David's Real Estate Blog | Dispatches from Diamond Head

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

Jan. 12, 2019

2019 PGA Sony Open and Golf Course Homes in Honolulu

Over the past 10 years, I've been writing articles about Waialae Golf Course fronting homes during the Sony Open. This year is somewhat unique in that there is only 1 listing for sale fronting Waialae Golf Course

4817 Kamoku Way on Waialae Golf Course

This home (MLS # 201830607) listed for $3,795,000 is the only one for sale fronting Waialae Golf Course

This same home was listed during several other Sony Opens in recent years, however has been coming down in price:

  • 2018 - Listed for $3,999,999
  • 2017 - Listed for $4,195,000
  • 2016 - Listed for $4,650,000

History of Listing Inventory During Sony Open

With now nearly $1 million off the asking price in 2015, this home should be lining up to sell. Especially given the limited inventory on Waialae Golf Course today. Going back over the past 10 years, here's the inventory that was for sale on the golf course during the tournament:

  • 2018 - 4 listings averaging $4,937,250
  • 2017 - 6 listings averaging $4,267,500
  • 2016 - 3 listings averaging $4,900,000
  • 2015 - 1 listing for $3,500,000
  • 2014 - 3 listings averaging  $4,126,667
  • 2013 - 2 listings averaging $5,181,500
  • 2012 - 1 listing for $3,195,000
  • 2011 - 3 listings averaging $4,503,333

In the past 10 years, the only other years with only 1 listing were 2015 and 2012. Given the low inventory and recent sales, this one should be ready to sell this year. Here's what's sold since the 2018 Sony Open:

Recent Waialae Golf Course Home Sales

  • April 6th, 2018 - 959 Waiholo Street fronting the 11th fairway closed for $4,095,000
  • September 28, 2018 - 949 Kealaolu Place fronting the 18th hole closed for $4,400,000

Other Honolulu Golf Course Homes

If you don't have roughly $4 million bucks lying around, here's some more affordable options further east in Hawaii Kai:

Laulima Home in Hawaii Kai

This Laulima home in Hawaii Kai (MLS # 201831021) is listed for $1.1 million

Queens Gate home in Hawaii Kai

This Queens Gate home in Hawaii Kai (MLS # 201829860) is listing for $1,120,000

Other Golf Course Options on Oahu

In addition, here's everything else on Oahu fronting a golf course if you're open to other areas. Feel free to contact me for more information.

Oct. 13, 2018

Trump Tower Waikiki Live Auction October 27th

We're really excited about a new listing we've launched at Trump Tower Waikiki as a Harcourts Auctions listing.

Trump Tower #1321 is a studio unit on the far makai (ocean) side of the building at the end of the hall. As you enter the unit you'll see you have ocean views overlooking Fort DeRussy, which is a 70 acre park. Here, you'll be able to enjoy sunsets in the afternoon and Friday night fireworks toward the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

The View

View of Fort DeRussy

View of Fort DeRussy from Trump Tower Waikiki #1321

Living Area

Trump Tower Sofa Bed Trump Tower Waikiki Bed

In the unit, you have a sofa bed and you'll have ocean views from the bed when you wake up in the morning. Once again, this is a Harcourts Auctions non-distressed property with our upcoming auction date on October 27th


Trump Tower Waikiki Kitchen

In the kitchen you have granite countertops and a stainless steel sink. There's a microwave, a Wolf two top burner and a Sub-Zero refrigerator.


Trump Tower Waikiki Bathroom


As you walk into the bathroom, you'll notice dual vanity sinks, a Toto toilet (with sensor) and a shower laden in marble. As you can imagine, this is Trump Waikiki, so everything is high end.

Entry and Closets

Trump Tower Waikiki #1321 Entry

Near the entry you have 2 closets on either side of the doorway to hang your clothes, store your luggage and valuables (yes, there is a safe).

Auction Process

The auction is set take place on October 27th with a start to bid of $500,000. This unit was previously listed for $650,000 and I have a feeling someone is going to get a great deal on this! In addition, the Seller will also entertain offers prior to auction, so feel free to call me if you have any questions. Mahalo!

For more information on the process visit the auction website for this listing directly to download disclosures and to register to bid.

Oct. 8, 2018

Thinking About USAA for a VA Loan in Hawaii?

If you're thinking about using USAA for a VA Loan in Hawaii, you may want to think again. Don't get me wrong, USAA has always been a great platform for our veterans when it comes to insurance products, however when it comes to providing great customer service and closing on time for residential loans, they are nowhere close to being competitive.

Branches of US Military in Hawaii

The VA Loan is an incredible option for our veterans in Hawaii

Having worked with clients from all branches of the military over the past 18 years, the VA Loan is one of the best options out there. It used to only be its ability to leverage high with 100% financing, however after the financial crisis of 2008-2009, VA Loan rates have actually been much better than conventional financing rates. 

