Remote workers helping to fuel luxury real estate sales on Oahu, experts say

This 5-bedroom, 4-bath home along Black Point Road has 3,990 square feet of space, and is...
This 5-bedroom, 4-bath home along Black Point Road has 3,990 square feet of space, and is currently listed at $3.5 million.(Coldwell Banker Realty)
Updated: Apr. 20, 2021 at 7:01 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Over the last year, the pandemic has driven up prices of real estate on Oahu to levels never before seen.

Also seeing a boom: sales of luxury homes valued at $2 million or more.

According to data released by Coldwell Banker Realty, the first quarter of 2021 saw a 106% increase in luxury home sales compared to the same time in 2020.

Some 50 luxury homes sold last year during this first quarter, Coldwell Banker Realty said. This year, 103 were snatched up by buyers. These properties included single-family homes and luxury condominiums.

The neighborhoods leading the luxury market: Diamond Head, Kahala, Sunset, Niu Beach in East Oahu, and Kakaako.

[Read a related report: Median price of a single-family home on Oahu hits a new high: $920,000]

This sky-high surge comes after a dip in sales, experts said.

“In March 2020 when the global pandemic caused havoc throughout the world, the residential real estate industry came to a screeching halt. Many properties that were in escrow were canceled as job security, public safety, and the economy became volatile,” Patti Nakagawa, global luxury director for Coldwell Banker Realty said.

“The second quarter of 2020 worsened as travel restrictions affected foreign buyer sales, most significantly with luxury condominium sales which saw a decline of 64% with nine sales compared to 25 in 2019,” Nakagawa added.

What’s driving the sudden spike in home prices?

Some real estate agents say the pandemic proved that many jobs can be done remotely, thus more people are searching for their dream home in the middle of the Pacific.

With remote work becoming the norm for many industries, some workers also are opting for bigger homes, selling city condos for townhomes and single-family dwellings.

Of the luxury listings sold in March this year, Coldwell Banker said 31 of 50 properties sold between $2 million and $2.9 million; 13 went for $3 million to $3.9 million; and six sold above $4 million.

The agency didn’t provide the sale price of the most expensive home sold last month, but it was described as a single-family Diamond Head home with three bedrooms and three baths on 13,456 square feet of land.

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