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Real estate’s year in review


Now that we are nearing the end of 2012, I thought it would be fun to see what the highest and lowest recorded sales of the year were for single-family homes. As luck would have it, Honolulu Board of Realtors’ research analyst Stephan Lopaz was thinking the same thing, and had pulled the numbers, just for kicks. (Great minds think alike.)

As of November 30, the highest Oahu sale was $9,999, 995 for a nine-bedroom, eight (plus two half) bath home in Portlock. It was listed for $10,950,000 by Mary Worrall & Associates and, interestingly enough, was assessed at $6,734,720. Granted, the lot is 10,270 square feet, which includes two homes, two pools and a tropically landscaped yard.

At the other end of the spectrum, the lowest recorded single-family home sale for 2012 as of November 30 was in Waianae, a 38-year-old leasehold property that went for $69,000, leasehold. It has four bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms, with 1,158 square feet of living area and 1,746 square feet of land.

Does this mean anything to homebuyers and sellers? Like anything else, it’s all in how you slice it. Last year’s high/low sales were $13,850,000 and $65,000, respectively, so the range is very similar. This year, however, it’s all about inventory levels.

The median price of real estate has been increasing due to lack of inventory. Although inventory levels are down across the board, the decreases are much sharper in the lower price range. Median prices for the year, according to Lopaz, stack up accordingly:

SFH Inventory November 2011 November 2012 Percent Change
$1.9 million+ 187 161 -13.9%
Below $350K 140 164 -54.3%

According to Lopaz, the inventory levels for homes in the $350,000 and below price range are down 54.3percent compared to November of last year. We may see median prices in that range getting a continued boost due to lack of inventory.

“For example, year to date, the Makaha-Nanakuli area has seen a 12 percent increase in median sales price. While year to date median sales price islandwide was up 8.8 percent,” he explains. “Year-to-date pending sales for all single-family homes are up 54 percent and days on market are down to 30 days from 35 last year.

“So the inventory we have is moving and at a much faster rate. It’s a good sign as we move into the new year,” Lopaz adds.

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