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Median Home Prices Near $1M Amid Buying Frenzy

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Median home prices are nipping at the $1 million mark amid a pandemic buying frenzy, according to Pacific Business News editor A. Kam Napier.

Last year, a Pacific Business News roundtable of residential real estate executives found an industry uncertain about the future.

Coronavirus shutdowns had begun, sales dropped off, and real estate offices began shedding staff and expenses, preparing for the worst.

This year’s roundtable found an industry that in some ways had been busier than ever.

The second quarter of 2020 had indeed been slow, with the number of sales declining in the double-digits.

However, low interest rates and financial worries among homeowners had people refinancing their mortgages in droves.

Keri Shepherd, area manager at HomeBridge Financial in Honolulu, said if you didn’t have a record year in mortgages, you just weren’t trying.

On the sales side, volume was down, but sale prices up. This was due to, again, low interest rates but also record low inventory.

At any one point, there were no more than 500 homes listed for sale on Oahu in 2020.

Scott Bradley, president of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Hawaii Realty, called it the biggest inventory drop he’s seen in 37 years in the business.

The buying frenzy for what little is on the market has pushed prices up. The median home price on Oahu set records in February and March this year, edging toward $1 million.

Home buyers are now turning to the condo market, where there is more selection and lower prices. On Oahu, the number of condo sales in March was up nearly 53% over last March.

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