David's Real Estate Blog | Dispatches from Diamond Head

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

May 24, 2018

Rising Interest Rates and Purchasing Power in Hawaii

In Hawaii, we are known to have some of the highest real estate prices in the country. So far this year, we've seen a steady increase in interest rates. To keep things simple, here's an illustration that shows how an increase in rates over time could lead to less purchasing power for a Buyer.

Interest Rates and Purchasing Power in Hawaii

Although it's tough to find a home or condo here these days for $350,000 or less, the point this illustrates is an increase in interest rates from 4% to 5% reduces a Buyer's purchase power by over 11%! 

If this trend continues, it'll make housing less affordable for those that are financing. If you're on the fence and will be financing, I'd recommend speaking with a lender to see where you stand as it may make a difference between affording to buy now vs. missing the market. 

The illustration above was provided by courtesy of William Doom with Loan Depot. To find out today's current rates, feel free to check with him for more information.

Posted in Loans
May 3, 2018

Own Two Homes on Hawaii Loa Ridge for the Price of One

In addition to me having the lowest priced listing on Hawaii Loa Ridge for sale, the home next door is also a great bargain.

88 and 96 Moaniala Place

88 Moaniala Place (highlighted) and 96 Moaniala Place (red roof) are both available for sale

Rare Opportunity

It's not that often you have two homes listed right next door to each other, let alone as such great prices for a given neighborhood.  In the past year, the median sales price on Hawaii Loa Ridge was $2,500,000 with a few homes trading over $4 million! If someone wanted to buy both 88 Moaniala Place (MLS # 201804433) for $1,680,000 and 96 Moaniala Place (MLS # 201801582) for $2,300,000 the combined price would be $3,980,000 for two homes!

This is a great opportunity when you consider 828 Moaniala St (MLS #201630748) around the corner with the blue tiled roof in the photo is listed for $12,200,000.

If you know anyone looking for a compound with 2 separate homes and parcels adjacent to each other on Oahu's premier gated community, feel free to contact me for more information.

April 23, 2018

Lost TV Star Lists Marina Front Home in Hawaii Kai

Lost TV Star Josh Holloway just listed his marina front home in Hawaii Kai's West Marina neighborhood.

338 Awini Way in Hawaii Kai

338 Awini Way (MLS # 201809956) is listed for $1,150,000

Island Life

338 Awini Place on the Marina

338 Awini Yard338 Awini Outdoor Space

Marina perspective, front yard and back door space to the marina

Situated on a peninsula in the back corner of the marina, the home sits on a cul de sac and has the feeling of the outdoors with ample yard space and a nice back deck great for entertaining. Having the ability to access the marina from your back yard is priceless. Imagine taking your boat, canoe, kayak or SUP in the marina or out to the ocean....

Cozy Indoor Space

338 Awini Living Room

338 Awini Kitchen338 Awini Bedroom

Hardwood flooring, upgraded kitchen and split AC

Although the home is listed in MLS as built in 1962 and remodeled in 1982, it's pretty apparent there have been lots of other upgrades along the way with beautiful hardwood flooring, an upgraded kitchen with stainless steel appliances and split air conditioning units in the living area and bedrooms.

Priced to Sell

Halloway purchased the home back in 2005 for $774,000. It's priced to sell as the lowest priced detached single family home on the marina at $1,150,000. The next lowest price one for sale on the marina another marina front home in West Marina for $1,499,000 at 6312 Ookala Place.

This is also a bargain when considering it's priced near where attached town home units at nearby Kuapa Isle have been selling for. Imagine being able to get a detached single family home on the marina for the same price...

Posted in Hawaii Kai, Kuapa Isle
April 12, 2018

Waialae Iki Home by Ossipoff Partner Back on Market

The former home of Sid Snyder, who was Vladimir Ossipoff's partner in his architectural firm is back on the market. 

Snyder Ossipoff Waialae Iki Home

Home by Ossipoff Snyder (MLS # 201808648) on Waialae Iki

Snyder sold the home in 2015 for $2.8 million and at the time was the highest sale ever on Waialae Iki. Last year, that number was surpassed with a home sale in Waialae Iki 5 for $3,550,000. The current ask price is $2,950,000, which is a modest uptick from 3 years ago. Built in 1969 on roughly 1/3 of an acre, this is truly a treasure someone else will have a crack at to own a piece of history.

Ossipoff Snyder Modern Design

Snyder Ossipoff OfficeOssipoff Snyder Kitchen

Modern Design with High Ceilings

A "More Modern" Mid Century Modern

Like most of the mid century modern homes on Oahu that used the more narrow CMU blocks for construction in the 1950's this home was built later and used the larger more traditional CMU blocks that are seen more prevalent in the latter half of the 20th century.

To learn more about mid century modern homes, feel free to check out my blog or visit my page with the latest listings on Oahu.

