Housing Market Still Hot Despite Slow Sales

by: Mari-Ela David

HONOLULU (KHNL) - It's the season to buy and sell. Hawaii's housing market is bustling this summer, but recent numbers show home sales are actually down.

But local realtors say that doesn't mean Hawaii's housing market is in a slump. They say people are simply taking more time to shop around.

"Because they're not selling quite as fast, there's a lot more inventory on the market it gives them choices, they look a little bit longer, they also have room to negotiate," says Prudential realtor, Greg Cuadra.

With the supply of homes up, one would think demand would go down. But Cuadra says Hawaii's housing market isn't quite following basic economics.

"In Hawaii, that's the beautiful thing about our market we have money coming in from all over the world. Asia, Europe, Canada, the mainland, and here," he says.

For buyers, the international demand is pushing home prices up.

"In Hawaii, you just pay higher the price but the houses kind of small," says one potential buyer shopping at an open house in Punchbowl.

According to the Honolulu Board of Realtors, the median price of a single family home jumped $25,000 in the second quarter compared to the same time last year.

"This is Hawaii so the amount of land is finite, there's a limited amount of land so no matter what you do the prices are going to go up," says Cuadra.

While buyers are paying more for paradise, they do have more choices, which means more competition among sellers.

Data from the Honolulu Board of Realtors shows the most expensive homes on Oahu are in Diamond Head with the median price at more than $1,000,000. The cheapest homes are along the Leeward Coast with the median price at $375,000.