Going into the holidays, record prices, demand, still high

As 2014 winds down, the median price for a single-family home shows no sign of dropping off as Oahu sales reached another record high.

The Honolulu Board of REALTORS® notes that sales volume in November was down, meaning a fewer number of homes closed, as compared with November 2013. But interesting to note, there was a higher volume of high-end sales, which may explain the significant jump in prices — shattering the $700,000 mark at $719,500.

With Jack Frost nipping at their noses, the holiday home-buying season on the mainland tends to slow, but this is not typically the case for Hawaii real estate activity, according to Patti Nakagawa, REALTOR®, Branch Manager and Vice President at Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties.

“December normally has a lower level of escrows, listings taken and closings compared to other months,” Nakagawa says. “People are generally busier during the holidays with shopping and activities. However, we often see cash offers in December with short escrows to close before the end of the year. Homes for sale look dressed up during the holidays, with lights and décor, creating a feeling of festivity.”

Kalama Kim, REALTOR® and Branch Manager at Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties, agrees. He says it’s a myth that nobody buys during the holiday season.

“Last December, there were 418 pending home sales and 518 pending condo sales,” states Kim. “Less buyers to compete with when making an offer allows the buyer to have more leverage in negotiating offer terms and price. Interest rates have also decreased again making it more attractive for buyers to find a home and lock in their low interest rate to save money.”

“Sellers who list in December will have a head start before the many sellers who are waiting until the beginning of the year to list,” says Nakagawa.

And Kim reminds buyers to ask the listing agent if there are other competitive bids coming in from other buyers on the property.

“Don’t assume you’re competing with other offers on a property,” says Kim. “If you are not competing, you know you can offer a lower price and negotiate back and forth to obtain more favorable terms.”

Sales of Single Family Homes and Condos | November 2014
Source: Honolulu Board of REALTORS®, compiled from MLS data


The number of listings that closed in November as compared to a year ago is down for both single-family homes and condos. Down 24% in the single-family homes segment — from 296 in November of 2013 to 225 last month, and down 10% in the condo segment — from 407 to 363.

But according to the Honolulu Board of REALTORS®, while demand for homes continues to outpace current inventory levels, the inventory of homes selling for $550,000 or less has dwindled dramatically. Indeed, 171 of the 225 single-family homes that sold in November were priced above $550,000 — and 56 of those went for $1 million or more.

 Median Sales Price of Single Family Homes and Condos | November 2014
Source: Honolulu Board of REALTORS®, compiled from MLS data

It is the prices, again, making headlines this month. Single-family home prices not only finally broke the $700,000 mark; they hit $719,500 —significantly up from last November’s median of $684,000. Condo prices have been steadier this year, with the high of $360,000 in June. In November, the median price of a condo on Oahu was $343,000 — up 3.9% from last year’s $330,000.

How are the year-to-date median prices trending? In 2013, the median sale price of a single-family home was $650,000 and a condo was $332,000. Year-to-date numbers, with one month to go are $675,000 and $350,000 respectively — on track for another record year!


This month’s hottest markets include neighborhoods where sellers received 100% (or more) of their original asking price. Note: Makiki-Moiliili made both lists!

Single-family hot markets include:

  • Ala Moana-Kakaako: 100%
  • Kalihi-Palama: 105.9%
  • Makiki-Moiliili: 109.1%

Hot condo markets include:

  • Ewa Plain: 100%
  • Hawaii Kai: 101.9%
  • Makiki-Moiliili: 100%
  • Moanalua-Salt Lake: 100.7%

Neighborhoods with median sales prices $1 million and up deserve to be called out as well as being hot!

  • Aina Haina-Kuliouou: $2,679,000
  • Hawaii Kai: $1,000,000
  • Makiki-Moiliili: $1,200,000
  • North Shore: $1,030,000
  • Waialae-Kahala: $1,984,000

Aina Haina’s MSP of $2,679,000 is a two-year high, as is Makiki-Moiliili’s median price for a condo of $375,000 and Waikiki’s condo MSP of $365,000.