David's Real Estate Blog | Dispatches from Diamond Head
Latest real estate news and articles from David E. Buck, Realtor
Last year I wrote an article on Aloun Farms' Pumkin 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 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 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 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...
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!
With the median sales price of homes on Oahu hitting $700,000 last summer, there's been a lot of concern about affordability for buyers in the marketplace. While this is understandably so for your average home buyer, our luxury market could have a ways to go.
Kahala's priciest listing (MLS # 201400491) for $22 million
Back in the "Japanese bubble" of 1987-1991, it was common place for homes to sell north of $20 million in Kahala. With a new era of Buyers coming in to the marketplace and purchasing homes from Alexander and Baldwin's portfolio, Kahala is back on an upswing. A number of those transactions took place privately last year, so not much is reflected on the books in MLS yet for 2014. By this time last year, we had four closings above $10 million for a total of 7 on the year. So far this year, we've only had 1 in Lanikai that sold for $11,845,000 in June.
Although the "high end" has been a little bit slower this year, there are other luxury markets across the United States that are cranking. I recently received a market update from a colleague of mine in New York City- Louise Phillips Forbes with Halstead Property. Here are some of the highlights from her summer update:
- New Development Prices are up 44% in all neighborhoods
- Co-Op Prices are up 23% and 27% for 3 bed and larger apartments
- The average price for a Manhattan apartment is up 30%
- There are 298 homes on the market over $10 Mil.
- There are 119 homes in contract for over $10 Mil.
Here's a chart to put things into some perspective when comparing New York's market to ours:
The red bar shows our true numbers. Currently, there are 24 home/condo listings on Oahu at $10 million or higher. We currently have none (showing in MLS) under contract at that price. So, one could make the argument that New York's population is 10 times more than ours, so I adjusted our inventory 10 times. Although that puts our high end inventory closer to theirs, it in no way compares to the number of properties they have under contract north of $10 million! This is another reason I see Honolulu real estate prices are still a bargain.
This past week I listed one of the lowest priced marina and ocean view units at the Ilikai in Waikiki.
Ilikai #339 (MLS # 201416937) is fully furnished with split air conditioning
This is the perfect unit for those looking for a view, yet not a big fan of heights or long elevator rides and waits. Situated on the 3rd floor, you're perched just high enough to get marina and ocean views over the deck below.
View of the marina and ocean from the lanai
In addition to the Ilikai's iconic reputation and location, this unit has been remodeled. Upgraded granite counters in the kitchen, newer cabinets and flat screen tv or just some of the upgrades. The unit is currently in a hotel pool, so this is the perfect opportunity for a 2nd home owner that wants to rent out their place when not on island.
Upgraded unit clearly not the Ilikai of the '60's
We are 1 of only 3 active 1 bedroom listings in the building as of today facing the ocean. In the past 6 months, there have been 18 sales ranging from $480,000 to $615,000. With a median sales price of $552,500 and average sales price of $551,389, we're priced to sell at $540,000. Feel free to contact me for more information.
Sunset view from Executive Centre #2001 (MLS # 201415779)
We just recently listed unit #2001. In addition to the having a long term lease, this particular unit comes with a covered parking stall. Since it's above the 12th floor, it's in the secured tower as well as being eligible to be placed in the hotel pool managed by Aston.
Relax by the pool at Executive Centre
On site security, restaurant and swimming pool are just a few of the amenities Executive Centre has to offer. As of today, there are 15 listings at Executive Centre. Although this sounds like a lot, it is less than 3% of the total project. With a price under $200,000 this is a great option for get a 1 bedroom condo in Downtown Honolulu at a great entry level price.
If you haven't heard already, Starbucks is coming soon to Aina Haina Shopping Center.
Starbucks is going in the old First Hawaiian Bank location in Aina Haina
Starbucks is the latest of many new upgrades to the shopping center that local firm Blue Rock Partners and the new ownership have undertaken to upgrade the mall. Recent years saw the addition of an upgraded Foodland Farms, a new McDonald's, a new First Hawaiian Bank and now Starbucks that's going in the old bank location. I didn't even mention the facelift that's given the original run down mall added curb appeal.
Starbucks under construction seen from the street
I'm not sure when the estimated roll out date is, however I can already see myself stopping through here in the near future between showings in East Honolulu.
Back in 2005, I recall it being difficult to find a decent 3 bed, 2 bath town home on the marina in Hawaii Kai. Shortly after the financial crisis of late 2008, prices dipped to the $700k range and some as low as the mid $600k range at some of the classic projects such as Koko Isle and Kuapa Isle. Fast forward to today and marina front town homes in Hawaii Kai prices are on the rise. Here's what's happening:
This Koko Isle Town Home (MLS # 201405950) priced at $1,025,000 is under contract
Koko Isle marina front town homes have seen the following uptick in values. Here's the average sales price by year as well as transactions thta took place:
2014 - $899,450 | 2 Sales (YTD)
2013 - $858,333 | 6 Sales
2012 - $726,500 | 8 Sales
2011 - $674,000 | 5 Sales
2010 - N/A - None
2009 - $692,000 - 1 Sale
Meanwhile, active inventory outside the one above are asking prices ranging from $975,000 (MLS # 201407165) to $1,100,000 (MLS # 201332609). We've come along way since the under $700k mark. It'll be interesting to see if the new "norm" will be set around $1 million + going forward?