April 11, 2018

Median Condo Price on Oahu Reaches a New High

The median sales price for a condo on Oahu just set a new record high of $435,000. 

March 2018 Real Estate Sales Stas in

March, 2018 Sales Stats on Oahu

Condo Sales Stats

Diamond Head Ambassador Condo for $435,000

Diamond Head Ambassador unit (MLS # 201800745) listed for March median of $435k

The previous record on Oahu was $430,000 in January. It's become apparent that the bar is being raised for entry level pricing into the marketplace. On top of that, we've seen an uptick in luxury condo closings in neighborhoods like Ala Moana and Kakaako, The median days on market was just 16 days, which further fueled the Seller's Market.

Single Family Home Stats

Hoakalei Home in Ewa Beach for $760,000

This Hoakalei Home (MLS # 201801786) is listed for the March median price of $760k

The median sales price for a single family home was up just 1.1% from last year and didn't quite hit a new record like the condo prices (record price was $795,000 in June of last year). However, that is not to say it wasn't a Seller's Market for homeowners. Homes were selling fast with just 14 days on market! 

Here to Help with 2018 Real Estate Goals

I know we're in the middle of tax season, however if you're looking to buy or sell on Oahu, let us know how we can help.

March 18, 2018

La Pietra - Best Kept Secret on the Slopes of Diamond Head

Nestled on the slopes of Diamond Head are the La Pietra Town Homes  There are only 38 homes in this lush green development.  Although they are attached townhouses, the feeling is much more of single family residences. 

La Pietra at Diamond Head

La Pietra on the slopes of Diamond Head

Originally built in 1970 on a portion of the Walter Dillingham Estate called La Pietra, after a villa in Italy.  The other portion and actual residence is now La Pietra Girls School, which moved there in 1969.

This gated community is within walking distance of Kapiolani Park, Diamond Head Tennis  Courts, and the beach at Diamond Head with restaurants and 2 oceanfront private clubs.  It is a short drive to Kahala Mall as well as Kapahulu and Kaimuki where there are ample shopping and dining choices.

Currently there are three homes listed for sale: 

3084 La Pietra

1. 3084 La Pietra Circle (MLS # 201717109)

3082 La Pietra

2. 3082 La Pietra Circle (MLS # 201726330)

3019 La Pietra

3. 3019 La Pietra Circle (MLS # 201811817)

All three have been extensively remodeled and updated within the last few years.  Each unit features a private back yard, 2 covered parking stalls, and access to the heated swimming pool.  The relatively low monthly maintenance fee is $1,500/mo.

Owning in La Pietra is a perfect alternative to the higher priced single-family homes in the Diamond Head and Kahala area, or smaller condos on the Gold Coast.  

Feb. 27, 2018

Live Auctions March 9th and 10th: Hawaii Loa Ridge Home and Kapiolani Townhouse Penthouse

We're really excited to announce our first two auction listings with Harcourts Auctions.

1. March 9th - Hawaii Loa Ridge Home

88 Moaniala Place

88 Moaniala Place (MLS # 201804433) in Gated Community

We're having Open Houses twice a week until then. Start to bid will be $1,500,000. For more information on all the due diligence docs such as Home Inspection, Termite Inspection, Survey, Seller's Disclosure and Preliminary Title Report please visit our Auction Detail Page to download and the documents and register to bid.

2. March 10th - Penthouse at Kapiolani Townhouse

Kapiolani Townhouse Penthouse

Kapiolani Townhouse Penthouse (MLS # 201804368) Oversized Lanai

This one is also having Open Houses twice a week until then. Start to bid will be $380,000. For more information on all the due diligence docs such as Home Inspection, Termite Inspection, Condo Docs, Seller's Disclosure and Preliminary Title Report please visit our Auction Detail Page to download and the documents and register to bid.

Buying at Auction

Buying Process Explained by Ben Brady

Feel free to contact me for more information. Mahalo

Feb. 19, 2018

Residential Real Estate Differences: Denmark vs. the United States

Real Estate Differences Between Denmark and the US, specifically Hawaii.

Denmark and United States Flags

To be on the sideline in Hawaii sure is different from how it is in Denmark. I haven't actually been with a Realtor in Denmark, but during my 3 semesters on the academy, we have had a lot of lectures and speeches from Realtors, and other people in the business. Even the legislations are very different on major key points. This might be because it has been decided to be done this way, or if realtors in Denmark are just too used to the ways its been done since the beginning. Let me take you through some of the major differences.

Sellers Agent & Buyers Agent

In the US, the seller obviously has an agent, but so does the buyer. If both parties can agree in terms of price etc. the house is sold. After this, the seller's agent, and the buyer's agent shares the commission. Even the same Realtor can represent the buyer and the seller if they both agree to those terms, and the Realtor can keep the commission to himself, after the cut his firm may or may not take. 

