David's Real Estate Blog | Dispatches from Diamond Head

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

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.

July 20, 2018

Liliuokalani Trust Lease to Fee Conversion

This week I attended an informational meeting at Jefferson Elementary School on the Lease to Fee Conversion of the remaining Leasehold units at Foster Tower, Liliuokalani Gardens, Waikiki Banyan and Waikiki Sunset.

The reason I went was twofold:

1. Learn about the process for the remaining Lessees that wish to purchase the fee

2. Learn about the investment opportunity for 3rd party investors to purchase the fee 

The meeting was hosted by Peter Savio of Savio Realty LTD as they are the exclusive brokerage representing Liliuokalani Trust in the sale of these remaining units.

Peter Savio speaking about fee purchase

Peter Savio at Jefferson Elementary discussing Lease to Fee Conversion

Liliuokalani Trust hired the right guy for the job as Peter Savio has literally done thousands of these unit conversions over the years. He weighed out the pros/cons and options the Lessees (that have not already purchased the fee to their unit) have:

  1. They can Buy the Fee
  2. They can remain in their unit and surrender the improvements when the lease is up
  3. They can sell now (as leasehold) and offer the fee purchase simultaneous to a Buyer

He also made it quite clear that this is the 4th (and most likely the last) offering to the lessees. Roughly 90-95% of the owners in the buildings have already taken advantage of the opportunity to buy, so it gets more costly due to smaller scale for Liliuokalani Trust to go through this process each time. Thus - after this last shot, the fee interest will be available to 3rd party investors.

The deadline for the Lessees to go to contract is November 27, 2018 and the closing deadline is February 25, 2019. After that, the trust plans to put fee interest in those units available to 3rd party investors.

Here's the takeaways I got in each tower:

Foster Tower

The Foster Tower fee purchases were by far the highest due to the location and views from the building. Studio units start at $287,300-$290,500 on the lower floors, ranging from $600k + for the fee on 1 bed units and the Penthouse units were well over $1 million. The land lease expires in 2034.

Liliuokalani Gardens

There are 18 units remaining with the land lease expiring in 2039. The Fee purchase on the studios ranged from $117,000-$120,000, 1 beds $191,000-204,000 and 2 beds $309,000.

Waikiki Banyan

There are 45 timeshare units where the fee purchase is available today to 3rd party investors. There's an additional 20 units (65 total) being offered to lessees and the land lease expires in 2035. Since all the units are 1 bedrooms at Waikiki Banyan, they were all being offered for $191,500 each. The penthouse units which were slightly higher, which from experience probably has to do with the higher ceilings.

Waikiki Sunset

95% of the fee simple interest has already been sold to lessees in the past. Only 20 remain leasehold and the land lease expires in 2036. The fee purchase on the 1 bedroom units is $183,000 and $216,200 on the 2 bed units.

Have more interest?

If you're a lessee and have more interest in purchasing the fee before it's too late or a 3rd party investor interested in picking up the fee interest in one of these prime Waikiki Condos, feel free to contact me for more information.

Posted in Penthouses, Waikiki
July 13, 2018

Marco Polo Fire - Condo Sales 1 Year Later

It's hard to believe tomorrow marks a year since the tragic fire at the Marco Polo Apartments on Kapiolani Blvd. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was coaching my daughter's canoe team on the Diamond Head side of the Ala Wai canal when we saw all the smoke and heard the fire engines.

Marco Polo post fire burn mark

Post fire damage of the Marco Polo

When I heard it was the Marco Polo, the first thing that ran through my head and shared with the coaches at paddling is it won't be good... Having been a Honolulu Firefighter for roughly 8 years, I knew the building had an enclosed hallway and was hard to ventilate. I also knew it was an older building that most likely didn't have sprinklers and the chances of the fire spreading throughout the hall from unit to unit would increase.

Tragic Day and Lessons Learned

It's really sad that 4 people lost their lives that day. A year later we've seen politicians and the community try to pass legislation for older buildings to retrofit for sprinklers. We also have seen in recent days in the news that (to no surprise) a handful of lawsuits are out there.

My predictions after the event was that sales in the building would come to a grinding halt as the building, knowing it would be hard to get a financing on with litigation, fear and uncertainty. I recall looking up the building in MLS the following Saturday morning and saw there were a few units in escrow.  Unfortunately, all those deals fell apart.

