Welcome to the Distinctive Homes Hawaii Blog

Stay informed with the latest Honolulu Hawaii real estate news, reports and statistics.  Articles include Honolulu Board of Realtors market reports, KHON TV Eye On Hawaii, real estate news, mortgage rates and special property offerings. 

July 24, 2015

Continued Moderate Growth in the Hawaii Real Estate Market

Paul Brewbaker points to continued moderate growth in the Hawaii real estate market

Distinctive Homes Hawaii hosted the annual Mid-Year Real Estate Review with Paul Brewbaker last week at the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu Hawaii. It is the sith year that the company has hosted the event.   Other sponsors included Old Republic Title & Escrow, Honolulu Home Loans, Ritz-Carton Residences Waikiki and JN Exotics.

The presentation opened with a global market review by Patrick ONeill highlighting the differences in Hong Kong and Tokyo residential property markets.  According to ONeill, Hong Kong has increased 274% in value since 2004 despite the numerous government regulations designed to tamper the market.  In contrast, Tokyo has been stagnant since 1991.  The current policies of the Japan government have led to a weakening of the Yen which is helping the property market in the short term with increased global buyers entering the market.

Paul Brewbaker’s entertaining and informative presentation touched on the national and local economic forces that are affecting the Hawaii real estate market.  According to Brewbaker, the number of new residential units being built in Hawaii is the lowest since the 1940s counter to the current perception that Hawaii is in a building boom.  The lack of demand will lead to continued price growth according to Brewbaker.

Click here to see the Hawaii presentation

Click here to see the Hong Kong & Tokyo presentation

Author:  Patrick William O'Neill
Principal Broker R CMP MIRM

Aug. 25, 2014

Hawaii Housing Market Outlook - July 2014

2014 Hawaii Housing Outlook Conference hosted by Distinctive Homes Hawaii

Distinctive Homes Hawaii hosted the annual Hawaii housing conference and market outlook on July 31st  featuring renown economist Paul Brewbaker of TZ Economics.  The event was held at Wai'alae Country Club in Honolulu, the site of the PGA Sony Open golf tournament.  Over 150 real estate industry experts were in attendance.  The invitation only event is held annually and sponsored by Old Republic Escrow of Hawaii, Distinctive Homes Hawaii and Honolulu Home Loans.

Hawaii real estate values have continued to rise and the outlook calls for increased values over the next two years.  The presentation by Paul Brewbaker highlighted the local and national statistics for interest rates, inflation, employment, GDP, construction, taxation, property values and other key indicators.  The presentation includes statistics for Oahu and the neighbor islands of Maui, Big Island and Kauai.

View the entire presentation here.

Author: Patrick William ONeill,
Principal Broker R CMP MIRM

May 30, 2014

April 2014 Housing Market on Oahu

The housing numbers are in for April 2014 and some of them may surprise you.  While the median price of a single family home was up to $648,000 (not surprising), the number of sold homes compared to April 2013 was down by nearly 12 percent (almost a 4 percent decrease from last April).  Condominiums had a decrease in the number of sales year over year from 457 to 445 but they too had an increase in median sales price from $335,000 in April of 2013 to $355,000 in April of this year.  That's a 6 percent increase.

Although the number of home sales dropped in April, the supply of homes and condos is still very limited so the drop isn't necessarily a reflection of lack of demand.  The low number of days on market is a positive indicator that the demand is still strong and that the rising prices reflect a stable market.

The average sales price for single family homes was $762,071 in April, a drop of 5.4 percent, while condos saw an increase of just over 1 percent at $420,524.  As predicted, we are seeing slight changes with home prices as we head toward 2015.  Have we reached our plateau?  Hard to say since the large majority of single family homes were sold for the original list price in April (99.7 percent in fact) and condos weren't far behind at 97.3 percent.

Will be interesting to watch the market on Oahu in the coming months.  Stay tuned and check back with me for the juicy details!