In Denmark, this is very different. In Denmark, the commission is only split within the same company the Realtor is from. So if I get a client who wants to sell their house, I am guaranteed to get some kind of commission, as long as we sell the house. The percentage of this can differ though. 

Buyers agency is very rarely used, and if it is, the Realtor is not getting anything out of it, other than a potential client if they choose to sell in the future.

How Realtors Get Paid

Now, most Realtors, either its Denmark or USA, are mostly only on commission, instead of a standard monthly salary. That means if you sell nothing for a whole month, you simply do not get paid. If you sell a lot, you can potentially get paid a lot. I'm sure there are cases where people are getting the same rate every month, but then a lower commission rate if any at all. They'd still have to show results, in order to keep their jobs.

In Denmark, the standard template is 70% to the company and 30% to the Realtor. If it is not the same Realtor who listed the property, the commission is split between the listing agent and the selling agent. A few people want to have a fixed salary each month, and will then get a much lower commission.  

In the US, there is no one or two answer for this, and I do not think there is a "standard" template to follow. It depends on the firm and the negotiated contract between the realtor and the firm he is employed by. This could vary from 50% and all the way to almost 100% to the realtor, and the remaining to the company. 

This potentially gives the company very small buffer in case they have a case where a client needs to be compensated for "damage" done by the realtor, and they also have other expenses that need to be paid for. Ex rent for the office/offices. 

Now, I don't know how the rates for giving false information or any damage in that sense, are in the US, but in Denmark, I have a few examples of the Realtor's liability. 

If the Realtor with a disadvantage for the consumer has miscalculated the proceeds, he needs to compensate every single dollar, between the right and wrong calculation.

A miscalculation in the owner's monthly expenses to sit in the concerned property is a compensation between the wrong and the right calculation, times 10. So if there's a 2000 dollar difference, the realtor has to pay 20,000 dollars to the buyer in compensation. Of course, these examples are rarely seen, as Realtors should not make mistakes in the first place, and everything is looked through multiple times, but just shows that the company needs some kind of buffer, just in case there is an incident, as the money is not paid from the realtors own pocket, but by the firm.

Price Range

The price range is wider in Hawaii. Of course, Hawaii being a tropical island, their conditions for expensive houses with an amazing view are much better than they are in Denmark, and being located not very far away from Asia and USA, it is even a second home for some owners. On the other hand though, it is much cheaper to live in Denmark, and I feel like you get more house for your money, just without everything that comes with it, when buying a house in Hawaii. 

Comparing the two markets is hard. There are certain things that I like more about Denmark, but also certain things I'd like to have in Denmark. The Danish market seems to be more protected for the buyer and puts more of the risk on the Realtor. Not doing it more attractive for the market to be using a buyers agent, seems weird though, in a market that focuses so much on protecting the buyer. Having a lower income than the actual Realtor in some firms seems like there is little to no risk for the company in the US though. Are the process easier to complete in USA compared to Denmark, or is the Danish market just making it harder to be a Realtor in Denmark? I can probably give you that answer in a few years.

By Alexander Vinderslev

Feb. 15, 2018

Hawaii Loa Ridge Homes and First Impressions

Monday morning, my first week has passed and a new has started. David had just listed a beautiful house, which is going to be the first auction from Harcourts in Hawaii. Very exciting! David had at this time not told me much about the property, but I was excited to see it. It's always an experience to look at houses here, and this one was no exception. At a great location a bit outside the busy Waikiki and Diamond Head, but still close enough for me to call it centrally located, we drive into Hawaii Loa Ridge. One of the top luxury gated communities in Hawaii, which even has its own gated community within itself.

Ocean View from Hawaii Loa Ridge Home

Ocean View from upcoming Hawaii Loa Ridge listing

Driving into the area, it was for me a little weird with the safety guard and barriers. Just being kind of cut off to the world was a weird thought for me. Currently, there are no gated communities in Denmark as the Danish people do feel safe enough just living there, so the demand for it is very low.

Thinking about it further though, helped me understand. First off, even a $1.5 million dollar house is pretty uncommon in Denmark, and with a price range from $1.5 all the way to currently $35 million dollars, I get it. I mean, if I could choose to live in an open community with the same view, versus a gated community with the view, I'd choose the gated community anytime. Let me tell you why.

Driving into Hawaii Loa Ridge, as soon as you're past the guard and barrier, everything just goes silent behind you, apart from the nature around you. You're driving uphill, away from traffic, and into this beautiful community, with great looking houses, no traffic, beautiful nature and one of the most stunning views money can buy. From now on, you have little to no worry about your house being robbed, being annoyed by traffic, or anything of that sort. Going on vacation, or just out of town for a few days would give me ease of mind, that it has been cut off from the rest of the community, and everything is there when you get back home. I can even imagine my girlfriend going for an evening walk with the dog without a worry in the world. 

