David's Real Estate Blog | Dispatches from Diamond Head

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

Nov. 16, 2016

What Does President Elect Trump Mean for Trump Tower Waikiki?

Typically you have to wait for a U.S. President to be out of office for awhile before you start hearing of buildings, libraries and schools being named after them. That's not the case for our new President Elect Donald Trump. We've already got Trump Tower Waikiki, which was built in 2009.

Trump Tower Waikiki Entry

Sign fronting Trump Tower Waikiki

Trump's name has always been synonymous with luxury real estate throughout the world and the building that bears his name in Waikiki is no different. Unlike his original signature properties in Manhattan, the recent addition was more of a branding play (for a royalty fee) in partnership with Irongate Development, who later went on to development the Ritz Carlton Waikiki.

History of Trump Tower Waikiki

There were record sales when the offering first went to market at the last peak in 2006. Nearly half of the units were sold overseas in Asia and the remaining inventory went went within a weak. Over time, as the market turned the developer got a bunch of the units back and some buyers lost their deposits. Since the building was completed in 2009, here's a breakdown of resales by year in MLS:

MLS Sales of Trump Tower Waikiki 2009-2016

MLS Sales from 2009 through November 16, 2016

As you can see, sales were tapering off since the first full year of resales in 2010. So far this year, sales are up 65% compared to 2015 and we still have another 1.5 months to go in the 2016! It's definitely showing a strong sentiment from buyers in the marketplace. A few years back, I recall there being 70+ active listings in the building. Today that number is 52, which is over a 25% drop in inventory.

Trump Tower Waikiki Market Stats by Year

Trump Tower Waikiki Sales Prices by Year

The median and average sales prices have chugged along since the initial sales. Although there's a broad variety of product between the studios, 1, 2 and 3 bedroom floor plans, this should give you an idea of the overall stability of the project. The high sales in 2010 and 2011 were some 3 bed units, however none that size have sold since - which is why you're seeing the highest sales in recent years fall short of those years. 

The Future of Trump Tower Waikiki

Like most of Waikiki Real Estate, tourism plays a big factor in consumer confidence and return on investment. Tourism number have been great this year and expectations are optimistic in the near future. There is another player in the market that has recently come online in the luxury condotel market - which is The Ritz Carlton I'd mentioned earlier ironically was the same developer. The difference in my opinion is the Trump Tower is in a much better location - just a block inland of the Halekulani Hotel and the iconic Outrigger Reef which are on the beach at Waikiki. The Ritz Carlton is set further back on Kuhio Ave. and a further trek to get to the ocean.

Time will tell to see if Trump's election will play any part on the resale and return on investment for Trump Tower Waikiki. If you'd like to get in on the action to buy one or think now is the time to sell, feel free to contact me for more information.

Oct. 25, 2016

Transaction Volume Flat, While Sales Pace Fast in September

The numbers of sales on Oahu in September were relatively flat with no change since 2015 for single family homes and a slight increase of 6.7% for condos. Meanwhile, both homes and condos were selling fast with the median days on market just 16 days for homes and 20 days for condos.

September 2016 Infographic of Real Estate Sales on Oahu

September, 2016 Infographic of Real Estate Sales on Oahu

Single Family Home Stats

Although the sales volume was flat (no increase or decrease) compared to last year with 329 transactions, the median sale price was up 2.7% to $750,000. It also continues to be a Seller's Market. In addition to the stat of only 16 days on market, the months of remaining inventory is just 2.9%. Sellers are also received 100% of list price on average.

Waipahu Home for $750,000

This Waipahu Home (MLS # 201619405) is listed for September's median price of $750k

Condo Stats

In addition to the condo sales volume being up slightly, so was the median sales price which ended up at $383,250 or a 4.7% increase from the same time last year. The condo market was also great for Sellers with only 3 months supply of remaining inventory and selling in just 20 days. Sellers also got 99.5% of their asking price on average.

Salt Lake Condo for $383,000

Condo in Salt Lake (MLS # 201618902) listed just under the median of $383,500

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

Neighborhoods “Hot” for Sellers

  • Home sales in Kalihi-Palama were up 100%
  • Home prices in Makakilo were up 29%
  • Condo sales in Kapahulu-Diamond Head were up 300%
  • Condo prices in Kalihi-Palama were up 43%

Neighborhoods “Hot” for Buyers

  • Home sales in Aina Haina-Kuliouou were down 70%
  • Home prices in Moanalua-Salt Lake were down 15%
  • Condo sales Kailua-Waimanalo were down 44%
  • Condo prices in Waialae-Kahala were down 39%

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.

