David's Real Estate Blog | Dispatches from Diamond Head

Latest real estate news and articles from David E. Buck, Realtor-Broker

April 21, 2016

March Oahu Home Sales 21% Higher than 2015

The residential resale market on Oahu was on fire last month with home sales up 21.7% and condo sales up 21.8%, respectively.

March Sales Stats on Oahu

Infographic of March (2016) Sales on Oahu Courtesy of the Honolulu Board of Realtors

Single Family Home Stats


In March of last year, there were 244 homes that sold on the island. This year there was 297, which represents a 21.7% increase! Our market is really showing some resiliency. Although sales are up, prices aren’t shooting to the moon. There’s no doubt buyers are paying more than this time last year, however, the increase was only 3.6% to finish up at $725,000.

Ocean Pointe Home for $725,000

This Ocean Pointe home (MLS# 201606550) is listed at March’s median price of $725,000

There’s also been less triggering on the higher end of the market, which can be reflected in that our average sales price actually dropped 8.9% from last year. My suspicion is one of the contributing factors was seeing less foreign investment with the stronger U.S. Dollar. It’s been a healthy market nonetheless for sellers as the median days on market was still just 18 days!

Condo Sales Stats

The condo market was even more on fire with sales up 21.8% and 491 closings compared to only 403 last year. The increase in price on the other hand was only up 1.3% from 2015 to a median of $385,000.

Waikele Condo for $425,000

Highlands at Waikele Condo (MLS# 201605766) listed for March’s median price of $385,000

The condo market wasn’t affected as much on the high end as the average sales price was only off 1% from last year. Similar to homes though, they sure weren’t lasting long with the median days on market at only 19 days.

Seller’s Market – Months of Remaining Inventory

According to the National Association of Realtors, anything less than 6 months of remaining inventory is considered a “Seller’s Market.” March was the lowest number we’ve seen in years with just 2.1 months for homes and 2.3 months for condos. Although prices aren’t up drastically from last year, homes (and condos) are selling really fast! If you’re thinking about selling, feel free to contact me about our Smart Marketing and Solid Representation.

As always, all real estate is local. Here are the neighborhoods on Oahu that were hot for sellers and buyers in March:

Neighborhoods “Hot” for Sellers

  • Home sales in Kalihi-Palama were up 175%
  • Home prices on the North Shore were up 47%
  • Condo sales on the North Shore were up 600%
  • Condo prices in Ala Moana-Kakaako were up 37%

Neighborhoods “Hot” for Buyers

  • Home sales in Moanalua-Salt Lake were down 67%
  • Home prices on the Waialae-Kahala were down 27%
  • Condo sales in Wahiawa were down 33%
  • Condo prices in Waialae-Kahala were down 18%

What’s Happening in Your Neighborhood?

Please consider these are broad overviews for regions on Oahu. To find out what is happening in your specific neighborhood (or street for that matter), feel free to contact me for more information.

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March 20, 2016

Price Slashed on Marks Estate in Nuuanu

Over the weekend, we just reduced the price of the Marks Estate in Nuuanu to $4,599,000. This is over a $1 million reduction since we’ve hit the market last year at $5,643,000. We’ve since been in escrow 3 times, some of which were higher than the original asking price. Please keep in mind, this property was listed as high as $11,750,000 at the bottom of the market in 2010.

This Nuuanu Estate (MLS# 201601765) is now only $4,599,000

Today’s current asking price is a steal and here are 5 reasons why:

1. Land Value

Where else can you find 4.7 acres of residentially zoned property in Honolulu? Not much, correct? Some of the only few that come to mind are the Doris Duke Estate in Diamond Head or the Kaiser Estate in Portlock. Those are both oceanfront and would sell well north of $30-40 million if they were on the market today.

2. Replacement Costs

On tax records, there’s over 13,000 sq. ft. of improvements. To build anything somewhat “luxury” today, you’re looking at $400+ per sq. ft. In other words, to build this today would cost north of $5,200,000! That’s not including the land…Granted this home needs some TLC, however, the materials (which I won’t get into here) are over the top.

3. Comparable Sales in Nuuanu

3019 Old Pali Road – Just prior to coming on the market, a home up the street was 8,676 sq. ft. and sat on a property just under 1 acre. They were asking $3,975,000 and sold for $3,700,000. Only factoring improvements (we won’t even get into how ours has 3.7 acres more of land), this home sold for $426/sq. ft. We’re now priced at only $345/sq. ft., or a 19% discount.