The house listed is not an oceanfront house, but it does come with an amazing view. A view that especially from the first floor is absolutely jaw-dropping, and apparently, most of the houses with that kind of view, usually goes for $2+ million dollars. This is going to be listed under $2 million. The thing is, most of the neighbor houses will most likely be more obstructed from the houses across the street, but this one is built up on a ridge, and the house across is fairly low built on a ridge that is lower, which opens up the landscape from this address.

So yes, the view is obstructed by the houses across the road, but for the price, and the area that is usually much higher in terms of price, I'd get this any day. 

This picture is taken from one of the bedrooms upstairs, which are all located towards this view by the way. You'd think that the view would be completely obstructed in the joint kitchen/living room area, but it's not. You still get almost the same view of the ocean, Waikiki and Diamond head to your right, and Hawaii Kai to your left. 

Within Hawaii Loa Ridge, you will only find very few houses that are priced at $2 million and below. Out of the small collection, I'd call this one out as the best deal at the moment. Now, I haven't actually seen the others inside in person but based on what the pictures can tell me, and the stats on the houses, this one seems to be better designed, in terms of useful space. Besides that, this is a newer house than the others, by a couple of years.

The upcoming auction on this house is gonna be really exciting! I find it a great deal, for a beautiful house, that is newer than some of the more expensive ones on the market today, and compared to the $2 million dollar house on Koloa Street I wrote about from my first week here, in another end of the city, this for me is a no brainer. It doesn't come with a lot of outdoor space, or with a pool, but you're still getting an amazing ocean view, that some of your neighbors are definitely gonna envy.

By Alexander Vinderslev

Feb. 7, 2018

Crash Course on Honolulu Luxury Condos: Park Lane at Ala Moana

Tuesday, my 2nd day with Harcourts, and today was a big one. We were invited to go look at some new, premium condos at Park Lane and having done no research about the area, I could hear from David that they're pretty good. David is very professional and has been doing this for a while, so before I heard the prices of these condos, he was pretty casual about bringing me there, and I was just happy to be brought to the field, to be honest. 

Park Lane Lobby

View from Park Lane Lobby

I had no way to prepare myself for what was in store for me there, and hearing the price range on them, was pretty far from anything we have in Denmark, even if compared to a premium house as well. Before getting to Park Lane, you can definitely see things change with the area, in the sense that the buildings are bigger, the cars are lower and faster and you can pretty much smell the water. Located facing towards the water, right in front of the Ala Moana Center, we had 219 brand new luxurious condominiums, with only 8 left for sale ranging from $7.5-$29 million dollars for a Penthouse. In Denmark, the highest price I'm aware of for a home is $15 million.

Driving up to the property, we park the car in what looks like a small roundabout. Apparently, they have valet service there. We go to the lobby, where they have a front desk and a nice waiting lounge with an already amazing view.

Park Lane Pool

Park Lane Pool

The first part of the tour, we were viewing the common areas like the pool, and some of the amenities they have available to their residents. Some of these, but not limited to, was a pool, barbecue area, cinema, spa, and kitchens with larger tables available if they were having a lot of people over. These areas were free to use, and should simply be booked beforehand. There was also "the great lawn" which was envisioned after Kukio on the Big Island and should be a highly sought after meeting place.

The Great Lawn at Park Lane

The Great Lawn at Park Lane

The first condo was fully furnished, with all the best, in order for potential buyers to see what the place could look like, as the one they're probably looking at, will be empty. Seeing this first, helped tremendously with imagining what kind of space would be available instead of only being able to view the condo empty. This was sold with the interior furniture (separately) for $7.9 million dollars.

Park Lane Bedroom

Park Lane Furnished Bedroom

Afterwards, we viewed some of the condos which had not yet been sold, in order to get an idea of the different kind of views they offered.

View of Ala Moana Beach Park from Park Lane

View of Ala Moana Beach Park from Park Lane Lanai

After the tour, I caught myself trying to process what I had just experienced. Doing different kind of assignments back in Denmark, we once had to look for the most expensive property for sale at that moment. 1 property came up, and the second one after that was a lot cheaper, so even finding a property close to the lower-priced properties at Park Lane is difficult, and you'll only find 1 in Denmark. There is no real way to compare the markets, but I still find the difference incredible, as we have nothing even close to Park Lane, either property or price-wise.

Harcourts Crew at Park Lane

Here I am (on the left) with some of the Harcourts Team at Park Lane

This is the most luxurious and thought through properties I have ever witnessed, with my own eyes. This is something, at least us from Denmark, have only seen on pictures and in movies, and can only try to imagine what is like in real life. What an experience.

By Alexander Vinderslev

Posted in Ala Moana, Luxury, Park Lane