The most recent Case-Schiller report on home prices in major cities showed that median prices in most cities have risen from year-before levels - New York is still falling - but most cities are still far below their highest medians.
Honolulu prices are stronger, according to economist Paul Brewbaker.
"Honolulu median single-family home prices peaked around $650,000 three years ago," he said. "And the trough was in May 2009 around $550,000, and the February 2010 figure was about $600,000, all on a seasonally adjusted basis."
Since $50,000 goes into $600,000 twelve times, this means the median price would have to go up by a twelfth to regain peak. Median prices in Los Angeles and San Francisco, by contrast, are fully one third below peak, while Las Vegas and Phoenix home prices would have to double to regain their highest levels.
Bill Chee, head of Prudential Locations, says the big difference between there and here is that those locations have oversupplies of housing inventory while Hawaii has a perennial housing shortage. Chee cautions, however, that housing price trends vary a lot from one neighborhood to the next.