Summer Selling Season Starts Early on Oahu
Things are heating up. The statistics are in for April and single-family sales volume has skyrocketed 21.9%, while prices continue to rise.
Technically, May is the start of the summer selling season, but the up-trend in prices did not let up even through the winter months.
The most recent report from the Honolulu Board of REALTORS® (HBR) points out lack of inventory with two key statistics. In April, there were 424 new single-family home listings added to the inventory, and 301 homes that closed. During the same period, 639 condos came on the market while 454 condo sales closed. HBR reported the median number of days on the market as 22 days for a single-family home and 19 days for a condo — new inventory, if it’s priced right, doesn’t stay on the market very long.
Kalama Kim, Realtor® and Principal Broker at Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties, offers his insight on what factors influenced the strong 21.9% jump in single-family sales in April.
“While it is difficult to ascertain big jumps or changes in sales, back in February (when these closed sales likely went into escrow) we did see an influx of new listings — 4% higher than the year before — which allowed buyers who have been waiting for new inventory to scoop them up and close in April,” offers Kim.
With the summer selling season still ahead, Kim has this advice for prospective sellers.
“Even the smallest repairs and improvements like painting the exterior of the home can expand the buyer pool allowing for multiple offers and possibly a higher price resulting from a bidding war.”
The number of sales — in both single-family and condos — were up from April 2014 figures. In the category of single-family homes, 301 homes closed in April, compared to 247 a year ago — a 21.9% spike.
Condo sales were up 2% —with 454 sales last month, compared to 445 sales during the same month in 2014.
While there is no crystal ball to predict the future, depleted inventory and an increase in demand, which are the market conditions most likely responsible for these surges, indicate the trend may continue. Of note: While still low, active listings of condos hit a two-year high this month — perhaps offering more choices to condo buyers.
The same market indicators keeping demand high are pushing prices higher. In April, the median sales price of a SF home was $674,900 — up 4.2% from last April’s MSP of $648,000. Condo prices were up 4.4% — from $355,000 a year ago, to $370,475 last month.
Kim explains how the uptick in prices and sales in April is unusual.
“New transactions into escrow usually slow down during the month of April because of spring break and tax season,” he says. “This year we haven’t seen that slowdown yet.”
As the median priced home inches closer and closer to the $1 million mark, it is interesting to note when inventory levels are broken down into price categories, the category with the most homes on the market today is $1 million and up.
This month’s hot markets are clustered in West Oahu.
“The Ewa Plain, Maili, Waikele, Waipio Gardens and Makakilo all offer both 100% financing for first-time homebuyers and attractive prices, which are significantly lower than other areas,” says Kim. “First-time homebuyers are also attracted to the new construction homes.”
Indeed, as of end of March, the Ewa Plain is seeing all-time high median sales price of a condominiums — $430,000; and near highs in the SF homes category at $587,000. Number of new condo listings in Makakilo is up 150% from last year, with median days on the market a sizzling 8 days! And in Waikele, the median sales price for single-family homes is up 11.6% to $653,000.
Islandwide, the neighborhoods where sellers grossed the highest percentage of their original sales price were:
Single-family: Downtown-Nuuanu 103.6%
Condo: Mililani 103.3%