David's Real Estate Blog | Dispatches from Diamond Head

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

March 19, 2019

Tennis Tuesdays: 3 Harcourts Listings with Tennis Courts

This Tuesday, we're featuring 3 of our office listings that have tennis courts. One of the advantage of purchasing real estate on Oahu with a tennis court is you may not have to wait long to play like the typical public courts or those at the local country clubs. Here are 3 listings in town where home ownership and a great match of tennis could go hand in hand:

Koolani Tennis Court

1. Koolani #4203 (MLS # 201905115

This 2 bed, 2 bath condo is in Kakaako and listed by David E. Buck, Realtor for $1,080,000.

Honolulu Park Place Tennis Court

2. Honolulu Park Place #1310 (MLS # 201904102)

This 1 bed, 1 bath in Chinatown already has an accepted offer on it and is listed by Steven G. Fierros, Realtor-Associate for $549,500 and includes 2 parking stalls!

Marco Polo Tennis Court

3. Marco Polo #2204 (MLS # 201904720)

This 1 bed, 1 bath condo in Kapiolani is being auctioned this Thursday by Dianne Willoughby, Realtor

They're all great buys and sure beats the price of paying for a country club when you can play tennis on site where you live, whether it be Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or any day of the week for that matter! If you're looking for a tennis property on Oahu, feel free to contact us for more information.

Posted in Honolulu, Kakaako, Tennis
March 18, 2019

Register to Bid: Marco Polo Auction this Week

Time is running out to bid for our Harcourts Auctions Marco Polo #2204 this week. Here's some reasons why to register to bid this week:

Marco Polo Pool in Honolulu

The pool at the Marco Polo in Honolulu

1. Banks Starting to Lend Again

Where could you find a better place to play "Marco Polo" than the Marco Polo in Honolulu? All puns aside, this is an opportune time to get in on this building as we just found out this week Territorial Savings is lending on Marco Polo. Since the Marco Polo fire in 2017, banks haven't been lending on the building. There's only been very few trades in the building as it's been limited to cash buyers.

2. There Hasn't Been a High Floor 1 Bed for a Long Time

Marco Polo 2204 Kitchen and Living

22nd Floor 1 Bed Unit (MLS # 201904720) #2204

This unit is on the 22nd floor and has great mauka views towards the Koolaus. In addition, most of the units that have sold since the fire for cash sales were units that had extensive damage from the fire. Meanwhile, this unit is in great shape and was tenant occupied just until recently.

3. The Building is Working on Retrofitting for Sprinklers

One of the reasons people have been sitting on the sidelines is the fear of another fire and also not knowing the status of the what's been going on since the fire. In the Harcourts Auctions link, you can register and download the due diligence package ahead of time to see all that's been going on since. In addition, once the building is sprinklered there's a good chance the prices will start appreciating again.

Opportunity Comes Once in a Lifetime

Just think about it, a few years down the road looking back and possibly timing the market right to buy the lowest priced condo at the Marco Polo in many, many years.... To quote the entertainer Eminem that recently performed at Aloha Stadium - Opportunity Comes Once in a Lifetime. Time will tell if that's the case here.

March 17, 2019

Median Prices up Slightly in February

The median sales price for single family homes and condos on Oahu were up slightly in February.

February 2019 Real Estate Statistics on Oahu

Single Family Home Stats

Newtown Home for $789,000

This home in Newtown (MLS # 201905550) is listed for February's median price of $789,000

The median sales price for a single family home finished at $789,000, which was up 2.1% from February of 2018. The number of sales, however have dropped 4.1% since last year with 208 transactions taking place. Sellers were still doing ok as well with the median days on market stood at just 25 days.

Condo Sales Stats

Island Colony Condo in Waikiki for $415,000

This Island Colony Condo in Waikiki (MLS #201831524) is priced at Feb's median of $415k

On the condo front, prices were up even less by 1.5% to finish at $415,000. It's still a step in the right direction for owners overall. Unfortunately, the number of condo sales fell 16.6% from a year ago. Meanwhile, the days on market mirrored single family homes at 25 days.

The Elephant in the Room: Increasing Inventory

  • Months of remaining inventory for Homes increased 60% from 2 months to 3.2 months
  • Active Listings of Homes increased 41.6% from 1,014 to 1,436
  • Months of remaining inventory for Condos increased 44% from 2.5 to 3.6 months
  • Active Listings of Condos increased 30.9% from 1,789 to 2,342

Is the sky falling? It's hard to say at this point.

Bad News: This is a dramatic increase in inventory.

Good News: According to the National Association of Realtors, a Seller's Market is defined by anything less than 6 months of remaining inventory. 

Although inventory has increased dramatically, we've technically still got a ways to go to become a Buyer's Market. However, if this momentum of increasing inventory continues without absorption, we could get there much sooner...

All Real Estate is Local

To learn more about what's happening in your particular neighborhood or building, feel free to contact us for more information.

Feb. 27, 2019

Real Estate Terms in Pidgin English Translated by an Australian

We recently had some fun trying to test Ben Brady, our Regional Director of Harcourts Pacific on his skills translating pidgin english pertaining to real estate here in Hawaii. Ben was at the corporate office in California, while David was on the beach in Waikiki. Let's see how he did...

Questions:

  1. Oh, what kine hale you going look for?
  2. Where da lua stay in this house?
  3. Ho - da buggah stay bakin!
  4. I need one house whea tutu and aunty going sleep. Where you goin' find me dat kine?
  5. Wen da kine opala goin' get picked up?

For an Aussie, he actually didn't do that bad! This puts some perspective into our unique dialects that Harcourts offices work with throughout the world. Whether it be Australia, New Zealand, South Africa or other english speaking countries we all have some "lingo" that is unique to our areas.

Just to be clear here, I don't typically "bust out" this form of talking when working with clients, however I'm always glad to if you'd like :) Ha!

Feb. 12, 2019

Client Testimonial - Charley Memminger

Charley Memminger, local award winning author recently took some time out of his busy schedule to sit down and share his wonderful home selling experience with our Harcourts Realtor Dianne Willoughby.

He and his wife hired Dianne to sell his 3rd house that they've owned in Hawaii. Dianne came highly recommended and they stood out of the way and let her work. She prepped them that they don't have to worry about anything. Buying and Selling a house in Hawaii is one of the biggest financial things that most people do. 

When Dianne came along, it was on the market for basically 3 days and they got an offer above what they were asking! Since they've been through this process a few times before and have seen the bad side of it, this was just amazing and it was a pleasure.

Posted in Testimonials
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

Kitchen

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.

Bathroom

Trump Tower Waikiki Bathroom

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.