Home, condo sales up on Kauai and Big Island
By Allison Schaefers
POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Feb 06, 2010
Sales of single-family homes and condominiums on Kauai and the Big Island posted triple and double-digit increases last month as buyers pursued bargains.
Prices were mostly lower.
While Oahu’s housing market experienced a double-digit rise in single-family home sales and the median price last month, the neighbor islands still have farther to go, said Howard Dinits, a Realtor with RE/MAX Resort Realty in Waimea whose specialty is Maui and the Big Island.
“Oahu has already stabilized, but the outer islands still have no jobs and that hurts,” he said. “Furlough Fridays have hurt, too.”
In January, 31 single-family homes changed hands on Kauai, which represented a 210 percent increase from the prior year’s sales. Likewise, condominium sales doubled to 14, a 100 percent rise last month.
Despite the run-up in Kauai sales, home prices continued to drop last month. More than half of the Kauai buyers in January paid at least $375,000 for a house, which represented a nearly 20 percent decline. Likewise, the median price paid for a Kauai condominium fell 19.5 percent to $204,500.
More Canadians than ever are looking for Kauai properties, said Phil Fudge, principal broker at Kapaa-based Kauai Landmark Realty.
“We had about five Canadian buyers come through in the last month,” Fudge said. “Their economy isn’t as sluggish as ours, and their dollar is in a good position.”
It was a similar story on the Big Island, which saw single-family home sales increase nearly 69 percent to 86 and condominium sales rise nearly 63 percent to 26.
The median price paid for a single-family home on the Big Island fell about 9 percent to $239,250; however, the median condominium price increased about 21 percent to $245,000.
Bargain hunters from Oahu, Alaska, the U.S. West Coast and Canada are eyeing the neighbor islands, Dinits said.
“They like the low prices and the chance to get away from the cold,” he said.
Local buyers also are capitalizing on low prices, favorable interest rates and the tax credits that are available to qualifying first-time buyers and owner-occupants, he said.
“Our volume is up. I’ve closed nine sales on the Big Island and Maui this year,” Dinits said. “But I wouldn’t say that prices are appreciating yet.”
Big Island buyers are getting more serious, said Paula Beamer, a Realtor with Clark Realty’s Waimea office.
“Some of them feel we are at the bottom,” she said. “Getting a loan is a little tricky, but if you can get one, some of the prices are back to 2004 levels.”
There are plenty of lookers in Kauai’s market but fewer investor-buyers, Fudge said. “Our tourism has been down, and they want to see potential renters,” he said.