Oct. 14, 2016

Pinnacle Honolulu Penthouse to be Auctioned October 18th

Real estate auctions sales on Oahu are somewhat rare. We've had a few over the years. Concierge Auctions has done a few on the North Shore. There's another mainland company named Heritage Auctions that will be auctioning off the Penthouse of the Pinnacle in Downtown Honolulu.

Pinnacle Honolulu Penthouse View

View from the Penthouse of The Pinnacle Honolulu (MLS # 201618755)

Currently listed for $17,500,000 this is a 3 story unit owned by the developer of the building.  It's been on and off the market for 7 years with a handful of different Realtors in town. Currently listed with Hawaii 5-0 Properties, Inc. the Seller is now thinking outside the box with an auction process to generate some more interest.

Similar to Concierge Auctions, Heritage Auctions has a similar business model in which the Buyer must pay a "Buyer's Premium" at closing of 10% (on top of the purchase price). This is important to factor in when bidding. 

Why Auction?

Sellers that have tested the market and not getting their price realize this may be a way to get to true market value. Also, Buyers enjoy the transparency in knowing what they can pay to get a place instead of coming up with an arbitrary offer amount - which in this case is the circumstance as this is such a unique property and there's nothing really like it to comp/compare with.


Buyers need to be qualified and have a $100,000 check available for bidding and be prepared to bring in additional funds of 10% if they are the winning bidder. They also need to be able to close within 60 Days.


Although there is a reserve, I've been told the Seller is highly motivated and someone could get a great buy here! Here's some more photos and features:

Pinnacle PH Living Room

Pinnacle PH BilliardsPinnacle PH Aquarium

Pinnacle Penthouse Entry, Billiards Room and Aquarium


  • 3 top floors of luxury boutique high-rise
  • 6,800+ square feet of indoor living space
  • 8 lanais with 1,100+ square feet of outdoor living space
  • 4 master suites
  • Sold fully furnished with Casa FENDI designs, rare Asian antiques, Swarovski crystal chandeliers and upscale Kohler appliances
  • Custom-built Steinway and 400-gallon saltwater aquarium
  • Hand-painted ceilings, custom-carved exotic wood entry doors, imported granite and Travertine flooring
  • Built-in wine cellar, infinity-edge whirlpool spas, multiple flat screen televisions and fireplaces
  • Lutron lighting, surround sound, remote-controlled window coverings
  • 360 degree views of Diamond Head, Pearl Harbor, Pacific Ocean, Punchbowl Crater, mountains and Downtown Honolulu
  • Close to Iolani Palace, designer boutiques, government buildings and Central Business District
  • 5-star building amenities include heated swimming pool, spa, billiards, fitness room and 8 dedicated garage parking spaces

Pinnacle PH Sunset

Pinnacle PH BathPinnacle PH Bedrrom

Enjoy the Sunset from the office or relax in the luxurious bedrooms and bathrooms

To learn more about this Penthouse offering to be auctioned this coming Tuesday, October 18th feel free to contact me for more information. Someone should get a great buy in Downtown Honolulu.

Sept. 19, 2016

Oahu Condos Sales and Median Price up 12.4% in August

The condo market was hot in August with both the median sales price and number of sales up 12.4% since last year. 

Oahu Real Estate Sales Statistics for August, 2016

Infographic of Oahu home and condo sales for August, 2016

Condo Sales Stats

The median condo price finished up 12.4% at $398,000, which although was strong fell short of June's record of $405,500. On average, Sellers got 97.6% of asking price and the median days on market was just 16 days. There were also 12.4% more deals taking place than last year with 481 closed sales for the month.

Napali Gardens Condo in Kaneohe

Kaneohe condo (MLS # 201617983) listed just over August's median at $399,000

Single Family Home Stats

The single family home market was also healthy for Sellers with the median price up 6.9% from last year to finish at $747,500. The number deals taking place remained flat with 344 closings - the same as last August. Sellers remained happy receiving 99.8% of asking price and the median Days on Market was just 15 days.

Royal Kunia home

Royal Kunia home (MLS # 201623253) listed just under August's median at $747,000

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

Neighborhoods “Hot” for Sellers

  • Home sales on the Windward Coast were up 133%
  • Home prices in Waialae-Kahala were up 24%
  • Condo sales in Makaha-Nanakuli were up 114%
  • Condo prices in Waialae-Kahala and Waipahu were up 29%

Neighborhoods “Hot” for Buyers

  • Home sales in Hawaii Kai were down 57%
  • Home prices on the North Shore were down 38%
  • Condo sales Wahiawa were down 100%
  • Condo prices in Wahiawa were down 100%

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.

