David's Real Estate Blog | Dispatches from Diamond Head

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

July 13, 2019

Sales Increase 2 Years After Marco Polo Fire

Tomorrow marks two years that have passed since the tragic Marco Polo fire. Last year I wrote an article about the real estate sales in the building a year after the fire. At that time, there were only 2 cash sales that took place. Fast forward to today and sales have increased over 500% with 11 transactions taking place.

Marco Polo Sales Before and 2 Years After Fire

Marco Polo Sales 2 Years After Fire and Years Prior to Fire

Increase in Sales and Loans Now Possible

Although sales aren't back to where they were prior (north of 20 deals per year), this was a healthy increase in transactions. Our office was able to successfully auction one off through Harcourts Auctions. Another driving factor was Territorial Savings started lending in the building. 4 of the 11 transactions got financing and the other 7 were cash buyers.

The Rebound has Already Taken Place

As I predicted last year, the building would ultimately rebound as lenders start to lend and Buyers come back into the marketplace. If you're thinking about buying or selling at The Marco Polo Apartments, feel free to contact me for more information.

May 21, 2019

Client Testimonial - Raymon House

Rayon House recently sat down to share his experience in working with his Realtor Mark E. Buck to buy and sell his Uraku Tower condos near Ala Moana.

He moved here from Florida and said he had a great experience in working with Mark Buck with Harcourts Island Real Estate in purchasing and selling his condos here. Mark showed him all the "ins and outs" of purchasing real estate here in Honolulu, which is somewhat unique compared to Florida where he came from.

The one thing unique about Mark is he has lived in Hawaii almost his entire life. He knew so much about the history, ins and outs, where to go, where not to go and really knows the islands.

May 10, 2019

Oahu Properties For Sale with Billiards Rooms

Playing pool was a fun hobby I enjoyed with friends while I was in college. However, as I've gotten older I seldom go out to bars these days. Often times, the only place to play billiards is at a local bar or facility you have to drive to. What if you didn't have to leave your property to have fun with family or friends to shoot a game of pool?

If you're into playing billiards (shooting pool), there's some great properties for sale on Oahu, several of which I have listed and would like to take the time to feature here:

Kailua Home Near the Beach

I've currently got a listing for sale a few blocks to the beach in Kailua's exclusive "Beachside" neighborhood.

Pool Table at Beachside Home in Kailua

133 Kailuana Place in Kailua (MLS # 201831626)

Outside of this probably being one of the nicest homes for sale on Oahu with a pool table, the location, high end finishes and indoor/outdoor lifestyle are hard to surpass. Here's a video showcasing the lifestyle:

Koolani Condos in Kakaako

Koolani is a luxury building in Kakaako. Built in 2006, one of the many amenities residents have while living at Koolani is their very own billiards room.

Koolani Billiards Room

Koolani Billiards Room

I've currently got unit #4203 listed at $1,060,000 (MLS # 201905115). It's a high floor unit with awesome ocean views. We currently have an accepted offer, however are looking for backups. There's also a handful of other listings for sale there if I can help.

Saint Louis Heights Home

Last, but not least - I came across this home on Saint Louis Heights while looking for a client.

Saint Louis Heights Pool Table

St. Louis Heights Home (MLS # 201913585) with billiards room

It's definitely one of the nicer homes on that ridge I've seen over the years... 

We Sell Other Specialty Properties Too

Whether it be a billiards room, swimming pool, gym, golf, tennis or basketball court on site, feel free to contact us to see if we can help find the right property for you.

Posted in Kailua, Kakaako, Luxury
April 23, 2019

Client Testimonial - Michael Chan

Michael Chan sat down recently to share his experience in selling his Pacifica Honolulu condo with Steve Fierros.

He said it was an absolutely fantastic experience. The ironic thing is Steve was his neighbor in the same building they had lived in for 5 years. He always knew Steve was in real estate, however never had the chance to work with him prior. When it came time to selling his property, Steve was the first person he thought about.

Steve had a full scale of all the different price ranges for properties in the area that he had lived in. It made it really easy for Michael to see that Steve knew what he was talking about. It made him feel comfortable and trust Steve to take charge of the marketing and pricing of his property. 

Another important thing was Michael knew the company Steve worked for (Harcourts) was in international brand. Therefore, they could represent his interests not to just the local market, but buyers from every segment of the world internationally. That's really important to him, especially in an international city. He wanted to make sure he got the right price for his property and Steve was a very good representation of what he was looking to get out of his property. 

