Sales of houses that were previously owned declined 19.6 percent in April, however
POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, May 10, 2011
The median price for previously owned single-family homes sold on Oahu rose for the first time this year with a slight gain in April, though the number of sales fell sharply.
Homes sold for a median $585,000 last month, up 3.5 percent from $565,000 in the same month last year, according to data released yesterday by the Honolulu Board of Realtors.
April's gain was small but followed three consecutive year-over-year declines for median prices in January, February and March.
The change moved median prices in the direction anticipated by the University of Hawaii Research Organization, which forecast in December that Oahu's median home sale price will rise 4.3 percent this year.
Still, over the first four months of this year, the median price remains down 2.1 percent at $568,000.
A full-year gain would continue Oahu's housing market price recovery for a second year. A 3.1 percent median price gain last year followed two years of declines: 3 percent in 2008 and 7.3 percent in 2009.
Sales volume took a big hit last month, falling 19.6 percent to 229 transactions from 285 a year earlier. The decline was the biggest for any month in two years.
HOME SALESThe number of homes sold on Oahu in April with the median price and percentage change from the same month last year:
Scott Higashi, executive vice president of sales for Prudential Locations, said a drop was influenced by a rush last year to complete sales before a federal tax credit expired in June.
"I wasn't surprised to see there was some retreat in the number of sales," he said. "That was sort of expected."
Though the weakness in sales last month was dramatic, it wasn't enough to depress prices.
"April's data shows that there is enough demand, albeit lower than last year, to maintain our residential price levels," Joyce Nakamura, president of the Honolulu Board of Realtors, said in a statement. "We continue to experience a stable environment for both buyers and sellers."
According to Honolulu Board of Realtors data, reduced inventory of homes on the market is helping keep prices fairly stable. There were 1,446 homes for sale at the end of last month, down from 1,644 at the same time last year.
If no more homes were listed for sale, it would take 5.7 months to exhaust the inventory based on the present rate of sales. A figure between five and six months of remaining inventory puts upward pressure on prices, according to local economist Mike Sklarz of Collateral Analytics.
In Oahu's condominium market, sales and median prices were down in April, along with inventory.
The number of sales decreased 6.7 percent to 379 last month from 406 a year earlier. A similar decrease occurred in March after rises in January and February. Year-to-date, condo sales are up 2.9 percent.
The median condo sale price was $305,000 in April, down 0.7 percent from $307,000 a year earlier. Year-to-date, the median condo price is up 0.7 percent at $307,250. UHERO's projection for the median condo price this year is a 3.6 percent gain.
Condo inventory at the end of April was 1,914, compared with 2,087 a year earlier. Months of remaining supply was 5.7, the same as the single-family home market.
NEIGHBORHOOD WATCHOahu single-family home and condominium resales data for April by neighborhood with the percentage change from last year: