How Much is Your Home Worth Now?

After a decade of skyrocketing prices, Hawaii’s real estate market has finally slowed down. What can we expect next?


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Looking to Invest?

It’s a challenging time to be investing in real estate. Anyone hoping to pick up a home or condo and flip it for a profit is probably out of luck in the short term. But it still may make sense to buy a property with the aim of renting it out, especially if you can find a property that you’re able to rent out for 75 percent to 100 percent of your monthly mortgage payment.

Looking to Refinance?

With interest rates at rock-bottom levels, even existing home-owners can take advantage. The conventional rule of thumb says that moving at least 1 percent or 1.5 percent lower will save you significant money and, in today’s market, that applies to quite a few homeowners. Teruya says that Finance Factors has seen a 31 percent jump in the number of refinance loans in the first quarter of 2009, compared with last year.

But as with those looking at new mortgages, the real trick is being able to qualify for a refinance.

Last December, Fannie Mae tightened up its requirements for single-family home mortages: Primary-residence, cash-out refinances are limited to 85 percent of a home’s value. For a second home or an investment property, the percentage drops to 75 percent.

This means that, if you have a $500,000 home, you’ll need at least $75,000 in equity to cover a refinance, or else cover the difference in cash. Homeowners who scored mortgages in more relaxed times may find it difficult to pass muster this time around, especially if they haven’t been in the house for long.

“Anyone who bought within the past three to five years may find themselves without enough equity to refinance,” says Teruya. “Especially if they came in with 10 percent down, or 5 percent down.” Declining property values don’t help.

Keeping Your Cool  

The takeaway from all this? The market may be cool, but whether you’re hoping to buy a home, sell one, or just sweeten the loan you’ve already got, there are plenty of opportunities for cool moves.

Condos (Hottest & Coldest Neighborhoods)

Hottest 5
2008 YTD Median Price
2009 YTD Median Price
% Change
Moanalua-Salt Lake
Ewa Plain
Coolest 5                    
2008 YTD Median Price
2009 YTD Median Price
% Change
North Shore
Ala Moana-Kakaako
Overall Oahu


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