Posted in Kakaako, Testimonials
April 16, 2019

Tiger Woods, Makaha Golf and The Masters

A little over a week ago Pacific Business News reported that PGA Legend Tiger Woods to design a golf course at Makaha Valley Resort. This is great news and could be a nice boost for Makaha real estate.

Makaha Golf Course

Makaha Golf Course

The two Makaha courses owned by Pacific Links have been in limbo for a few years and I've heard rumors from friends and clients that something good was in the works. Tiger Woods will be designing one of he the courses. Makaha has been one of those resorts that has been overlooked by many over the years and has been a sleeper with more affordable real estate product than the rest of Oahu.

Tiger Woods and The Masters

Tiger Woods Playing Golf

Legendary PGA Golfer Tiger Woods

Coupled with the announcement of Tiger designing a course here, he went on to have a remarkable comeback and win The Masters this past weekend! We as Realtors cannot promise future returns on an investment, however I doubt Tiger Woods involvement in Makaha will hurt any. This will be the first new course in over 10 years. The last was Ernie Els' course at Hoakalei. Although the clubhouse literally just got completed there, real estate prices at Hoakalei have been on a steady climb since the development's inception.

Makaha Condos at Bargain Prices

Relative to the rest of Oahu, Makaha Condos are some of the lowest entry level fee simple condos on Oahu. Right now, I've got a great unit listed for sale at Makaha Valley Towers.

Makaha Valley Towers #1508

Makaha Valley Towers #1508 (MLS # 201905697) listed for $220,000

This is a 1 bed, 1 bath unit that's been completely remodeled in 2016. Although the Pacific Links courses are private, both new courses can be seen from this high floor unit that has panoramic views of Makaha Valley and the ocean. Given it's proximity to the courses and nearby white sandy beaches, this could be a great 2nd home opportunity for one of the private members as Pacific Links member have access to courses all over the world.

Makaha Golf Course Views

Makaha Golf Course View Seen from Makaha Valley Towers #1508

Is it too late for your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? A unit just closed a few days ago for $225,000... For more info. on Makaha Valley Towers #1508 or any other real estate in Makaha, feel free to contact me for more information.

April 8, 2019

Client Testimonial - Nancy Lueck

Nancy Lueck recently sat down at the Harcourts office to share her experience in working with David and Mark Buck on the purchase of her Honolulu home.

Nancy met David through research on the internet. She was looking for someone with market knowledge in Honolulu and also someone that had a history in Honolulu and somebody that she could relate to personally. She thought David and his father Mark had all of those qualities.

She started looking four years before she was actually going to move here, but wanted to get an understanding of the market and see various places on the island - Which ended up being a funny joke between she, David and his father Mark as she dragged them everywhere :) They made it fun and in the end she found her dream home! She knows it would not have happened without David and Mark's assistance.

Posted in Honolulu, Testimonials
March 19, 2019

Tennis Tuesdays: 3 Harcourts Listings with Tennis Courts

This Tuesday, we're featuring 3 of our office listings that have tennis courts. One of the advantage of purchasing real estate on Oahu with a tennis court is you may not have to wait long to play like the typical public courts or those at the local country clubs. Here are 3 listings in town where home ownership and a great match of tennis could go hand in hand:

Koolani Tennis Court

1. Koolani #4203 (MLS # 201905115

This 2 bed, 2 bath condo is in Kakaako and listed by David E. Buck, Realtor for $1,080,000.

Honolulu Park Place Tennis Court

2. Honolulu Park Place #1310 (MLS # 201904102)

This 1 bed, 1 bath in Chinatown already has an accepted offer on it and is listed by Steven G. Fierros, Realtor-Associate for $549,500 and includes 2 parking stalls!

Marco Polo Tennis Court

3. Marco Polo #2204 (MLS # 201904720)

This 1 bed, 1 bath condo in Kapiolani is being auctioned this Thursday by Dianne Willoughby, Realtor

They're all great buys and sure beats the price of paying for a country club when you can play tennis on site where you live, whether it be Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or any day of the week for that matter! If you're looking for a tennis property on Oahu, feel free to contact us for more information.