Sept. 14, 2016

Two Ossipoff Homes For Sale in Diamond Head at Reduced Prices

There are currently 2 homes for sale in Diamond Head designed by Vladimir Ossipoff, Hawaii's most renowned mid century modern architect. Both have reduced in price and here's why each could be a great buy in this market. 

1. Ossipoff Home on Diamond Head Circle

 Ossipoff Home on Diamond Head Cirlce

Mid Century Modern home (MLS # 201601000) on Diamond Head Circle

The listing at 3703 Diamond Head Circle is now $3,688,000. It's been on and off the market now for over 2.5 years with different Realtors and started as high as $7,250,000. I also wrote about the activity on Diamond Head Circle 2 years ago and it was listed at $5.9 million then. Another factor that makes this a great deal is 3735 Diamond Head Circle finally sold for $6,900,000.  It's just a few doors over and was in better shape, however it traded at nearly double the price!

2. Ossipoff Home on Kaikoo Place

Ossipoff home on Kaikoo

Ossipoff Home (MLS # 201606007) at 4329 Kaikoo Place

Although not necessary "mid century", this is definitely one of Ossipoff's more "modern" works built in 1994 (just a few years prior to him passing). This one has also been on and off the market for a number of years and listed as high as $5.2 million. Considering this also had a recent comp a few doors down with 4347 Kaikoo Place selling for $4,875,000, it's now a great buy for $3,995,000.

Contact a Mid Century Modern Expert

To learn more about Ossipoff or other mid century modern homes on Oahu, feel free to contact me for more information.

Aug. 23, 2016

Median Condo Price on Oahu up 14.3% in July

The median sales price for homes and condos on Oahu were up compared to last year, however not quite as high as June's record prices.

July 2016 Real Estate Sales Stats on Oahu

July 2016 Infographic of Real Estate Sales on Oahu

Single Family Home Stats

The median sales price of a single family home sale on Oahu was up 5.1% from July of 2015. Coming in at $746,000 it was still shy of the record $760,000 price we saw in June. As prices were up, the number of sales taking place on Oahu was down 4.5% with 322 sales taking place. Days on Market still favored Sellers with just 16 Days as the median.

Hoakalei Home for $745,000

Hoakalei-Ka Makana Home (MLS # 201616055) listed just under July's median sales price of $745,000

Condo Sales Stats

The surge in the median sales price of a condo was a huge jump as indicated by the title of my article. We saw a 14.3% increase since July of 2015 rounding the price out at an even $400,000. Although slightly off June's record (as well) of $405,000, we're really seeing the effects of people being priced out of the single family home market. The Average Sales Price took an even larger jump finishing at $459,859, which was an 18% increase from last year. We also saw a drop in Median Days on Market by 25% as it's now taking roughly 18 days to sell vs. 24 days a year ago.

Kapahulu condo for $400,000

This Kapahulu condo (MLS # 201618912) is listed for July's median price of $400,000

Serious Lack of Inventory

What's been driving the price appreciation? Once again, it boils down to simple economics of Supply vs. Demand. Here's what's happened to our inventory on Oahu since July of 2015:

  • New Single Family Home Listings were down 11.9%
  • Active Single Family Home Listings were down 4.5%
  • New Condo Listings were down 13.9%
  • Active Condo Listings were 11.6%

Notice the big difference in the active listings of single family homes vs. condos? The larger drop in inventory in the condo market translated into a larger increase in median sales price for condos. Interest correlation isn't it?

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

Neighborhoods “Hot” for Sellers

Neighborhoods “Hot” for Buyers

  • Home sales in Aina Haina-Kuliouou were down 77%*
  • Home prices in Waialae-Kahala were down 10%
  • Condo sales in Makaha-Nanakuli were down 65%
  • Condo prices on the North Shore were down 11%

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.

* In Aina Haina-Kuliouou, there were 13 sales last year vs. only 3 this year. Since there were significantly less deals taking place at higher prices, the data was skewed a bit.

Aug. 2, 2016

Mount Terrace Condo Inventory on the Rise

Over the past 2 months, we've seen an influx of inventory at the Mount Terrace in Hawaii Kai. All 5 listings currently for sale have come online during that period. There's been equally as many sales with 5 transactions taking place over the past 6 months that ranged from $610,000 to $790,000.