Marco Polo Sales 1 Year After Fire

Here's the data that came to fruition since:

Marco Polo Condo Sales Before and After Fire

Marco Polo Sales 1 Year After Fire and Years Prior to Fire

Since the fire that took place on July 14, 2017 there have only been 2 sales that have closed in MLS (both of which closed last month):

  • Unit #3506 closed on June 20, 2018 for $570,000
  • Unit #3409 closed on June 25, 2018 for $490,000

The last sale prior to that was July 12, 2017 (2 days prior to the fire). In the 365 days prior to the fire there were 21 sales, 24 the year prior and 35 the year prior to that. Both of the deals that closed last month were (as predicted) cash deals. Of the 5 units currently for sale in the building they have an average of 99 Days on market which is nearly 5 times the average days on market for condo sales on Oahu.

Going Forward

We pray that time will heal those that have lost loved ones. I also predict that time will heal sales in the building. In the past 10 years we saw other buildings in town such as the Ilikai and Moana Pacific that went through some tough times when they were in litigation. Over time, banks WILL start lending again at Marco Polo.  It's not a matter of if, it's when. I can't predict when that will happen, however I do know sales volume will start to pick back up and my prediction is those that have cash and can wait out the storm may be happy campers - just like those that bought at the Ilikai and Moana Pacific during those hard times.

May 31, 2018

Want a Fee Simple Unit in Wailana at Waikiki? Now May be the Time

Over the years it's been hard to find a fee simple unit in the Wailana at Waikiki. There's been times where months and months go by with none available for sale. Of the 10 units currently on the market, we now have 3 that are fee simple:

1. Unit 805

View from Wailana at Waikiki #805

View from Wailana #805 (MLS # 201814156) listed for $578,000

2. Unit #1305

View from Wailana at Waikiki #1505

View from Wailana at Waikiki #1505 (MLS # 201812429) also listed at $578k

3.Unit #1301

View from Wailana #1301

View from Wailana #1301 (MLS #201809153) asking $650,000

On top of there being very little inventory, there hasn't been any fee simple sales in the building over the past 6 months. The most recent fee simple sale was unit #1500 that closed in October of last year for $670,000. If you're looking to make a move on a fee simple unit in Wailana at Waikiki, now may be your opportunity.

Posted in Waikiki
May 28, 2018

Remembering Our Fallen Heroes this Memorial Day

I'd like to take the time to thank all those who served our country and gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom as we celebrate Memorial Day.

Remembering Our Fallen Heroes this Memorial Day

If it weren't for them, who knows where we'd be today? Occupied by Japan here in Hawaii? Ruled by the Germans on the Mainland? Perhaps there would have already been another 9/11? As we enjoy our Holiday off from work, school and preparing for summer with BBQ's and friendship, let's not forget why we have this Holiday.

Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy "Murph" and Operation Red Wings

Operation Red Wings Memorial Park at Diamond Head

Operation Red Wings Memorial Park (also known as Triagle Park) at Diamond Head

I first learned of Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy a few years ago watching the movie Lone Survivor. The film was very intense and heavy and gave me a real sense of what the ultimate sacrifice meant. During Operation Red Wings, Murphy sacrificed his own life to save his friends. It was only after seeing the movie that I realized and felt honored that our local park at Diamond Head has a memorial to honor those of Operation Red Wings (from the film) including Michael Murphy.

Crossfit and "Murph"

I first heard of Crossfit a little over 10 years ago from a client of mine that worked for the DEA. He said it was a fitness program done by many in the military, DEA, FBI (and civilians). Since then, the phenomenon and culture have exploded all across the country. I've attempted a number of the workouts from their website on and off over the years, however never really got formal instruction until this past fall. My friend Serge has been going for years and convinced me to try Crossfit East Oahu. What's great about Crossfit (outside of the physical fitness and constant variety of exercises) is the tribute they offer to our fallen heroes. They call them "HERO WODS". 

Today was my first time to do the "Murph" WOD which I've heard is a tradition at East Oahu's Box (Gym). This workout is a 1 mile run, followed by 100 Pull-ups, 200 Push-ups and 300 Air Squats, followed by another 1 mile run. Those that are really serious take it a step further and wear a 20 lb. weighted vest. I wasn't quite ready for that yet... It was tough enough as it was!

Helping Our Veterans to Buy and Sell Homes

One of the highest honors I've done in my real estate career is helping our Veterans with their home purchases and sales. As we head in to PCS Season, I look forward to helping more of our Military families with their housing transitions this summer.

Posted in Diamond Head, Military