What can you get for half a million?

Normally, the Honolulu Board of Realtors (HBR) monthly sales stats are just mildly interesting. But yesterday, when the numbers indicated significant drops in median home prices for August over the previous year, the media started buzzing right away.

“This was no surprise for those of us who work in real estate,” says realtor Jill McGowan. Even HBR President Joyce Nakamura says she had already been busy for the last few weeks, as active buyers know the market conditions are pretty ideal.

So what kinds of single-family homes can you get for the median sales price of $557,500? I randomly looked through the MLS to see what was currently on the market that were close to that price. Here are some properties that I found … that had nice photos. (Tip for realtors who read this blog: good photos of your listings are great for all involved!)

There are quite a few homes available in Waipahu and central Oahu in this price range, and this is one of them. It’s got the Japanese-inspired rock garden out front and sliding shoji doors inside, but beyond that, the rest of the 2,284 square feet of living area is very local. It’s got five bedrooms and three full bathrooms, an enclosed lanai, and a large, fenced yard.
$555,000 fee simple
Listed by Sarah-Jane Averyt, Bridge Real Estate, 808-393-9903, sarah@bridgehi.com

I thought this Ewa listing in The Breakers was pretty interesting—more so because the owners have shaped the shrubs/trees in front to form an arch over the driveway, which is an unusual sight in master-planned communities. Inside, the upgraded 2,010 square feet of living area is comprised of four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a covered lanai, a family room and a “bonus room” that can be converted to yet another bedroom.
$559,000 fee simple
Erma Riodil, Century 21 Homefinders of Hawaii, 808-677-0721, ecriodil@aol.com

There are currently very few homes at this price in metro Honolulu; the closest I could find was in Coconut Grove in Kailua. This two-bedroom, one-bath home is just 600 square feet, but sits on a 5,040-square-foot lot. (I guess that may be another blog for another time.) The kitchen and bathroom has been remodeled, and it has an expansive deck that overlooks…the yard. It’s probably a good spot for entertaining.
$559,900 fee simple
Scott Carvill, Carvill & Company LLC, 808-216-0089, scott@carvillco.com

The median sales price for condos in August 2011 was $300,000. At this writing, there are seven listings that match this exact price. Better hurry to get a look!