Why Veterans Chose USAA

In my experience, many of my clients I assist that PCS here from the mainland or overseas get excited (deservedly so) in our initial conversation about buying a property in Hawaii. Unfortunately, early in the conversation they go on to say "I've been pre-approved with USAA" or "I've been approved by Navy Fed". Outside of their marketing to say they take care of our veterans (which I believe they truly intend to), they are very difficult to communicate with.

Why Not to use USAA

Often times, you need to call a toll free switchboard on the mainland and you almost never have a chance to talk to the same person... I also can't tell you how often the USAA lenders on the mainland do not know our real estate here in Hawaii and deal with Leasehold Lands, condos and termite inspection reports. What can also cause unnecessary stress is their lack of expertise here often leads to deals not closing on time. In addition, I don't recall EVER seeing their rates better than some of the lenders I've used here on the ground that also do VA Loans.

It May Get Worse Before it Gets Better

Just this past month, USAA announced it was cutting 265 jobs. What this means is that their ability to process loans will becoming much worse prior to it getting better. Given all this information, I would highly recommend using a local lender that's based here in Hawaii and can process loans much quicker! Feel free to contact me for more information if you're in the process of using your VA eligibility to buy a home here in Hawaii.

Posted in Loans, Military
Sept. 24, 2018

New Pedestrian Bridge Could Span Ala Wai Canal

I read an article in the Star Advertiser yesterday that talked about a community meeting that took place over the weekend to discuss the possibility of building a new pedestrian bridge across the Ala Wai Canal. This is not the first time I've heard of such a concept, however it appears it's finally gaining some momentum with federal funding behind it.

Condos Along Ala Wai Canal

The Ala Wai Canal on the Mauka (mountain) side of Waikiki

The main straight away of the canal spans just over 2,000 meters and at this point in time, the only ways to cross are by Kapahulu Ave, to Date Street on the East and McCully Bridge to the West. The two proposed sites would cross over at either University Ave on the Mauka side or Seaside Ave. on the Makaai (ocean) side. Either proposal would be a means to connect pedestrian and biking traffic from Waikiki to Kapiolani

In reading the article, it appeared there were people on both sides of the coin. Some thought it was a great idea, while others expressed concern about change and traffic. Both proposed locations would cross relatively close to this location below, which is the canoe halau for Waikiki Surf Club and the Hawaii Canoe and Kayak Team

Waikiki Surf Club Canoes Near University Ave.

Canoes fronting the Ala Wai near University Ave.

Paddling and Rowing 

There's a long history of paddling canoes, kayaks and rowing along the Ala Wai Canal, which can be seen on daily basis. I'd think the paddling community would like to have their input on this topic as there's at least a half dozen clubs that call the Ala Wai home. I've also know friends over the years that paddle there and live in Waikiki and would love to have had a bridge to cut down the commute time. 

Hana Hou Community Meeting and Online Survey

There's another community meeting held tonight at Ala Wai Elementary from 6:30-8:30 PM. To stay up do date, feel free to visit the city's online site or feel free to visit the Ala Pono online survey to give your feedback there.

Posted in Waikiki
Sept. 21, 2018

Waiea and Anaha Penthouses Re-Launched

This past month Howard Hughes re-launched their grand penthouses at Waiea and Anaha.

Waiea Grand Penthouses

The Waiea Grand Penthouses were previously listed with other firms for the past two years as residents moved in the building on lower floors in 2016. They have now been repositioned and relaunched with a fresh start. Here's a little more info. and specs from MLS on these trophy properties:

Waiea Grand Penthouse #3600

Waiea Grand Penthouse #3600 (MLS # 201822052) listed for $36 million

  • Living Area: 10,607 sq. ft.
  • Lanai Area: 1,570 sq. ft.
  • Total Area: 12,177 sq. ft.
  • Bedrooms: 5
  • Bathrooms: 5.5

Waiea Grand Penthouse #3500

Waiea Grand Penthouse #3500 (MLS # 201822050) listed for $35 million

  • Living Area: 8,485 sq. ft.
  • Lanai Area: 2,030 sq. ft.
  • Total Area: 10,515 sq. ft.
  • Bedrooms: 6
  • Bathrooms: 6.5

If/when these are sold anywhere near this price, they will definitely set a new record and standard on Oahu. Last year we saw two condos trade at Park Lane for $18 and $22 million, which smashed previous records in their own right.

