The Honolulu Board of Realtors® this week reports fewer homes sold in March than in the same month last year, as inventory levels continue to rise.

The number of new listings, months of inventory remaining, and the total number of active listings all posted double digit increases, confirming the market slowdown and giving buyers more choices across all price ranges.

“Months of remaining inventory, which measures the balance of supply and demand, has increased significantly recently up by 61%,” says Kalama Kim, Realtor and principal broker at Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties. “This means we have moved away from a sellers’ market and into a neutral market where buyers and sellers are now frequently negotiating price and terms.”

In fact, the months of remaining inventory — 3.4 months for single-family homes, and 3.6 months for condominiums — was the highest in nearly four years. The last time MRI was higher, was in June 2015 when HBR reported 3.7 months and 3.3 months respectively.

Increased inventory will spur competition among sellers to garner buyers’ attention. Studies show that home staging is one way sellers can put their best foot forward.

“As sellers face more competition, the seller and brokerage firms will need to do more to prepare, stage and market their homes for sale to stand out among the competition,” adds Kim. “Staging is done in all price ranges. Many real estate professionals are adept at staging the home with the clients’ current furnishings. Some even provide their own staging furnishings to enhancing the appeal of the property. Staging kitchens and baths can be easily done and makes a big impact.”

The median days on the market in March — meaning it took half the homes more days to sell and half the homes less days — were significantly longer. Single-family homes DOM was 24 days in March, up 71.4% from 14 days a year ago. Condominiums, which were selling in 16 DOM in March 2018, increased to 22 days last month — up 37. 5%.

“Oahu’s housing market remains healthy as the spring season begins, and there are favorable opportunities present,” says Jenny Brady, president of the Honolulu Board of Realtors. “Inventory levels have been rising steadily, offering more options at all price ranges. That, coupled with the recent decline in mortgage rates creates opportune circumstances for buyers. Partnering with a licensed Realtor® is a great first step to ease the transition from browsing to buying.”


Sales of Single-Family Homes and Condos | March 2019

Source: Honolulu Board of REALTORS®, compiled from MLS data

Single-family sales are down 9.5% — from 305 in March 2018, to 276 last month. Year-to-date, single-family closed sales are down 5.7%. Condo sales are down 3.7% — from 485 in March 2018, to 467 last month. First quarter sales volume of condominiums on Oahu are down 10.5%. Pending sales also dropped for the 15th month — down 9.6% and 6.9%, respectively.


Median Sales Price of Single-Family Homes and Condos | March 2019

Source: Honolulu Board of REALTORS®, compiled from MLS data


Despite the increase in inventory and the slowdown in closed sales, the median prices of single-family homes on the island continue to rise.

The MSP of a single-family home in March increased 3%, to $782,500 — up from $760,000 a year ago. First quarter data shows the MSP for single-family homes is up 2%. In fact, prices of single-family homes have been in positive territory for 18 of the last 20 months.

Condo prices dipped 1.4% — from $435,000 in March 2018 to $429,000 last month. After the first three months of 2019, the median price of a condo is off 3.2%.

According to Kim, the recent drop in mortgage interest rates has given wind to buyers’ sails — buyer activity has increased significantly.



Inventory is up island wide. More inventory means more to choose from, less competition from other buyers, and a more balanced market for buyers and sellers. The following is a list of neighborhoods with an increase in inventory of at least 50%.

Single-family homes in: % increase in inventory
Downtown-Nuuanu 75%
Makiki-Moiliili 58%
North Shore 71%

Condos in:
Downtown-Nuuanu 59%
Kaneohe 57%
North Shore 88%