Prospective homeowners flock to homebuyers fair

Prospective homeowners flock to homebuyers fair

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Interest in buying a home in Hawaii appears to be rising, if attendance at the annual Homebuyers and Homeowners Fair Saturday is any indication.

Lenders were on hand for prospective buyers at the event at the Ala Moana Hotel. Those buyers had been encouraged to bring in pay stubs, W-2's and other forms to pre-qualify for a mortgage and to do some shopping around for the best rates.

"It's all about getting prepared so that when you're ready to buy, you'll be ready to buy," said Dennis Oshiro of the Hawaii Homeownership Center.

Realtors and others were also on hand to provide home buyer resources and education, as well as workshops, especially for first-time homebuyers.

"When you think about it, it's probably the largest financial commitment that you're making in your entire lifetime," said Reina Miyamoto of the Hawaii Homeownership Center. "So it is scary, and it is something that you want to be educated in."

Real estate experts said there are a lot more people who are looking at buying a home for the first time, or are thinking about getting a bigger home for a growing family. One piece of evidence is the number of people who have lined up to buy into new development, especially in the Kakaako area.

"There's a demand for housing in Hawaii and there hasn't been a lot available because of the recession," said Patrick Graham, a Realtor-Associate with the Honolulu Board of Realtors.

Organizers also said there may be more people considering buying now because mortgage rates have been creeping upward, even in just the last month. "They were about three and-a-half (percent) or so last year, and they're up maybe four and-a-quarter or so this year. So it affects your buying power a little bit," said Graham. However, he added that interest rates are still favorable for buyers. "They're still historic lows, and I think it's still a good time to purchase."

Prospective homebuyers seemed to agree simply by showing up at the fair. "We actually ran out of bags, and so we had more people come than we had originally anticipated," said Miyamoto, "which is nice because we always want people to be educated before they move forward with home ownership, so this is a good forum for folks."

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