Honolulu's condo market getting hotter

It’s no secret that Oahu’s condo market is hot.

According to April statistics from the Honolulu Board of Realtors, condo sales over the past year have increased dramatically–up 73 percent between March 2012 and March 2013.

Median prices are up 11 percent, too, to $346,700.

New development proposals could bring even more condo units to the market, including a mix of affordable and luxury units planned for Kakaako.

Growth in the condo market can’t be entirely attributed to new construction, however.

According to the Hawaii State Data Book, 201 registered condominium associations represented 20,066 apartments in 2001. By 2013, the number had increased substantially. There are now 1,649 registered condo associations in Honolulu that represent 156,846 apartments.

Some of this can be attributed to new construction: Since 2008, 1,147 condos have been sold in buildings no more than 5 years old.

Some of it can be attributed to building conversions, as well, as developers buy rental buildings, then sell off individual units. That alone accounted for more than than 1,100 new condos in the market since 2001.

Why is Honolulu so crazy about condos?

You can’t ignore the price element. In April, the median sales price for a single family home was $625,000, whereas the median price for condo units was $335,000.

Shared amenities such as swimming pools and fitness rooms sweeten the deal, but, in many cases, it’s all about location. Congestion on Oahu’s highways has made urban Honolulu much more appealing to those who want to spend less time commuting.

The push for walkable, livable communities is likely to only increase condo living’s appeal, as planners seek to attract more residents with pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods where work, shopping and entertainment might just be a short walk away.