187 Dowsett Avenue – While we were in our last escrow (which unfortunately dragged on for several months), this home on Dowsett went under contract and sold. It was a much more modest 6,735 sq. ft. of interior and sat on 3.7 acres (1 acre smaller than ours). They were asking $7,275,000 and ultimately sold for $6,450,000. Although it was in better condition, it was smaller and the property taxes ran almost $3,000/mo – which leads me to my next reason why we are a steal…

4. Low Property Taxes

Since this property sits on the City and County of Honolulu’s Historic Registry, one of the beauties is the annual property taxes are only $300 per year.

Historic Marks Estate Residence

Placard fronting the property designating the Historic Residence

5. Deal Compared to Everything Else Around $4.5-5 Million

If you’re in the market with $4.5-5 million to spend, you can arguably get something with a better view. However, when comparing to the inventory out there in this price range, this is a steal. Since I’ve had this listing, a little (new) home on my street in Diamond Head that sat on only a 5,500 sq. ft. lot sold for $4.8 million. In addition, there are dozens of 2 bed condos under contract at Park Lane and Waiea in this price range. That doesn’t even include the resales available at buildings such as Hokua, Trump Waikiki, and others.

More Information on this Nuuanu Treasure

This is one of those opportunities that doesn’t come around that often. I have a feeling many are going to regret passing this up looking back a few years down the road. If you’re a serious qualified buyer in the market for something truly special in Honolulu, feel free to contact me for more information.

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March 16, 2016

Last Batch of Developer Units at the Ilikai

Nearly a year ago I wrote an article about how there were only 15 developer units left at the Ilikai. That was actually the "top floor block" of the 22nd-25th floors. Now the final block has been released which is the 2nd floor, where you have larger lanais. There's been a delay in the launch, however this batch is ready to go now and awaiting new owners! Here's the price list and floor plans:

Ilikai Devloper Price List

Developer Price List

Ilikai 2nd Floor Layout and Floor Plans

Floor plans

The developer is taking offers through the end of this month, so if you're interested in getting your hands on a fully remodeled, turn key unit at the world famous Ilikai, feel free to contact us for more information.

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Jan. 28, 2016

Mahalo for Your Business in 2015

Thank you for our success in Real Estate.  We could not have done it without you!

Colony Surf in January 15 Ilikai Feb 9th Coconut Plantation February 24 Regency Park February 27th

Moana Pacific March 27th Makaha May 5th Diamond Head May 7th Hawaii Kai May 20th

Nuuanu May 26th Hoakalei June 3rd Kuapa Isle June 8th Palo Alto August 14th

Waikiki Shore August 18th Kahala Kua August 19th Diamond Head Sands August 24th Anchorage September 9th

2987 Kalakaua October 6th Kuapa Isle October 8th Castle Surf December 12th       Hawaii Life

The properties above represent the wonderful people we were able to work with and successfully purchase or sell in 2015. THANK YOU for contributing to our success in Real Estate!

We are very appreciative for our great clients and network of friends and colleagues who have done business with us and referred our services to others.  As a result, our business continues to grow! 

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Sept. 13, 2015

Recent Market Activity in Kahala Kua

Over the past month we have listed and sold a home in Kahala Kua, which is one of east Oahu's exclusive gated communities. Considering there's been very little inventory selling there over the years, it really says a lot.

Kahala Kua Just Sold

Recent Kahala Kua sale where we represented the Buyer

Since there is only a little over 120 homes in this gated community, there isn't a whole lot of turnover each year. Since 2008, there have only been anywhere from 1-4 home sales per year.

Kahala Kua Home Sale per Year

Home Sales in Kahala Kua over the past 10 years

So far in 2015 YTD, there have only been 2 sales, 1 in escrow and another listing. We're directly a part of half of those:

  • April 17, 2015 - 5439 Kuaola St. Sold for $1,410,000
  • July 22, 2015 - 5328 Kahalakua St. Listed for $1,678,900 (In Escrow)
  • August 14, 2015 - 5257 Kuaiwi Pl. Listed for $1,728,000 - We Represent the Seller
  • August 19, 2015 - 5209 Kuaiwi Pl. Sold for $1,328,000 - We Represented Buyer

Entering 5257 Kuaiwi Place

5257 Kuaiwi Place (MLS # 2015141568) we have listed for $1,728,000

On 5209 Kuaiwi, we got a client a great buy! The home was originally listed for $1,895,000 earlier this year. The appraisal also came in much higher that the sales price. On 5257 Kuaiwi, we've got it at a great price considering the home on Kahalakua St. went into escrow very quick. In addition, both sales in the neighborhood in 2014 went over $2 million.