Posted in Honolulu, Kakaako, Tennis
March 18, 2019

Register to Bid: Marco Polo Auction this Week

Time is running out to bid for our Harcourts Auctions Marco Polo #2204 this week. Here's some reasons why to register to bid this week:

Marco Polo Pool in Honolulu

The pool at the Marco Polo in Honolulu

1. Banks Starting to Lend Again

Where could you find a better place to play "Marco Polo" than the Marco Polo in Honolulu? All puns aside, this is an opportune time to get in on this building as we just found out this week Territorial Savings is lending on Marco Polo. Since the Marco Polo fire in 2017, banks haven't been lending on the building. There's only been very few trades in the building as it's been limited to cash buyers.

2. There Hasn't Been a High Floor 1 Bed for a Long Time

Marco Polo 2204 Kitchen and Living

22nd Floor 1 Bed Unit (MLS # 201904720) #2204

This unit is on the 22nd floor and has great mauka views towards the Koolaus. In addition, most of the units that have sold since the fire for cash sales were units that had extensive damage from the fire. Meanwhile, this unit is in great shape and was tenant occupied just until recently.

3. The Building is Working on Retrofitting for Sprinklers

One of the reasons people have been sitting on the sidelines is the fear of another fire and also not knowing the status of the what's been going on since the fire. In the Harcourts Auctions link, you can register and download the due diligence package ahead of time to see all that's been going on since. In addition, once the building is sprinklered there's a good chance the prices will start appreciating again.

Opportunity Comes Once in a Lifetime

Just think about it, a few years down the road looking back and possibly timing the market right to buy the lowest priced condo at the Marco Polo in many, many years.... To quote the entertainer Eminem that recently performed at Aloha Stadium - Opportunity Comes Once in a Lifetime. Time will tell if that's the case here.

March 17, 2019

Median Prices up Slightly in February

The median sales price for single family homes and condos on Oahu were up slightly in February.

February 2019 Real Estate Statistics on Oahu

Single Family Home Stats

Newtown Home for $789,000

This home in Newtown (MLS # 201905550) is listed for February's median price of $789,000

The median sales price for a single family home finished at $789,000, which was up 2.1% from February of 2018. The number of sales, however have dropped 4.1% since last year with 208 transactions taking place. Sellers were still doing ok as well with the median days on market stood at just 25 days.

Condo Sales Stats

Island Colony Condo in Waikiki for $415,000

This Island Colony Condo in Waikiki (MLS #201831524) is priced at Feb's median of $415k

On the condo front, prices were up even less by 1.5% to finish at $415,000. It's still a step in the right direction for owners overall. Unfortunately, the number of condo sales fell 16.6% from a year ago. Meanwhile, the days on market mirrored single family homes at 25 days.

The Elephant in the Room: Increasing Inventory

  • Months of remaining inventory for Homes increased 60% from 2 months to 3.2 months
  • Active Listings of Homes increased 41.6% from 1,014 to 1,436
  • Months of remaining inventory for Condos increased 44% from 2.5 to 3.6 months
  • Active Listings of Condos increased 30.9% from 1,789 to 2,342

Is the sky falling? It's hard to say at this point.

Bad News: This is a dramatic increase in inventory.

Good News: According to the National Association of Realtors, a Seller's Market is defined by anything less than 6 months of remaining inventory. 

Although inventory has increased dramatically, we've technically still got a ways to go to become a Buyer's Market. However, if this momentum of increasing inventory continues without absorption, we could get there much sooner...

All Real Estate is Local

To learn more about what's happening in your particular neighborhood or building, feel free to contact us for more information.

Feb. 27, 2019

Real Estate Terms in Pidgin English Translated by an Australian

We recently had some fun trying to test Ben Brady, our Regional Director of Harcourts Pacific on his skills translating pidgin english pertaining to real estate here in Hawaii. Ben was at the corporate office in California, while David was on the beach in Waikiki. Let's see how he did...


  1. Oh, what kine hale you going look for?
  2. Where da lua stay in this house?
  3. Ho - da buggah stay bakin!
  4. I need one house whea tutu and aunty going sleep. Where you goin' find me dat kine?
  5. Wen da kine opala goin' get picked up?

For an Aussie, he actually didn't do that bad! This puts some perspective into our unique dialects that Harcourts offices work with throughout the world. Whether it be Australia, New Zealand, South Africa or other english speaking countries we all have some "lingo" that is unique to our areas.

Just to be clear here, I don't typically "bust out" this form of talking when working with clients, however I'm always glad to if you'd like :) Ha!