Big Island

Property Sellers in Hawaii Still Under Pressure In Buyer's Market

Distressed properties, such as short sales and foreclosures, continue to force sellers to discount their asking price, creating great deals for buyers.

Figures just released by the National Association of Realtors show the median sales price of homes nationwide dropped more than 3% to $165,400 in September, but house sales increased over 11% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.91 million units from a year ago. The bump in sales numbers is good, but sellers face increasing competition from distressed properties that are selling at steep discounts. We’ve seen the same trends in Hawaii sales.

Sold in 27 days for $648.2K (left); Still on the market for $495K after 889 days (right)

Are sellers caving in too soon? Consider the two properties listed above. The one on the left, even though it sold at a higher price, was priced correctly for the market and sold in 27 days. The one on the right (MLS# 220048) was originally listed for $679K and has had 5 price reductions over the past 889 days, and is now listed at $495K. Holding out for a change in the market is probably not a good strategy and a property that has been on the market for years raises all kinds of red flags for buyers.

Sellers who need to sell also have to consider the maintenance costs of keeping a home as well as ongoing property taxes. While it’s an unfortunate situation for sellers, the “wait and hold” strategy doesn’t seem to be working in this market. More than one-quarter of the listed homes on, a popular real estate site, have had a price change down.

It seems the best strategy for sellers who want to sell in this market is to work with a Realtor who can determine what the comparable sales are and will give them the straight story on what the home will sell for. For buyers who are ready to take advantage of this market, the deals are out there.

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