Kahala Kua Sales Prices from 2005-2014

Average sales price in Kahala Kua over the past 10 years

To learn more about this exclusive neighborhood, contact us for more information. 


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May 6, 2015

Only 15 Developer Units Left at the Ilikai

This evening I attended a special Cinco De Mayo Brokers Open at the Ilikai in Waikiki. This great building has come full circle out of the recession and come back even stronger than before.

Welcome to the Ilikai

The Ilikai is an Iconic Building in Waikiki that recently celebrated it's 50th Anniversary

It's been over 5 years since I wrote an article about Ilikai condos selling for bargain prices. After the foreclosure, iStar took the block of units back went through a complete renovation. This past fall, the started selling the block of units they had on the 22nd-25th floors. I've been fortunate enough to bring in several buyers during this period. After a flurry of activity, heaps of Buyers have been snapping them up. Unlike the bottom of the market when banks weren't lending on the project, today a handful are and roughly 30% of the recent sales have had financing. Here's what is remaining as of earlier today:

Remaining Ilikai Developer Units

Remaining developer units as of May 5, 2015

By this evening, roughly only 15 were left. Just prior to getting there this afternoon, one of the featured marina facing units (2510) asking $1.7 million went under contract! Now is the time to pick up one of these units before they are gone. These units can be placed in the hotel pool with Aqua Hotels and Resorts and they have a few programs available to owners. Some even offer guaranteed income! I know my clients have been happy thus far. Here's a general floor plan to give you a better idea of where the units are located:

Ilikai Floor Plan

Iliaki floor plan on floors 22-25

To learn more about what's for sale at the Ilikai (both in this block of units and the others below), feel free to contact us for more information.

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March 6, 2015

Fee Available for Purchase at Executive Centre

Executive Centre is a mixed use condominium building in Downtown Honolulu. It has nearly forever been known as a Leasehold Building, with the land lease owned by Kamehameha Schools. Well, that is no longer the case!

Executive Centre Now Available as Fee Simple

Executive Centre units now available for Fee Simple through the AOAO

Late last year, the AOAO announced to the homeowners that they have quietly negotiated the purchase of the Fee interest from Kamehameha Schools for $74,981,138.71. They are now passing that opportunity along to the owners to purchase their interests individually. Here's a breakdown of the prices as of November, 2014:

Executive Centre Fee Purchase Info. Page 1

Executive Centre Fee Purchase Page 2

Executive Centre Fee Purchase Page 3

Executive Centre Fee Purchase Page 4

Going Forward

While nobody can predict the future, my guess is these units will significantly increase (over time). If history repeats itself, the combined values of the Leasehold + the Fee Simple Interest with be worth even more than the sum of its parts in the years to come. To learn more about purchasing or selling a unit at Executive Centre, feel free to contact us for more info.

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Feb. 9, 2015

Castle Surf One of the Best Values on the Gold Coast

Castle Surf is one of the best values on the Gold Coast and can often be seen as a sleeper of a building. 

Castle Surf on the Gold Coast at Diamond Head

Castle Surf is directly across the fountain at Diamond Head

With only 38 units, seldom do they come up for sale. With covered parking, low maintenance fees and a 30 day rental minimum the building has a lot going for it others do not on the Gold Coast. It's also a condo vs. a co-op, so it's easier to get financing.

Recent Sales

Over the past 6 months, there have been two 1 Bedroom unit sales:

  • September 11, 2014 Castle Surf #28 Sold for $759,000
  • October 29, 2014 Castle Surf #48 Sold for $855,000

The building is numbered starting with units on the ocean being the '01 stack working back towards the street to the '09 stack. Both units were one off the street.

New Opportunity

I'm proud to announce I've recently listed Castle Surf #23. It was completely remodeled in 2009 and is only 2 units back from the ocean.

Castle Surf #23

Castle Surf #23 (MLS # 201423279) just 2 back from the ocean is priced under $800,000

Castle Surf #23 Living Area

Castle Surf Remodeled KitchenCastle Surf #23 Remodeled Bathroom

Completely Remodeled in 2009 with New Kitchen and Bathroom

Castle Surf #23 Spacious Living

Castle Surf #23 Walk in ClosetCastle Surf #23 Bedroom

Spacious living, walk in closet and ability to partition the bedroom from the living area

Oceanfront Living

I saved the best for last. Castle Surf is an oceanfront building at the foot of Diamond Head on the Gold Coast. You could not ask for a better location on Oahu. Imagine coming home to his out your back door....