Author:  Michelle Trimmell, RA

May 30, 2014

Median Home Prices Still Rising in Honolulu

Still Not Sure It's Time To Sell in Honolulu?

Word on the street is that the Honolulu median home price could reach $774k by 2015! According to a recent forecast from the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization (UHERO), the median price of single-family homes in Honolulu could increase as much as 9.8 percent this year surpassing the $700,000 mark.

The forecast also predicts that by 2015, a single-family home on Oahu will have a median price of $773,800!

The median price of a single-family home in 2013 was $647,000.  Per the Honolulu Board of Realtors, the record currently for the median price of a single-family home on Oahu is $685,000.

The median price of condominiums is also expected to rise from a record high $359,450 in February to $376,300 by 2015, a 6.2 percent increase!

The UHERO report states:  “Moderate interest rates and further strengthening of economic fundamentals will stimulate demand for homes and drive prices upward,” and “While Neighbor Islands are still waiting for a decisive upturn in residential permits, the Kaka'ako condo boom is leading a strong pick up in Honolulu."

Author:  Michelle Trimmell, RA

*Resources:  Honolulu Board of Realtors, Paul Tamashiro, University of HI Economic Research Organization

March 24, 2014

Homeowner Flood Insurance Update

I was happy to read that on March 13, 2014, the United States Senate voted to approve the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act (H.R. 3370). The Senate acted to pass the bill as amended by the House to avoid the need for a conference committee to reconcile any differences. The new bill further reins in and holds the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) accountable for the Biggert-Waters implementation issues.

The bill repeals FEMA’s authority to increase premium rates at the time of a sale or new flood map. It also refunds the excessive premium to those who bought a property before FEMA warned them of the rate increase. The bill limits premium increases to 18% annually on properties that are newer and 25% for some older ones. The bill also adds a small assessment on policies until everyone is paying full cost for flood insurance. President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law when it arrives at the White House. NAR had urged a swift vote in the Senate.

A little more on the Biggert-Waters Reform that started all of this:

The Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 was designed to allow premiums to rise to reflect the true risk of living in high-flood areas. The law was passed to address a $24 billion deficit in the program which serves about 5 million people and had mounting losses, largely from Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005. Shortly after the enactment of the 2012 law, Super Storm Sandy pounded much of the Northeast coast causing another wave of insurance claims.

The law did not stipulate that rates would soar by more than 10 times but that is what happened to the surprise of lawmakers and much to the dismay of homeowners and small businesses. Lawmakers warned that such rate hikes could force many businesses and homeowners to sell their properties which in turn could lower real estate values and damage the economy. With so much at stake, Democrats and Republicans in Congress were forced to come together to find a resolution.

Author: Michelle Trimmell, RA, MBA
Source: realtor.org

Posted in News
March 17, 2014

Honolulu Real Estate Annual Report 2013

Average prices up 6.7% for Hawaii homes in 2013

According to the latest Honolulu Board of Realtors report, the home median sales price on Oahu has increased 4.8% to $650,000 during the year of 2013. Average sales price was up 6.7% to $804,933. Last year the amount of homes sold rose to 3,312. Listings were on the market for a median of just 20 days; that’s a dramatic 33.3% drop in the time required to sell! Months of remaining inventory stood at 2.7 months to sell in December indicating a strong seller’s market.

For condos closed sales rose 11.8% to 4,874. Median sales prices also rose 4.6% to $332,000! The average sales prices went up 5.1% to $393,396. Similar to the family homes, condos were on the market for a median of 21 days dropping by 32.3%! The months of remaining inventory stands at 2.9 months.

Click here to read full report from the Honolulu Board of Realtors

March 17, 2014

Anaha at Ward Village

One of the most sophisticated and design-forward residences on all of Oahu, Anaha at 1108 Auahi 311-unit tower sets a new tone for the evolving architecture of Honolulu and represents an iconic addition to the city’s skyline. Designed by Chicago-based firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz in collaboration with Ben Woo Architects, Anaha’s rolling, brilliant glass façade evokes the light reflecting off the waves of the nearby Pacific Ocean. Located at the Diamond Head edge of Ward Village, Anaha offers a diverse range of sophisticated residences where the serene privacy of home is enhanced by all the amenities one might expect at a luxury resort.

