter, and 5-4 and taller,” said Dr. Bradley Willcox, one of the investigators for the study and a UH Mānoa Professor at the John A. Burns School of Medicine’s (JABSOM’s) Department of Geriatric Medicine. “The folks that were 5-2 and shorter lived the longest. The range was seen all the way across from being 5-foot tall to 6-foot tall. The taller you got, the shorter you lived.”

    Researchers at the Kuakini Medical Center, JABSOM and U.S. Veterans Affairs worked on the study, which was recently published in PLOS ONE, a peer-reviewed medical journal.

    The researchers showed that shorter men were more likely to have a protective form of the longevity gene, FOXO3, leading to smaller body size during early development and a longer lifespan. Shorter men were also more likely to have lower blood insulin levels and less cancer.

    Read more →
  • Featured Science Deep origins to the behavior of our volcanoes

    Deep origins to the behavior of our volcanoes

    Kīlauea volcano, on the Big Island of Hawaii, typically has effusive eruptions, where magma flows to create ropy pāhoehoe lava. But Kīlauea sometimes erupts more violently, showering scoria and blocks over much of the surface of the island. To explain the variability in Kīlauea’s eruption styles, a research team analyzed 25 eruptions that have taken place over the past 600 years.

    Their research shows that the ultimate fate of a magma at Kīlauea — that is if the eruption will be effusive or explosive — is strongly influenced by the variability in composition of the deep magma. In short, more gas-rich magmas produces more explosive eruptions.

    “Gas-rich magmas are ‘predisposed’ to rise quickly through the Earth’s mantle and crust and erupt powerfully,” Houghton explained.

    Read more →
  • Education Environment Featured Transportation Bike Commuting Celebrated on Thursday

    Bike Commuting Celebrated on Thursday

    This year’s “BikeUHM,” the annual appreciation and promotional event for those who cycle and who are thinking of cycling to UH Mānoa, coincides with the University’s Earth Day Festival on Thursday, April 24. “BikeUHM 2014: Earth Cycles” will be held along Legacy Path (near Dole Street) from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m.

    To further enhance the cycling experience at UH Mānoa, the University has implemented Sharrow lanes (shared by both motorists and bicyclists) and free bike parking in any of the more than 150 racks positioned around campus. Coming soon is the installation of a secure, enclosed bike shelter in the Lower Campus Parking Structure and bike-share stations on campus, as recommended in a recent feasibility study for bike-sharing in Honolulu.

    Read more →
  • Education Publicity Winners named in school attendance video contest

    Winners named in school attendance video contest

    Winners of a video contest to discourage school truancy were announced yesterday. The “Be Pono – Be in School” video contest was organized by schools on the Windward side of Oahu. Judges awarded prizes valued at $10,000. More than 1,500 students – some in kindergarten – created and produced a total of 60 video entries. Described as the state’s first district-wide attendance-campaign video contest, it launched last month and drew participation by one-third of all Windward District schools. Entrants submitted 30-second spots […]

    Read more →