The Oahu real estate market is the most closely watched market in Hawaii and one of the top markets in the country. After all, with roughly 90% of the state’s population living here, shows like Hawaii Life getting significant TV airplay and the glitz factor that’s been embedded into the Hawaii brand over the decades, it’s no surprise. I was recently interviewed for a potential house flipping TV show – the country and beyond remain interested in Hawaii and the Oahu real estate market.
Housing prices in Honolulu County (which comprises the entire island of Oahu) have steadily grown over the past few years after the big drop that affected the rest of the country. Median prices have neared the $700,000 mark ($685,000 and $684,000 in December 2013 and November 2013, respectively) for single family houses, although January 2014 saw a largely seasonal dip to $629,500 and $320,000 for condos. The overall consensus from local real estate professionals is that 2014 will continue to see gains, although possibly subdued. For the latest statistical report from the Honolulu Board of Realtors, click here.
I always advise people to use stats as trends and indicators, not as rigorous laws to guide serious decision making. The market can be fickle, rising for 3 months before dipping for 2. Always remember that data can be “spun” by the storyteller and, in the hands of two different people, can tell two different stories. Remain objective and understand what the data says — and what it doesn’t — and infer your own meaning.
Ready to Take Advantage?
Either way, the Oahu real estate market is one of the most expensive — and attractive — markets nationwide and beyond. Are you ready to take advantage?
If you’re selling your house in Hawaii but not in a hurry, then take some time to prepare your home and make sure it gives a proper, cozy impression. Fix the roof leaks (found a few lately with all this rain, huh?), give it a new paint job and add a bit of landscaping. By the time you’re done with these projects, you’ll be hitting the market around April — a great time to sell your house, especially since you’ll have captured a couple more months of appreciation.
In the market to buy? You do want to act sooner than later for a couple reasons. Of course, the obvious is that as the Oahu market continues to rise, your dollars will get you less housing. That’s a given. But the other has to do with credit. Mortgages are getting harder to obtain as new regulations have tightened the approval criteria for certain loan types. While the rate increases have flattened out a bit recently, there’s still a decent chance they’ll start to creep back up. Better to lock in a rate now than in the summer. A small change in your mortgage rate could mean a change in your monthly payment of $100 or more. That’s a lot of poke.
Want to chat about the market? Just leave a comment below. 🙂