Anaha Grand Penthouses

These are offered for the first time in MLS and have yet to be built out and are shooting for completion in 2019. Here's some common area photos and stats on the two in the meantime:

Anaha Recreation Deck and Infinity Pool

Anaha Recreation Deck. Grand PH #3800 (MLS # 201822053) is listed for $22.8 million

  • Living Area: 6,737 sq. ft.
  • Lanai Area: 1,110 sq. ft.
  • Total Area: 7,847 sq. ft.
  • Bedrooms: 5
  • Bathrooms: 6.5

Anaha Lobby and Living Wall

Anaha Lobby. Grand PH #3801 (MLS # 201822048) is listed for $17.5 million

  • Living Area: 5,819 sq. ft.
  • Lanai Area: 915 sq. ft.
  • Total Area: 6,734 sq. ft.
  • Bedrooms: 5
  • Bathrooms: 6.5

If you're interested in any of these grand penthouse offerings or have interest in Waiea, Anaha or other luxury penthouse options on Oahu, feel free to contact me for more information.

Sept. 20, 2018

Oahu Median Home Price Sets New Record at $810,000

This past month, we just hit a new record of $810,000, which is $15,000 higher than the previous record of $795,000 set in June of last year.

August, 2018 Home Stats on Oahu

August, 2018 Market Snapshot on Oahu

Home and Condo Stats

In addition to the record breaking median single family home price, condos finished up 1.9% year over year to finish with a median price of $427,000. There were 354 home sales and 521 sales on the condo front. However, what was a little bit alarming was the number of sales have dropped 9.4% for condominiums.

Still a Seller's Market

It continues to be a Seller's Market with the median days on market just 15 days for single family homes and 18 days for condos.

Auction Update

2233 Ala Wai #18B Auction

On the auction front, we're really excited we launched a non-distressed auction in Waikiki. We got our seller a great price and we're under contract looking to close early next month. It's right down the road from our office on Ala Wai Boulevard.

Recent Sales

Pacific Palisades Sale Pacifica Honolulu Sale Molokai Sale

Pacific Palisades, Pacifica Honolulu and Molokai Sales

What was also exciting about August is we had some agents with some nice closings. Steve Fierros in our office closed on a home in Pacific Palisades as well as representing a Seller at Pacifica Honolulu in Kakaako. Matt Dubrule and I represented some Sellers on the friendly isle of Molokai and got them a great price for 2 acres of ag land.

New Agents on Our Team

Steven Cohen Dianne Willoughby Autumn Spence Lorraine Coleman

Steve, Dianne, Autumn and Lorraine

Rounding out August, we're really excited to announce that we have several new agents that have joined our team. We've got Steven Cohen and Dianne Willoughby that have joined us from Sothebys. In addition to that we have Autumn Spence, an agent on ground in West Maui. We also have Lorraine Coleman over on Molokai. We're happy with our growth here on Oahu and look forward to what the future holds for Harcourts here.

Sept. 18, 2018

Keapuka Home in Kaneohe Sold Over Asking

This morning we recorded on a mid century modern home in Kaneohe's Keapuka neighborhood.

Keapuka Home and Yard on Liula

Keapuka Home (MLS # 201820920) Sold Over Asking

Over the course of one week, we held 2 Open Homes, had 27 parties through the door, received 11 offers and sold $20,000 over asking price! This is a sleeper of a neighborhood in Kaneohe with little turnover and high demand. The majority of the buyers loved the location, price and mid century architecture that was in near original condition, leaving a blank slate to work with. These were original owners that took great care of their home.

Mid Century Architecture

Liula Mid Century Living Room

Liula Mid Century Dining Liula Street Kitchen

Original redwood walls, flooring and retro furnishing

Liula Great Room Liula Open Beam Ceiling

Open high beam ceiling in great room

We're excited for the new owners to make this their own. We do know however that the demand for a product for this is much higher than available inventory, so if you're thinking about selling a mid century modern home in Kaneohe (or elsewhere), feel free to contact me to see how Harcourts Island Real Estate and our team can help get your property sold.

Sept. 10, 2018

Alfred Preis Diamond Head Home Back on Market

A home designed by the late Alfred Preis is back on the market in Diamond Head for the 5th time in the last 3.5 years.

3234 Noela Drive in Diamond Head

3234 Noela Drive (MLS # 201821245) is back on market for $3,285,000

Since early 2015, this home has been on and off the market, listed as high as $4.1 million. The owner paid $2.6 million back in 2010. It is definitely a lot of house, with over 6,700 sq. ft. under roof and much larger (and boxier) than most of the Preis homes I've seen over the years. Built in 1962, it doesn't have the same feel as some of his other "mid-century modern" style of home, however some of the features he used here were similar to his other works.