Mount Terrace Condo from Kuliouou Beach Park

Everything around the Mount Terrace is green after Tropical Storm Darby's recent rainfall

Current Inventory at Mount Terrace

The most recent and noteworthy of these is the Penthouse F. It's not too often you see one of these hit the market.

Mount Terrace PHF Living Room

Mount Terrace PHF Dining AreaMount Terrace PHF Kitchen

Mount Terrace Penthouse F Living Area, Dining and Kitchen

As you can see, there's a lot of custom hardwoods throughout the unit. Not only do you have phenomenal east views facing of Koko Crater, Koko Head and the marina - the upgrades are truly special for someone looking for the luxury/Hawaiiana feel, which is hard to find in a condo in this day and age.

To learn more about buying or selling at the Mount Terrace in Hawaii Kai, feel free to contact me for more information.

July 25, 2016

Oahu Real Estate Prices Hit Record High in June

The median sales price for single family homes and condos hit record highs this past month on Oahu.

June, 2016 Real Estate Statistics on Oahu

Infographic of Oahu Sales Statistics for June, 2016

Single Family Home Stats

Jumping 8.6% from last year, the median sales price for a single family home on Oahu is now at an all time high of $760,000. It was also a significant bump from May's price of $719,000. Homes were trading briskly with only 14 days being the median days on market. Sales volume was the same as last year with 324 transactions taking place.

Keolu Hills Home for $759,000

Home in Keolu Hills (MLS # 201618511) listed just under June's median at $759,000

Condo Sales Stats

The condo market was up even stronger as the median sales price hit $405,500, which was a 19.8% increase from last year! While the home market remained the same with numbers of transactions, condo sales were up 9.6% with 548 transactions taking place. The median days on market also favored Sellers with just 20 days.

Marco Polo Condo listed for $405,000

Marco Polo Condo (MLS # 201616530) listed just under June's median at $405,000

Historical Data

Median Sales Prices on Oahu Since 1987. Note: New Record High

Now that we've hit new record highs, where do we go from here? Only time will tell... As always, all real estate is local. Here are the neighborhoods on Oahu that were hot for sellers and buyers in May:

Neighborhoods “Hot” for Sellers

  • Home sales in Makakilo were up 129%
  • Home prices in Makaha-Nanakuli and Windward Oahu were up 40%*
  • Condo sales in Waialae-Kahala were up 200%
  • Condo prices in Ala Moana-Kakaako were up 71%

Neighborhoods “Hot” for Buyers

  • Home sales on the Windward Coast were down 67%*
  • Home prices in Kalihi-Palama were down 10%
  • Condo sales in Diamond Head-Kapahulu were down 90%
  • Condo prices in Diamond Head-Kapahulu were down 67%

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.

* Last year there were 6 sales on the Windward Coast, whereas there were only 2 this year, which is why the data was skewed with less sales, however higher prices.

July 12, 2016

Cash Buyers Abound in Waikiki

I recently closed on a few deals in Waikiki where my Sellers received cash offers from Buyers eager to get in the market.

Ilikai Apartment Building #1603

Ilikai Apartment Building #1603 closed July 1, 2016

The first was a Mauka facing unit at the Ilikai. Within the first few days, we received 4 offers - all cash at or above the asking price. We closed in 30 days with an overseas investor that ended up paying $18,000 over asking.

Kaioo Terrace #101

Kaioo Terrace #101 also closed July 1, 2016

The second closing I had that day was also a cash deal where a mainland investor paid full price for unit #101 at Kaioo Terrace. With the uncertainty in the stock market, it's becoming more and more apparent people are looking at real estate as a vehicle to park their hard earned money.

Looking to Buy or Sell in Waikiki?

As you can see, cash buyers are in the marketplace. Feel free to contact us for a no-obligation consultation.

June 26, 2016

Getting Results in Kuapa Isle

A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to have another closing at Kuapa Isle in Hawaii Kai.

Happy Clients use David Buck for Kuapa Isle

Recent sale of 425 Opihikao Place in Kuapa Isle

Demand for Kuapa Isle Units

We ended up getting a full price accepted offer in less than a week. There were a handful of interested parties, however 3 of them had to sell something first. This is a perfect example of how it pays to be ready to jump on something when it pops up. There's still lots of demand as there are two units in escrow and nothing available for sale.

Getting Results

Getting Results at Kuapa Isle

Over the past 2 years, Realtors have participated in 30 transaction sides at Kuapa Isle. I am fortunate enough to have represented a Buyer or Seller in 5 of those 30 sides, which is more than any other Realtor on Oahu. If you're looking to Buy or Sell at Kuapa Isle, feel free to contact me for more information.