The building’s height and strategic orientation provide residents impressive views from every level. Wraparound views span from the beachfront to Diamond Head and from Kewalo Harbor to the sunset in the west. Townhomes and podium residences on the lower floors look out over lush landscaping at the horizon. At night, residents can gaze from their windows and terraces at the glittering lights of downtown Honolulu.

Residents of Anaha will also be part of Ward Village, a master planned community that offers a wealth of shops, restaurants, entertainment options, and artfully designed public spaces.

Read More details by clicking here.

March 17, 2014

Honolulu Real Estate Statistics January 2014

Honolulu Real Estate Statistics - January 2014

The Honolulu Board of Realtors has released the latest real estate property statistics for Honolulu and Oahu.  The average price of single family homes on Oahu is up 5.8% compared to the same month last year at $629,500.  The average price of a condominium on Oahu jumped 7.4% to $395,810.

Download January 2014 Real Estate Statistics by clicking here.

Dec. 30, 2013

Hawaii Housing Market 2014 Predictions

Experts at realtor.com and other sources predict that in 2014 we will see more of positive trends such as increasing home values. At the same time, mortgage rates are expected to rise which could hinder buyer affordability.

Judging by the data from 2013, predictions for 2014 include:

- More homeowners returning to positive equity rather than being "underwater" on their mortgages with prices expected to rise

- Inventory gradually stabilizing rather than the low inventory experienced in 2013 with homes selling faster (which is the same trend from 2012 to 2013)

- Foreclosure activity slowing and playing a minimal role in the market (foreclosure inventory dropped almost 33 percent from 2012 to 2013)

- Mortgage rates rising (having increased approximately 100 basis points in 2013)

- Further declines in Home affordability (the comparison of home prices to income dropped to a five-year low in 2013)

While these predictions seem spot on based on historical data, no one can be certain what the upcoming year brings. One thing is for sure - local markets vastly differ in their performance with home prices, foreclosures and inventory all being dependent upon local market conditions.

Author:  Michelle Trimmell, RA, MBA



Nov. 23, 2013

Ko'olani Owners Reimbursed

Ko'olani Owners Reimbursed

After lengthy litigation and burdensome assessment charges, 370 owners at the Ko'olani are now being reimbursed $7,500 for their contribution to the

2011 plumbing fix debacle.  This debacle was caused by contractors using "cheap" plastic pipes in the construction of this luxury building.  Some of the hefty fees included attorney billings as well as charges to increase cash reserves.  Repairs have been completed, and the monies being returned now are just a partial refund.  The balance of the reimbursement could take place some time in the future after some other capital improvements are made to the complex.


Now, because the Ko'olani is past the litigious hurdle, unit sales in this luxury community can move forward quicker.


Building statistics: The owner occupancy rate is 73%, 16 Active listings, Average price of Active units $1,473,389,  Avg price/sf.$906.55, Average Days on Market (DOM) 95.


A top of the line luxury building located in the Ala Moana area of Honolulu, the Ko'olani comes complete with high-end construction, materials and finishes.  European cabinets, central AC along with granite, limestone and marble finishes add a luxurious and contemporary island feel to this complex. Centrally located in the heart of Honolulu, Ko'olani is within walking distance to world famous Ala Moana beach and park, Ala Moana Shopping Center and the Ward Village shopping district.  A multitude of amenities at the Ko'olani include:  a theater; private park; tennis court(s); putting green; pool & jacuzzi; bbq areas, and now the Island Club & Spa - you couldn't ask for more.  Within blocks of numerous restaurants, theaters, and luxury shopping -- living here fosters a healthy lifestyle.

By Paula Stewart (RA) ABR, CHMS