Is­land hous­ing mar­ket brisk in third quar­ter

Hawaii Tribune Herald - - FRONT PAGE - By MICHAEL BRESTOVANSKY

Big Is­land real es­tate sales this year have out­stripped last year’s sales fig­ures as the fi­nal quar­ter of 2017 be­gins.

Ac­cord­ing to Mul­ti­ple List­ing Ser­vice, or MLS, sales statis­tics, 4,114 prop­erty sales have been made on the Big Is­land in 2017 to date, a 6.5 per­cent in­crease from last year’s num­bers. Of these sales, 1,865 of them were res­i­den­tial sales, 633 of which were made in the third quar­ter of the year.

“It’s been very pos­i­tive,” said Nancy Cabral, pres­i­dent of Cold­well Banker Day-Lum Prop­er­ties in Hilo.

Cabral cred­ited the ro­bust hous­ing mar­ket to a com­bi­na­tion of fac­tors: namely, banks be­ing will­ing to of­fer rea­son­able loans and a sur­plus of in­ven­tory in East Hawaii.

The Puna District ac­counts for nearly 40 per­cent of all res­i­den­tial sales on the is­land from July-Septem­ber, con­tin­u­ing the de­vel­op­ment of what Cabral said is a boom­ing hous­ing mar­ket.

“I think sales in the Puna District will con­tinue to go up­ward,” she said. “It has nice land, nice

prices and nice houses.”

Cen­tury 21 agent Lance Miyasato said the pop­u­lar­ity of Puna is the lin­ger­ing re­sult of the lava flow from Ki­lauea in 2014 threat­en­ing Puna prop­er­ties, prompt­ing own­ers to sell them cheaply.

South Kona, mean­while, saw the great­est growth in home sales, out­pac­ing last year’s num­bers by 42 per­cent. How­ever, Miyasato said in­ven­tory on the west side of the is­land is low, lim­it­ing growth po­ten­tial there.

“The west side and other parts of the state are prone to high prices and lim­ited in­ven­tory,” Cabral said. “The cost over there is pro­hib­i­tive for av­er­age buy­ers.”

While me­dian home sale prices in Puna in­creased from $200,000 to $233,000 in the third quar­ter, they are still far less than the $660,000 and $544,500 me­di­ans in North and South Kona, re­spec­tively.

North Kohala re­mains the most ex­pen­sive district, de­spite the me­dian home sale price de­creas­ing from $785,000 to $700,000. Home sales in that district re­main steady, how­ever.

The lim­its of in­ven­tory are be­ing felt in Hilo, too. The av­er­age third-quar­ter cost of va­cant land in South Hilo nearly quadru­pled, with the me­dian sale price at $170,000 com­pared with last year’s $45,000.

Miyasato said a lack of new houses be­ing built in Hilo con­trib­uted to a sharp in­crease in the value of va­cant land.

Res­i­den­tial sales in South Hilo are rel­a­tively sta­ble com­pared to last year, how­ever. From July-Septem­ber, 101 home sales were made in the district, an in­crease of only seven from the third quar­ter of 2016.

To date, 270 res­i­den­tial sales have been made in South Hilo this year.

Like­wise, the me­dian price for a South Hilo res­i­dence has only de­creased slightly: from a $325,000 third-quar­ter price in 2016 to $320,000 in 2017, a dif­fer­ence of less than 2 per­cent.

“I’ve had a lot more cases of mul­ti­ple of­fers for a sin­gle prop­erty this year than I have for years,” Miyasato said.

Cabral at­tributes the in­crease in de­mand in East Hawaii to re­tir­ing baby boomers. Whereas re­tirees could “stay on Oahu and live on a free­way,” they can get more space and a larger home for the same price on the Big Is­land, she said.

While Hawaii real es­tate is boom­ing for the time be­ing, Miyasato ac­knowl­edged that, like all things, it won’t last. As land be­comes less avail­able, it will be­come less af­ford­able and fewer houses will be built.

“I think the boom is go­ing to last for the next two years on this side,” Miyasato said. “Kona trends are usu­ally a year be­hind, so three years for them.”

HOLLYN JOHN­SON/Tri­bune-Her­ald

A three-bed­room, two-bath home at 420 Ke­haulani St. in Hilo is for sale through Clark Realty.

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