Oahu median home price falls below $600,000

By Howard Dicus - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - October home sales on Oahu fell from year-before levels as the median price fell below $600,000, real estate agents report.

Easing prices and sales volume followed a trend across the islands, and realty officials said homes with "realistic" prices were selling rapidly while others sat.

Some 241 homes went to closing on Oahu in October, down 17% from 290 in October 2009. The median price, $595,750, was down from $620,000 in September and $604,500 a year earlier. Two years ago the median was $610,000.

Realtors said 310 condos went to closing in October, up from 300 in September but down from 394 in October 2009. Median price was flat: $300,000.

"These numbers are not surprising when you consider that last year at this time we were at the height of the first-time homebuyer tax credit frenzy, which stimulated real estate sales in what is typically a slower period in the market," said Brian Benton, president of the Honolulu Board of Realtors, in a statement Tuesday.

Benton noted that the average Oahu home is currently spending only 35 days on the market and fetches 94.4% of the initial asking price. Inventory is down: 1,472 homes, compared to 1,660 in 2009 and 2,386 in 2008.

"The Homebuyer Tax Credit program ended a few months ago, and sales continue at a slower pace," said Terry Tolman, CEO of the Realtors Association of Maui. "Inventories have declined somewhat and include many short sales... which will need to be absorbed as sales before we can move ahead to a more normal marketplace."

In Maui County, October saw 60 house closings and 71 condo closes, both down. The median home price eased to $435,000 while the condo median rose a little to $320,000.

"To be successful, sellers need to beat competing properties with better property condition, realistic pricing, good marketing and flexible, creative terms," Tolman said.

Earlier, Hawaii Information Service reported 113 home sales and 29 condos closing on the Big Island in October for median prices of $272,000 and $278,000, respectively, all down from year-before levels. Kauai had 26 house and 21 condo closings.

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