David's Real Estate Blog | Dispatches from Diamond Head

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

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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Dec. 22, 2014

Hawaii Kai Boat Parade Another Success

The Hawaii Kai Boat Parade was another success this year. There were some awesome boats and lot of creativity that went in to this special event held just prior to Christmas every year.

2014 Hawaii Kai Boat Parade Winner

This year's winner had a Beatles theme with some friends on board

I had the opportunity to view the event again from some friends/past client's place at Kuapa Isle. It turns out some other friends of mine were on the float that ultimately won. They had a Beatles theme and played live music as they strolled along. That float seems to outdo themselves every year and has a long winning streak (and deservedly so) of titles.

Here's a feel of some of the other boats we got to see that night:

Hawaii Kai Boat Parade Christmas Float

Hawaii Kai Boat Parad Boat in Tow

Hawaii Kai Boat Parade Fishing

Hawaii Kai Boat Parade Skiff

Now that 2014 is under our belt, I look forward to what next year has in store. If you're interested in either competing or having a front row seat, here's what's available for sale on the marina in Hawaii Kai.

Posted in Hawaii Kai
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Nov. 25, 2014

Hawaii Life Representing Buyers in Beachside, Kailua

So far in 2014, our company Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers has brought in more Buyers for homes over $1.5 million in Beachside, Kailua than other other real estate firm on Oahu.

Hawaii Life representing Buyers in Kailua

The following breakdown are the sales and firms that brought in the Buyers:

Hawaii Life

1. March 27, 2014 - 140-B N. Kalaheo Ave.
2. March 31, 2014 - 420-B N. Kalaheo Ave.
3. November 20, 2014 - 104 S. Kalaheo Ave.

Prudential Locations

1. April 24, 2014 - 127 Kailuana Pl.
2. May 28, 2014 - 112 S. Kalaheo Ave.

Coldwell Banker

1. February 28, 2014 - 148 Kaimoani Way
2. October 8, 2014 - 522 N. Kalaheo Ave.

Choi International

1. October 14, 2014 - 139 Kailuana Pl.
2. October 24, 2014 - 572-A N. Kalaheo Ave.

There were a handful of other firms that brought in 1 Buyer. To find out more about how we're bringing in Buyers in Beachside and other neighborhoods on Oahu, feel free to contact us for more information.

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Oct. 27, 2014

Pumpkins, Rail and West Oahu Housing Hana Hou

Last year I wrote an article on Aloun Farms' Pumpkin patch, Honolulu's rail and DR Horton's Hoopili development in West Oahu. I had the opportunity to accompany my children on their excursion again this year. It was a blessing to be with them again and also sad for two reasons. First, they are growing up and won't be able to do this forever. Second, this annual trip for most Oahu schools won't be around forever if development plans continue.

Aloun Farms Pumpkin Patch in Kapolei

Aloun Farms' Pumpkin Patch is always a hit around Halloween

Since my trip out here last year, there's definitely been progress on the rail. Last year you could only see the pilings being laid, whereas this year the main rail members are connected. I have to admit, it was kind of eerie driving through an agricultural field with a concrete rail running through it.

Rail Pilings and Tracks now in the Ewa Plain

Rail pilings have now been formed into a track in the Ewa Plain

I guess I'll have to enjoy this snapshot in time when my kids are young and get to enjoy things such as a pumpkin patch in agricultural land. I'll also have to enjoy and take in this open space as well while it lasts as there's no telling what this will look like 10 years from now? Tracts of homes with a high speed rail running through it?

Rail on the mountain side of Aloun Farms Pumpkin Patch

Rail beyond the farm where families and children enjoy the pumpkin patch

We have to make the best of these times before the seasons of change reshape west Oahu...


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Sept. 18, 2014

3 Reasons Why You Should Not Search on Realtor.com, Trulia and Zillow for Oahu Real Estate

Whenever searching for real estate online, there's a good chance you've come across Realtor.com, Trulia and Zillow.




Realtor.com, Trulia and Zillow are the 3 Largest National Real Estate Portals

What those 3 sites have in common is they are in most of the major real estate markets across the United States. We in the industry like to refer to them as "portals". They aggregate listings that are syndicated from all kinds of sources. I'll be honest, I have my profile on all 3 and use all 3 when searching for real estate outside of Hawaii. They are a decent "starting point". Of the 3, I'd have to admit I'm most loyal to Realtor.com as it was founded by Realtors and has been recognized as the official site of the National Association of Realtors. 

Unfortunately all 3 sites have the same business model - to Sell Advertising. They can be a decent place for those getting started in their search. However knowing what I know as a professional, here are 3 Important Reasons Not to Search on Realtor.com, Trulia and Zillow when looking for Hawaii Real Estate:

1. Advertising. As I mentioned, all 3 sites are based on advertising - primarily to Realtors. They use our info. and then sell it back to us to put our face and contact info. on there. They also sell ads to all sorts of other businesses that have nothing to do with looking for a home - supermarkets, moving companies, insurance companies, software companies and more! It clutters the space and impedes on the consumers ability to find what they are looking for - real estate.

2. No Differentiation or Filter for Leasehold Properties. If you search on a local real estate website (such as this one), there's a good chance you'll be able to tell the difference between Fee Simple and Leasehold properties.The national portals above have no differentiation between the two. You'll see leasehold properties intermingled with fee simple ones and often times, they are the ones that look "too good to be true." On those sites, the consumer can't filter the leasehold ones out or even be able to tell the difference. 

3. No Way to Check Status of a Listing. On the national portals, listings show up online until they either sell, expire or are withdrawn. Some of them still show properties after they sell! When using a local site (like this one), you have a good chance to see whether a property is available or under contract/in escrow under the "Status" field. It is there you can see whether a property says Active or Active Continue to Show, which are the terms our local MLS uses.

These are just some of the many reasons to use a local real estate website when searching for property in Hawaii. Even more important, Realtor.com, Trulia and Zillow do not live on Oahu nor sell real estate here. I on the other hand DO! 

Posted in Property Search
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