Oahu's hot housing market hits Kalihi, and home prices surge

Oahu's hot housing market hits Kalihi, and home prices surge
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

KALIHI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Prospective homebuyers on Oahu are scrambling to find single-family homes in their price ranges, that's driving up competition in Kalihi-Palama.

The median price for a single-family home in the traditionally working place neighborhood jumped 20 percent last month to $772,500, according to the Honolulu Board of Realtors. That's more than $22,000 higher than the median sales price for Oahu.

Meanwhile, the median price for condos shot up to $444,000, a 43 percent increase from 2015.

And total sales of both single-family homes and condominiums in the traditionally working place community doubled in the past year.

"Of the people that purchased last month, on average, they paid more than the list price. They paid more than what the seller was asking for," said Kalama Kim, president of the Honolulu Board of Realtors.

Kim said buyers are attracted to the convenient location and relatively affordable housing.

"It's only a few exits from downtown Honolulu so you can get there very quickly. Another trend could be renovations and improvements of the property," he said.

Former state lawmaker Dennis Arakaki has lived in the Kalihi-Palama area for more than 60 years.

He said the community is welcoming the new neighbors.

"Although it's got a bad reputation, people here are really nice. They're friendly," he said. "One of the good things that people are starting to realize, and I think it's because of the traffic congestion, is it's so convenient."

Last month, single-family homes in Kalihi-Palama sold in 11 days on average, while condominiums were only on the market for an average of seven days.

"Sellers are enjoying the leverage because they're seeing multiple offers. They're getting those multiple offers because buyers are enjoying the low mortgage interest rates just above 3 percent," Kim said.

Arakaki, though, says the surging home prices in Kalihi-Palama are also a red flag. He worries more families will move to the mainland because they're priced out of paradise.

"We're fortunate because parents like ourselves try to help our children. But for those who don't have that kind of support, I don't see how you could do it," he said.

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