Friday, March 03, 2006

Oahu Real Estate Cycle is "Pau"

Each of Honolulu's dailies reports today on the changing state of real estate sales on Oahu.

From the Advertiser:

O'ahu's housing market mellowed further last month as fewer people bought homes at prices that reached a record high for condominiums but were little changed for single-family homes.


The Honolulu Board of Realtors, which released the sales data, said the number of transactions declined 7 percent. There were 248 single-family homes sold last month compared with 266 a year earlier, and 487 condo sales compared with 525 in the same period.

The broad softening of the market is particularly being influenced by a flood of properties put on the market by sellers, some of whom perceive the price peak is near and want to get top dollar.

And from the Star-Bulletin:

The last time Oahu had this much inventory was in March 2003, Riggins said. There is a 5.3-month supply of single-family homes and a 4.4-month supply of condominiums remaining for sale.

The buildup in inventory and slowdown in the market is "absolutely incredible news" for a buyer, Riggins said.

"We're in the zone," Brewbaker said, forecasting that median home prices on Oahu, Maui and Kauai will soon start to echo those in California's now cooling markets.

Three out of five of California's top markets, including Silicon Valley, San Francisco and Orange County, have gone flat, with median prices staying in the $710,000-to-$730,000 range, he said.

"I always say that Hawaii is the western edge of Orange County," Brewbaker said.

"Frankly, the market is just not that good," said John Riggins, owner of John Riggins Real Estate. "The economy is doing very well, but the market is taking a rest. The consumer needs time to rethink and adjust to the higher prices and higher interest rates."

I wondered how long it would be until MSM and realtors could no longer pretend that real estate has nowhere to go but up.


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