Oceanfront Deck at Castle Surf

Gold Coast View from Castle SurfBeach fronting Castle Surf

To learn more about this or other Diamond Head Condos, feel free to contact us for more information.

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Jan. 29, 2015

2014 Oahu Luxury Housing Market Recap

Luxury Home Sales in 2014

Luxury single family home sales on Oahu in 2014 were lower in the upper echelon when compared to 2013, which saw 7 sales over $10 million. 2014 had just 3. 2013 also had a higher standard where $6.2 million was necessary to be in the top 10. This past year took only $5.5 million to reach the top. What was also unique is not only did the neighborhood of Kai Nani make the list, it finished off the year with the highest sale at $17 million! In addition, Lanikai had 4 of the top 10. Here's a summary of the top 10 luxury home sales on Oahu in 2014:

  1. 1025 Kaimoku Place Sold on November 26, 2014 for $17,000,000
  2. 5415/5435 Kalanianaole Hwy. Sold on September 8, 2014 for $13,500,000
  3. 974 Mokulua Dr. Sold on June 10, 2014 for $11,845,000
  4. 572C N. Kalaheo Ave. Sold on November 7, 2014 for $9,500,000
  5. 1562 Mokulua Dr. Sold on February 6, 2014 for $9,350,000
  6. 3157 Noela Dr. Sold on June 30, 2014 for $7,650,000
  7. 4447 Kahala Ave. Sold on November 26, 2014 for $7,300,000
  8. 1226 Mokulua Dr. Sold on October 14, 2014 for $6,800,000
  9. 637 Pana Pl. Sold on July 3, 2014 for $6,000,000
  10. 1456 Mokulua Dr. Sold on December 12, 2014 for $5,500,000

Top 10 Luxury Home Sales on Oahu in 2014

Luxury Condo Sales in 2014

On the condo front, the bar was raised in 2014 as $3 million was the prerequisite to make the top 10 list. However, the highest sale of the year was for $4,650,000 at Waikiki Beach Tower. This was far less than 2013's Diamond Head sale for $7.5 million. Here's a summary of the top 10 luxury condo sales on Oahu in 2014:

  1. Waikiki Beach Tower #PH3901/3902 Sold on April 14, 2014 for $4,650,000
  2. Hokua #32D Sold on February 18, 2014 for $4,300,000
  3. Hokua #20D Sold on September 8, 2014 for $4,288,000
  4. 3003 Kalakaua #6B Sold on March 14, 2014 for $4,250,000
  5. 3019 Kalakaua #5 Sold on February 27, 2014 for $4,200,000
  6. Diamond Head Apts #1001 Sold on June 27, 2014 for $3,788,888
  7. The Watermark #3405 Sold on May 15, 2014 for $3,500,000
  8. Hokua #24A Sold on October 14, 2014 for $3,190,000
  9. Hokua #26E Sold on July 29, 2014 for $3,150,000
  10. Colony Beach #8 Sold on June 10, 2014 for $3,140,000

Top 10 Luxury Condos Sales on Oahu in 2014

Unlike the previous year where Waikiki held 6 of the top 10 spots, this year saw Diamond Head and Kakaako each have 4 sales in the top 10 and Waikiki had 2. As a lot of the new projects trigger in Ala Moana, Kakaako and Waikiki over the next few years, I expect these numbers to change.

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Jan. 16, 2015

Thank You for Your Business in 2014

Thank you for our success in Real Estate.  We could not have done it without you!

Kalihi January SaleWaiahole February SaleDiamond Head Feb SaleMarch Ewa Gentry Sale 

March Mililani SaleMarch Waipahu SaleMarch Kailua Beachside SaleApril Diamond Head Sale 

May Palolo SaleMay Royal Kunia SaleSeptember Makiki SaleSeptember Kapahulu Sale

October Mililani SaleOctober Ilikai SaleOctober Waikiki Landmark SaleNovember Kaneohe Sale 

November Hawaii Kai SaleDavid Buck      Hawaii Life

We are very appreciative for our great clients and network of friends and colleagues who have done business with us and referred our services to others.  As a result, our business continues to grow! The properties above represent the wonderful people we were able to work with and successfully close with in 2014. THANK YOU for contributing to our success in Real Estate!

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