BY KELLY E. LEE – I love hearing that question—the answer is constantly fluid and changing—so much to talk about. The real estate market in Hawaii is very unique and a very intriguing animal to observe. We are lucky to live in such a beautiful place that we don’t quite ever need to worry about our town being deserted because some type of industry left town and no one has a job.
Granted, we have hit some tough times with the recession, just like everyone else. I am fairly certain that the recent economic crisis has effected every city and every nation in some way. Just because we live in paradise, it does not mean we are immune to the effects of economic change, both locally and globally.
National unemployment in August 2011 was 9.1%, and in Hawaii, our unemployment rate was 6.2%, so at a glance, we are doing a little better than the national average. We have a few things that are unique because of our ideal location in the middle of the Pacific Ocean surrounded by crystal blue waters, a vibrant sea life, and warm sandy beaches.
These are things that humans tend to enjoy and we have them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Those facts cause our rare and finite land value to remain higher than most other places, and until humans no longer crave those tropical surroundings, we are likely to have a global and economic advantage.
Real estate has been quite good this summer despite debt ceiling negotiations, foreclosure moratoriums, and Wall Street revolutionaries taking to the streets in protest throughout the nation. Day to day, we are still in the business of real estate and homes are still being bought and sold.
Here are some statistics for the month in beautiful Honolulu, Hawaii:
Inventory of Homes For Sale—Inventory is Down
- -19.3% in condos from 2,311 to 1,866 units
- -14.6% in single family homes from 1,741 to 1,486 homes
That means inventory is moving and we need more homes to sell.
New Listings on the Market—Also Down
- -6.5% in condos from 572 to 535 units
- -13.9% in single family homes from 439 to 378 homes
That means inventory need to be increased to keep up with demand.
Median Sales Price—Also Down
- -4.1% in condos from $330,000 to $316,500
- -6.1% from $620,000 to $570,000
Months of Inventory Remaining From 2010 to 2011 (a healthy market is 6 months or less)
- -18% from 6.7 months to 5.5 months—condos
- -11.6% from 6.7 months to 5.9 months—single family homes
It seems that inventory is at a good range with months remaining being in the good zone. However, inventory is decreasing while prices are decreasing as well. This could be because the market is slowing towards the fall season, less sellers are putting their homes on the market, and buyers can leverage the media horror stories to leverage better pricing. Also, since selling in the holiday season is generally slower, buyers can use that to get lower pricing by getting the home into escrow prior to the seasonal downturn.
Hawaii has been having its slight ups and downs in the last few years, but activity still seems to be moving along with moderate activity and not much of a exaggerated swing in either direction. The feeling is “cautiously optimistic.”
Kelly A. Lee, (R) e-PRO, CHMS
Hawaii Life Real Estate
4614 Kilauea Avenue, Ste. 206
Honolulu, HI. 96816