Built-In Cabinetry and Wet Bar

Noela Wet Bar

Noela Library Noela Built Ins

Built in Hardwood Cabinetry and Wetbar off Living Room

The use of hardwood built-in features as well as wet bar feature have been seen in many of Alfred Preis' other works scattered throughout Oahu. Outside of the living space and mid-century features, the home boasts a nice indoor/outdoor feel around the pool and spa.

Indoor/Outdoor Living with Pool and Spa

Noela Pool

Noela SpaNoela Indoor Outdoor Living

Pool, spa and indoor/outdoor living

If you think you'd be interested in this or other mid century modern homes on Oahu, feel free to contact me for more information.

Sept. 2, 2018

Capitol Place: 10 Years Later

It's hard to believe it's been 10 years since Capitol Place was built in Downtown Honolulu.

Capitol Place in Downtown Honolulu

Capitol Place in Downtown Honolulu

2008: Quality Product Met Demand

Capitol Place was completed in 2008 and developed by the MacNaughton and Kobayashi Groups - both visionaries and brought a lot of the successes from Hokua, which they just wrapped up 2 years prior. The project was also a joint venture with the late auto dealer Jimmy Plueger who had owned the land. It was the first of its kind with a retail car dealership on the ground level and fee simple condos above. Since then, Oliver McMillan teamed up with JN Extotics to develop a similar concept - Symphony Honolulu in Kakaako (completed in 2016).

At the time of the launch, the majority of the product sold out very quickly. Unlike The Pinnacle Honolulu across the street that still has residual developer product to this day, the developers of Capitol Place hit the market pricing right just before the market turned in the global financial crisis in the fall of 2008. Here's the historical data since:

Capitol Place Condo Sales 2008-2018

Historical Pricing on Capitol Place 1, 2 and 3 Bedroom Condos

Looking Back on the Past 10 Years

The graph above shows both the median and average sales price of 1, 2 and 3 bedroom condo sales from 2008 through 2018 (YTD). What's apparently clear (like most Oahu real estate since) is 2009-2012 were definitely the years to buy in hindsight. Also, like most Oahu real estate the prices are quite a bit higher than they were at the previous peak. We're fortunate in that there's still many markets across the US where prices have not rebounded since their all time highs. 

By looking at the data above, which product do you think appreciated the best? The 1, 2 or 3 bedroom product? Here's the raw numbers and appreciation from 2008 to 2018:

  • 3 Bed Median $851,001 to $925,000 = 8.7%
  • 3 Bed Average $849,860 to $922,500 = 8.5%
  • 2 Bed Median $640,000 to $812,500 = 27%
  • 2 Bed Average $642,597 to $808,400 = 26%
  • 1 Bed Median $465,000 to $625,000 = 34%
  • 1 Bed Average $470,169 to $625,000 = 33%

So, it appears the 1 bed units appreciated the most over time. Both the 1 and 2 bed units appreciated over 3 times more than the 3 bed units! Hindsight is always 20/20, however perhaps a takeaway is to buy something that's more affordable?

Anchor Name Change

Another major change outside of the condos themselves is Phlueger Honda rebranded as Pacific Honda after some of the negative press received of the late Jimmy Phlueger. Although he did a lot of good for the community on Oahu, the constant news coverage of the Koloko Dam Breach on Kauai probably made it a good idea to move forward with less distractions from their core business.

Still a Great Buy?

There's not much competition if you want a quality product in Downtown Honolulu. Most all the new construction is taking place in Kakaako and if you want the ability to walk to work, live in a building with outstanding service, pet friendly environment and one of the nicer condo gyms in town, Capitol Place could be the right place for you. If you're thinking about buying or selling at Capitol Place, feel free to contact me for more information.

Aug. 18, 2018

Oahu Median Home Price 2nd Highest on Record

The median sales price for a single family home on Oahu hit $789,500 in July, which was the 2nd highest on record. The current record is $795,000 set in June of last year.

July Home Stats on Oahu

Single Family Home Stats

Hoakalei Home asking $788,000

This Hoakalei home (MLS # 201814344) priced at $788k is just under July's median

In addition to nearing the record high, there were 1.5% less homes selling on Oahu, which drove higher demand and the average sales price increased a whopping 10% from last year to finish at $974,835! The median days on market finished at just 13 days, which is a 35% drop compared to this time last year. Hence, we're still in a strong Seller's Market according to the data.

Condo Sales Stats

Waikele Condo for $429,000

This Waikele condo (MLS #201819102) is priced at $429,000 just under July's median

The median condo price of $429,500 also was near a record high. The previous condo record price of $435,000 was set in March. Sales increased 5.7% to round out with 507 closed transactions for the month. Although Days on Market increased 28.6% from 14 to 18 days, it was still a Seller's Market for sure.

To find out what is happening in your specific neighborhood (or street for that matter), feel free to contact me for more information.