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Oʻahu's Housing Market on Hot Streak, Home Prices Continue to Rise

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Oʻahu home sales are down, but prices continue to rise. That's according to the latest report from the Honolulu Board of REALTORS, highlighting the housing market for the month of June.

Last month, 451 single-family homes were sold on Oʻahu, with a median sales price of $979,000. There was a significant uptick in condominium sales: 730 units sold with a median price of $460,000.

Honolulu Board of REALTORS president Shannon Heaven says the average time a property spends on the market is also low, at just eight days.

"Right now, we're seeing eight days because we're letting buyers have six, seven days of viewing time to get into seeing the property. And then a day to collect offers," she said.

The current trend is driven by three things: a very low interest rate, pent-up buyer demand, and Hawaiʻi's low housing inventory.

"We just do not have enough houses to put people in," she said. "I think that's not just something that's happened from the pandemic. This is something that we've been talking about for quite some time—that our inventory is behind what we need to put roofs over peoples head."

Heaven says more single-family homes need to be built, to not only build up an inventory but to meet the demand that is out there.

According to the board, the trend of properties selling over the asking price continues. Just over 57% of single-family homes and 32.9% of condos closed above the original asking price.

But this pent-up demand isn't only happening in Hawaiʻi, it's also occurring across the country.

Heaven says she anticipates a strong, competitive market to continue in the coming months. But she doesn't believe there will be an immediate surge in inventory when the state's eviction moratorium lapses.

But when it does lift, she believes rental property owners are either going to get new tenants that will pay, or choose to sell.

"If they choose to sell the property, that's because it has been so difficult for them not getting rent over the past year and a half," she said. "I think that even with that influx of properties coming on the market, that is just going to get eaten up."

But Heaven says potential buyers shouldn't be discouraged by the current trend.

She advises people to be prepared with their paperwork, be in constant communication with their real estate agent, and to have a little bit of "thick skin."

"You might have to go through the offer process a few times before you get a property. I've put in like ten offers for a particular buyer, and so they got the house they finally want in the end," she said.

The report also highlighted regions that saw a substantial uptick in home sales.

Year-to-date, Diamond Head and metro Honolulu went up 84.4% and 76.2%, respectively. The metro region covers Mapunapuna and Kalihi all the way through Waikīkī and Moiliili. The Ewa region also saw a 60.2% increase in sales.

Casey Harlow is an HPR reporter and occasionally fills in as local host of Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Contact him at charlow@hawaiipublicradio.org or on Twitter (@CaseyHarlow).
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