More number crunching: First quarter analysis

Monday’s monthly market report from the Honolulu Board of Realtors gave us a short-term snapshot of Oahu’s real estate market, but what does it look like from a different perspective?

“Today’s real estate environment in Hawaii is unprecedented,” says Scott Higashi, vice president of sales at Prudential Locations. “As our recent Prudential Locations report indicates, the Oahu market is interestingly a good one for both buyers and sellers. How can this be? Because the strength of the market is dictated by the number of buyers, but with so many people looking for new homes, it makes the timing equally good for sellers.

“Buyers today benefit from locking in low interest rates. As our economy improves, interest rates will most likely rise and inflation will creep back in. This is typically when rents begin to rise,” Higashi explains.

He adds that since there is low inventory, sellers benefit from their homes selling quickly and/or with a bit of competitive bidding. This environment will lead to rising prices, as we’ve seen in the last few market reports.

Historically, home prices in Hawaii follow a "stair-step" pattern—a period of stability for several years, followed by a short and rapid climb in prices, followed by another period of flat prices, as illustrated in the chart above. The market has been stable for several years, which means this chart is due for another bump.

“If you don’t currently own a home, we recommend you get qualified and start looking,” Higashi says.

To see the full first quarter report, click here.