Aloha Again: Honolulu Real Estate Climbs, But Not Scarily

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Views of Waikiki exactly where you want them ... over there.
Views of Waikiki exactly where you want them … over there.

While the views above are truly million dollar, they’re not wildly more expensive than during last year’s Hawaii special edition.  Once again, I’m taking one for the team to scope out a favorite place for Texas second home buyers.  In 2015, the state reported that 2.3 percent of all Hawaiian real estate was purchased by Texans and represents 10 percent of the total mainland buyer’s market (the top slot goes to California of course … they’re closer and have tech money to spend).

For the record, the views above belong to a 1,000-square-foot studio condominium that would sell for about $1.6 million. Heart-stopping for most, oceanfront condos are in terrifically short supply on Oahu with nearly all built before 1970.  With scarcity comes demand and cost.

Based on data from the Honolulu Board of Realtors, for October 2016, median sales prices for single-family homes rose by 3.1 percent to $742,000 and sales grew by 7 percent compared to October 2015.  Remember, Hawaii isn’t a huge market, so the monthly sales rose from 313 to 335 year-over-year … 22 homes different.  On the condo front (where many second homeowners go for the lock-and-go life) median sales prices rose 7 percent to $396,000 but sales volume tumbled 5.7 percent lower due to tight inventory.  Again, small market, sales went from 454 in October 2015 to 428 in October 2016 … 26 units fewer.

Sunrise over Diamond Head
Sunrise over Diamond Head

Moving away from median prices, average selling prices for single-family homes reached $859,047 and $451,070 for condos.  Both these numbers seesaw around a bit because of the smallness of the overall market and the outsized effects new developments have when suddenly hundreds of units in a single price band close in the same month.  In the single-family world, a couple of whopper sales can have the same effect (Note: Oahu currently has 21 properties listed for over $15 million on an island with a population around 950,000). An example of how average prices can swing, the lowest average recent price was in February 2014 at $778,870.  It was followed in March of 2014 by the highest average sales price of $985,910.

Average days on market are a little more Dallas-like at 19 for single-family and 20 for condos. In most markets, the holidays tend to be soft.  This year, one of the reasons cited for the rise is the growing threat of an interest rate increase, a reason many markets are seeing for gains during a traditionally slow period.

And speaking of those $20 million and $30 million properties … last year there were three $30+ million listings.  Of those two remain on the market while one has sold.  Currently there are two new $30 million-plus listings (one vacant land and one a penthouse) and one of last year’s properties fell from $35 million to $21.9 million.  Of last year’s seven listings above $20 million, three sold.  There are currently eight listings above $20 million representing three new listings.  In the coming weeks, I’ll take you on tours through each of them.

Slap on some sunscreen, here we go!

Sound advice on the long ride to paradise
Sound advice on the long ride to paradise


Remember: When I’m not stirring up trouble in Dallas, Texas or Honolulu, Hawaii for and, I’m off scouting interesting locations for a second home.  In 2016, my writing was recognized with Bronze and Silver awards from the National Association of Real Estate Editors. If you’re a Realtor with second home clients who’d like me to feature their journey, shoot me an email