Friday, September 24, 2010

US Home Sales Rise in August

According to the National Association of Realtors, existing-home sales rose in August following a big correction in July. Existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 7.6% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.13 million in August from an upwardly revised 3.84 million in July, but remain 19.0% below the 5.10 million-unit pace in August 2009.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said home sales still remain below expectations. "The housing market is trying to recover on its own power without the home buyer tax credit. Despite very attractive affordability conditions, a housing market recovery will likely be slow and gradual because of lingering economic uncertainty," Yun said. He added, "Home values have shown stabilizing trends over the past year, even as the economy shed millions of jobs, because of the home buyer tax credit stimulus. Now that the economy is adding some jobs, the housing market needs to steadily improve and eventually stand on its own."

First-time buyers purchased 31% of homes in August, down from 38% in July. Investors rose to a 21% market share in August from 19% in July; the balance of purchases were by repeat buyers. All-cash sales slipped to 28% in August from 30 percent in July.

Figures for the Hawaii Kai real estate market in August were very positive. Call or email me to look at some properties, while the rates remain at historic lows.

Barbara Abe, Realtor


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Hawaii Kai Planned Development in Kalama Valley

On my web site in July, Hawaii Kai Local News, I reported on the proposed development in Kalama Valley, just over the hill from the main center of Hawaii Kai, of 26 duplex units near the Hawaii Kai Golf Course.

The Honolulu Dept. of Planning and Permitting this last week approved a cluster housing permit for the 26 homes. As designed, the homes would be 1,600 - 1,900 SF constructed in one duplex and 6 4-plex buildings up to 24' high. On an included half acre, developers would build a recreational facility with a pool.

The developer is Pololei Partners LLC, a company formed in 2007 and managed by James McWhorter of Orem, UT. The 2.9 acres of land is owned by Plate Lunch Properties LLC, managed by Bob Gerell and Bill McCorriston. According to the Staradvertiser, Gerell has developed other Oahu projects, including Aloha Tower Marketplace, Enchanted Lake Center, and Maunakea Marketplace.

The paper reports, "In recent years much of Gerell's work has been in Hawaii Kai, sometimes acquiring land and obtaining entitlements then selling the project to another developer for completion. The 60-home Kaluanui subdivision and 35 homes across from Safeway in Hawaii Kai were built this way. Gerell, along with McCorriston, was also involved with a now-stalled plan for a Hawaii Kai cemetery, and a derailed plan to build 180 vacation cabins and recreational facilities on the hills above Hawaii Kai Golf Course and Kalama Valley."

Not all Hawaii Kai residents are enthusiastic about the increased density. Community opposition to any development there dates back to the 1980s, when the land was scheduled as an extension of Hawaii Kai Drive running by Queen's Beach and including hotel and condos in addition to the golf course. This uproar eventually led to the preservation of Queen's Beach and the Ka Iwi Coast, recently confirmed by Gov. Lingle. The proposed project borders 9+ homes which have enjoyed scenic views of the golf course for many years, and which would loose that view.

In its decision, the Dept. of Planning and Permitting branch showed no concern over the development, regarding it as "in-fill development encouraged by the city's East Honolulu Sustainable Communities Plan. The city in its approval subjected the project to several conditions, including increasing the space between buildings to better maintain the character of the neighborhood and provide more mauka-makai views," as explained by the Staradvertiser (see their article for a map of the area.)

If you have an opinion on this development, contact your Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board representative, or the Department, or even the mayor's office to find out what will be the next step in the approval process.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Monday, September 6, 2010

Hawaii Kai Home Sales, August, 2010

Real Estate sales in Hawaii Kai in August continued the upward price trend of the last few months. Nothing is really more graphic than this chart provided by Altos Research (on my web site, Market News page) showing Honolulu:

Prices for HONOLULU


In August, 2009, 18 condo sales ranged from $378,000 (9th Floor, Commodore, 2/2) to $740,000 (3/2, waterfront, Kala Kai Marina).

In August, 2010, 15 condo sales posted a low of $365,000 (16th Floor, Heritage House, 2/2) to $1,030,000 (marinafront, Kalele Kai, 3/2.5).

Kalele Kai, the prestigious complex in West Marina, has not seen a sale over $870,000 in the last year. This complex routinely commands the highest sales prices of condos in Hawaii Kai. So it is significant that this home - oversized at 2210 SF interior with 674 SF wrap-around lanai - broke the million mark again.

Single Family home sales also show significant price increases.

15 sales in August, 2009 ranged from $550,000 in Koko Head Terrace (4/2/2, 1904 SF) to $1,135,000 in Triangle (4/3, 2,005 SF, lot 10,822 SF).

This year, in August, 2010, 21 sales ran from $517,000 in Kalama Valley (attached home, 3/2, 3,914 SF lot, 1,252 SF home) to 2 sales at $2,700,000. One was a beautiful view home in Koko Kai, 5 bedrooms/4.5 baths, 4,859 SF interior, 21,818 SF lot. The other was an oceanfront in Portlock, on a 17,515 SF lot, built 1944.

With the economy still struggling, no Realtor can say with assurance that we've turned the corner. But prices have undeniably increased in the last 12 months in Hawaii Kai. Good news for sellers - if you are a buyer, contact me now to start looking at homes for sale in Hawaii Kai.

Barbara Abe, Realtor