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Housing market features low inventory, high luxury sales

Catherine Cruz

Median sale prices for single-family homes and condominiums on O’ahu hit record highs in March.

Single-family homes are up to a record $1.5 million and condos are up to $515,500, according to the Honolulu Board of Realtors.

Honolulu Board of Realtors President Chad Takesue said more homes in the luxury market are currently being sold than affordable houses which pushes the overall sales prices up.

“Because of the cost-inventory constraints, our inventory levels are just at historic lows (which is) coupled with really strong demand for housing,” Takesue said. “We've been seeing this since 2020, especially after the initial COVID pandemic. We’re seeing that kind of relationship between low inventory and high demand really take heed all the way through last year, continuing into this year as well.”

Median sale prices are up across the state, too, even as fewer home sales are going through.

On Maui, the median price of a single-family home is about $1.15 million, while condos are priced around $750,000, according to Title Guarantee Hawai’i.

The median single-family price on Kaua’i is about $1.23 million. The median price for condominiums is about $568,750.

Hawai’i Island has the lowest single-family median in the state at $515,500. Condo median prices, however, largely reflect statewide numbers at $650,000.

As the prices for single-family homes are often out of reach, homebuyers are choosing the condo market instead, Takesue noted.

“We're seeing the condo market pick up as we anticipate,” Takesue said. “When the price of a single-family home gets to a certain price threshold, coupled with rising interest rates – which we've seen in the first quarter of this year – that makes the affordability more challenging for the average buyer.”

Hawai’i, and O’ahu specifically, is facing several headwinds, as Takesue called them, including supply chain issues, ramifications of the Red Hill water crisis and global fallout from the ongoing war in Ukraine.

“We always tell our consumers that knowing those headwinds, it’s good to see how you can contribute (like conserving water),” Takesue said. “What can we do in your respective area to increase the housing supply?”

Sabrina Bodon was Hawaiʻi Public Radio's government reporter.
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