Kuapa Isle town home (MLS # 201407016) under contract with asking price just under $1 million
Kuapa Isle has noticed a similar price increases since 2009 and has had very little inventory. In addition to the unit above showing as Active Continue to Show, there is another unit pending with an asking price of $989,000. What's even more amazing is there's a non-marina front listing with an asking price of $774,880 in escrow. Not that long ago you could get something on the water for that price! Amazing how the market has changed. Here's what's been happening with the average sales prices of marina front units at Kuapa Isle:
2014 - $858,333 | 3 Sales (YTD)
2013 - $820,667 | 3 Sales
2012 - $849,619 | 4 Sales
2011 - $743,600 | 5 Sales
2010 - $671,786 | 7 Sales
2009 - $691,500 | 5 Sales
Although YTD sales don't reflect much of a change over the past 2 years, the two units under contract in the high $900k range show a significant jump. It'll be interesting to see if prices trend upwards. This is a coveted community and as you can see not that many marina front units trade each year.
If you're interested in purchasing a marina front town home in Hawaii Kai, feel free to contact us for more information. We also are looking for Sellers as we are working with a number of marina front Buyers. To get an idea of what your place is worth, feel free to try our free valuation tool.
Diamond Head Circle is an exclusive enclave of homes off Monsarrat Avenue on the backside of Diamond Head. Typically, there may be a listing (or two) on the market at best. This week however, that count is up to six!
Locations of the sic homes for sale on Diamond Head Circle
Prices range from $4.3 to $16.2 million and days on market range from 451 Days to market to the latest one listed just 2 days ago. Below you'll find a brief description with a links to more detailed listing information. I've listed them in chronological order of when they came on market.
1. 3703 Diamond Head Circle (MLS # 1300580) was listed January 15, 2013
Set on over 3/4 of an acre this property originally was listed for $7,250,000 and is now available for $5,900,000
2. 3735 Diamond Head Circle (MLS # 201333344) was listed on October 10, 2013
This one is my favorite listing on the circle with when factoring in the nicest house, prime location and view. Nestled on 1.27 acres it originally came online for $13,500,000 and is now $12,500,000
3. 3824 Diamond Head Circle (MLS # 201400627) was listed on January 10, 2014
One of several listings on the circle priced around the $5 million range, this one sits on a half acre. Although the original structure was built in 1949, there was a complete remodel done just a couple of years ago.
4. 3692 Diamond Head Circle (MLS # 201402274) was listed on March 1, 2014
This one is by far the largest and priciest listing on the circle. Set on just under 2 acres, this listing is comprised of 4 parcels. It last sold for $9,700,000 cash on July 14, 2008. It has the largest residential swimming pool on Oahu and is a storied trophy property.
5. 3636 Diamond Head Circle (MLS # 201403557) was listed on March 14, 2014
Although this is another one around a half acre in the $5 million range, what sets this one apart is the quality of construction. This is the newest home for sale built on the circle that was done in 2005.
6. 3653 Diamond Head Circle (MLS # 201405994) was listed on April 9, 2014
This one was the final straw which nudged me to write the article. There's a saying in the business that "things come in threes." This capped out the 2nd batch of 3 listings. This particular one has been on and off the market since 2005 and listed 11 different times with prices ranging from as low as $2,475,000 in 2006 to $7,500,000 in 2011.
Now that the stage is set, it will be interesting to see which one of these homes sells first... there are a number of great offerings here. It just depends on wants, needs and budget. If you need some assistance buying or selling on Diamond Head Circle or other parts of Diamond Head, I'm here to help.
The Mount Terrace in Hawaii Kai is a great building. The catch is you can often have many months without any new inventory. Even more so, you can go a much longer time with no listings in the A or B stacks, which are some of the more sought after units that face the ocean.
View from the latest Mount Terrace listing to come online - Unit 8B (MLS # 201402706)
February seemed to Buck (no pun intended) that trend with 3 new listings that came online. 2 of those 3 new listings were in the B stack of the building. Unit 12B was the first to hit the market in early February and the Seller accepted an offer yesterday, just a little over 3 weeks on market.
Mount Terrace 12B (MLS # 201401342) recently went under contract
Mount Terrace 21C (MLS # 201402082) is the 3rd unit that was recently listed for $715,000
There were a total of 9 sales in Mount Terrace last year, with 4 of those 9 selling at $700,000 or above. With all 3 active listings having ocean views, I won't be surprised if the first 3 sales of the year will fetch over $700,000. For some perspective: At the peak of the market in 2005, there were 6 sales the entire year that ranged between $735,000 to $895,000. With that said, it appears Mount Terrace may have some upside in the next year or so. No bad considering one could purchase at prices that were seen almost a decade ago...