2019 Oahu Market Update: What Does This Mean for Buyers and Sellers?
The Honolulu Star Advertiser quoted in their last February 2019 issue, “Conditions point towards a balanced market for both buyers and sellers.”And I have to say I agree. Since 2010, the market in Hawaii has been appreciating at a steady rate. With Hawaii’s travel and tourism, 11 military bases across the islands, rail construction, foreign investors, and not to mention our tropical paradise climate, our Oahu market continues to stay strong and healthy. Since December 2018, we have seen the first bit of a dip in the market since about 2010, resulting in longer days on the market and more inventory.
As Oahu is extremely neighborhood specific and the prices change depending on what neighborhood you are in, we are seeing some interesting changes island wide. For single family homes, there was a -0.6% yearly change from median price in 2019 recorded at $767,500 versus January 2018 of $772,000. Days on market changed to 27 verses 17 compared to a few months ago in September 2018. Median single family home prices have gone from $812,500 in October 2018 to $797,000 in November, to $788,000 in December, and now $767,500 in January 2019. That is quite a difference in purchase price and gives buyers more home options when looking to buy.
For condos, there was a -7.2% change compared to last year with 2019 median condo price recording at $399,000 versus 2018 $430,000. Median condo prices were at $420,000 in November 2018 to $399,000 in January 2019. Even the slightest change is very noticeable in the marketplace and can affect the buying or selling process.
Oahu Median Sales Price 1987 – mid 2018
What Does this Mean for Buyers and Sellers in 2019?
For buyers, this means that you have more options and a better chance of getting into escrow on your dream property. Mortgage rates are still historically low, and there are a ton of great programs that buyers can use to purchase a home. First and foremost, it is important to attend a buyer’s consultation so that your agent takes the time to really understand what you are looking for in a home. They can then find properties that meet your needs as soon as they hit the market. A couple years ago a listing would come onto the MLS and by the first open house, the seller would have multiple offers to review. This resulted in aggressive bidding wars and a highly competitive marketplace. For everyone who did not get their offers accepted, now is the time to make moves. However — just because the market is down — does not mean you can make unreasonable offers, aka “low ball,” or make offers without having your pre-approval done, or proof of cash funds on hand. Hawaii’s market is strong, and sellers will wait for a fair offer from a qualified buyer.
Having an agent that is a hard worker, a quick and responsive communicator and is detailed when writing the purchase contract matters tenfold. Before putting in an offer, your agent should fully analyze the price and compare the property to others sold. They should provide you with a price range of what the market value of the home is worth, if you are not going in at full price. It is ultimately your choice for the offer amount, but it helps tremendously to have guidance from a professional agent in the negotiation process. Turning in a well-written cover letter, along with a pre-approval or proof of cash funds, is something that is standard with all of my offers. This ensures that the seller knows you are a qualified serious buyer, and hopefully chooses your offer to work with over others. I am extremely detailed on timelines, proactive and write offers that are clean and concise. This shows other agents that I am a competent and easy to work with, which believe it or not, is a huge part of getting your offer accepted. Listing agents want to work with buyer’s agents who can make the transaction smooth and stress-free for all parties involved.
My happy client signing for his first home purchase
For sellers, this means that you really need to market your property in the best light possible. Your agent should assist in getting your home ready to show in order to get you the highest price in today’s market. Professionally cleaned, open and tastefully staged. This starts with a marketing plan and a spot on listing price. Listing too high will result in very little interest in your home. The more days it sits on the market, potential buyers start to think “what’s wrong with this house? Why is it still sitting on the market?” That is the worst thing you can do for your property. If you are priced right, you may receive multiple offers and maybe some over asking.
A potential realtor for hire should come out and view your home and understand all the upgrades and features. They should be asking questions about the property, any repairs done, and be alerted of any issues. After they have seen it, they should present you with a very well analyzed pricing strategy based off of the sold homes in the neighborhood or “comps” in realtor terms. They should be able to present you with a range of what they think your home will sell for. These kinds of hard facts and data will help you avoid hiring an agent who promises to sell your home for more than it’s really worth. I enjoy doing comparative analysis because it gives me a full understanding of what is happening in that exact neighborhood and marketplace. It ensures that I can confidently price your property and sell it. I also enjoy doing light staging to the home and opening up your space. Utilizing bedding, kitchen accessories, pillows, professional local art, and plants. I like to bring in some soft towels and spa accessories to highlight the bathrooms. Everyone spends so much time outdoors in Hawaii so utilizing an outdoor space is important and a main selling point of the home. This added step attracts more buyers and sells the home faster.
Marketing Your Home
As for marketing, I like to include the following in my listing services to make sure as many eyes see the property as possible. Professional photography, drone footage, videos, virtual tours, blogging, broker’s open, open houses, email blasts to all Hawaii agents, email blasts to my buyer database, utilizing our #1 most trafficked website HawaiiLife.com, also other real estate search engines such as zillow.com and realtor.com, Luxury Portfolio affiliation and Hawaii Life’s Global partnership with Leading Real Estate Companies of the World. Feel free to contact me if you’d like me to present you with all of my services in detail.
Looking to Buy or Sell?
Hawaii is a great place to live and own real estate. This market has a lot to offer to both buyers and sellers. Having a professional realtor on your side is invaluable. A balanced market means more opportunities to reach your real estate goals this year. Working together and putting a solid action plan and process in place is a simple way to make those goals a reality. It is a great time to buy and sell a home. Reach out to me directly if you’d like a buyer’s consultation or complementary home value report. I’d be happy to help!