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Mixed signals seen in May Big Island, Kauai home sales

While purchases showed a spike, median prices fell on both islands

By Allison Schaefers

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 12:59 a.m. HST, Jul 10, 2010

Big Island and Kauai home sales posted double-digit increases in May. However, median prices fell on both islands, leading real estate watchers to conclude that these markets are still short of recovery.

Single-family home sales on the Big Island increased 25.5 percent to 128 houses last month, and condominium sales rose 71 percent to 53 units, according to data released yesterday by the Hawaii Information Service. Still, more than half of Big Island single-family home buyers in May paid at least $279,500, which represented a 7 percent decrease from the year-ago $300,500. The median price paid for a condominium also dropped about 7.8 percent to $285,000 from the year-ago $309,000.

May single-family home sales on Kauai rose 80 percent to 27 houses from the year-ago 15. Condominium sales climbed last month by 38.5 percent to 18 units from the 13 recorded in May of 2009. The median price paid for a single-family home on Kauai in May dropped 30 percent to $420,000 from the year-prior $600,000. The median price of a Kauai condominium dropped by 50.3 percent to $164,000 from $330,000 in May 2009.

Compared with a dismal last year, the statistics tell an overly optimistic tale, said Phil Fudge, the principal broker at Kapaa-based Kauai Landmark Realty.

"Last year was really terrible, so a little increase makes it look really big," Fudge said.

That said, buyers continued to benefit from low prices and interest rates on the Big Island and Kauai in May. Sellers made faster sales than they had previously. However, many still had to make price or other concessions, said Val Pilaria, principal broker at Aloha Kauai Properties.

"They have to compete with distressed sales," Pilaria said.

The volume of distressed properties also brought out the bargain hunters, said Howard Dinits, a Realtor with Kihei-based RE/MAX Resort Realty who specializes in Big Island and Maui residential real estate.

"Deals have kept the sales momentum high even after the expiration of the federal tax credits," Dinits said.






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