East Oahu Luxury Market is Strong

(Following article will be published in The Kahala News’ September/October 2017 issue.)

Our last report was for the March/April edition of The Kahala News and the headline was “The Market for Kahala Homes Will be Stable in 2017”.   As of August 21, 2017, the market for Kahala and all of East Oahu has strengthened.

Executive Summary
There were 28 sales between January 1, 2016 to August 21, 2016 for Kahala, including Waialae Golf Course and Kai Nani.  This year there have been 35 sales through August 21, 2017.  The high sales up to that date were 4504 Kahala Avenue for $4,580,000 where Choi International brought the Buyer and a private sale of 1015 Kaimoku Place for $11,500,000 where Choi International also brought the Buyer.

The obvious acceleration of sales in Kahala matches the strength that we are seeing across the board in East Oahu.  We would characterize the market as strong and the market may be strengthening.  In the trenches, we are seeing more activity, more showings, more offers and more properties in escrow in comparison to 2016.

Bay Area Luxury Brokers View the Luxury Market as Strong
Our affiliate, Pacific Union Real Estate is the largest real estate company based in the San Francisco Bay Area.  In reviewing the activity in Silicon Valley through Quarter 2 of 2017, they found “renewed enthusiasm” of buyers, with more homes engaged in bidding wars, a median price of $3,270,000 and a 9% overall increase in prices.  Their prediction was that September would kick off another wave of buying in what is a strong market.

This contrasts with January 2017 predictions that the San Francisco Bay real estate market would be flat in 2017 much like 2016.  The market has exceeded expectations.

So the picture is improving in Silicon Valley, which has a direct consequence to our market here.  Choi International advertises extensively in Silicon Valley Magazines for this reason.  Many of our transactions involve Silicon Valley clients and affiliating with the Bay Area’s largest Real Estate Company helps.  California is our leading market in the continental United States with 263 transactions in the first 6 months of the year.  This compares with 149 transactions from Japan and 13 from China.
Source: Title Guaranty Bulletin for January-June 2017 OAHU – Top Foreign and U.S. Buyers of Oahu Property, released Mid- August 2017

The China Market
As we reported in the March/April Issue, China instituted a very strict new monetary policy that reduced the amount of money that could be brought out of the country. According to Maggie Huang (RB-22050), Choi International’s Vice President of the Greater China Region, there should be little effect on the Honolulu Luxury Market.  Basically, the Chinese who can afford luxury homes have already gotten their money out of China or have income outside of China.  Maggie advises that Chinese clients who have yet to get their money out can cause unnecessary delays and complications in transactions.

The Japanese Market
There is some effect on Japanese Buyers due to the fluctuation in the yen versus the dollar according to Mami Takeda (RB-22153), our Vice President of Japan Sales. When the yen is in the 120+ range to the dollar, there is less incentive to buy.  When it is in the 100-110 yen range, as it has been recently, the incentive for Buyers is higher.  Despite recent fluctuations in the yen, the expectation is that the Japanese will continue to comprise the majority of foreign buyers.  A lot of purchases have been made in the new Kakaako condominiums and especially in the $1 million to $3 million range, which appears to be a comfortable price point.

2017 Outlook

We are currently more optimistic about this year. The trend is clearly for more sales in Kahala and the same could be said of much of East Honolulu.  It is encouraging that our affiliates in California and the Bay Area have experienced a jump in sales activities and prices.  For the first half of 2017, the leading foreign buyers for Honolulu were as follows:

Japanese 149

Canadians 14
China 13
South Korea 11
Hong Kong 5
Singapore 4

The leading continental United States Buyers were from California 263, Florida 49, Texas 46 and Washington 30.
Source: Title Guaranty Bulletin for January-June 2017 OAHU – Top Foreign and U.S. Buyers of Oahu Property, released Mid-August 2017

It is easy for us to overlook the advantages that Hawaii offers for buyers from the mainland and from foreign countries.  For mainlanders, the allure of Hawaii is evident with Mark Zuckerberg buying 100+ acres of Kauai and Larry Ellison buying Lanai.  Hawaii is a great product, one that is easy to sell. For example, looking at a presentation that we made in Hong Kong to the local press, we noted the things that we so often take for granted.  Whereas Beijing regularly has air pollution measuring in the toxic range hazardous to humans, Honolulu has really clean air.  Our water quality is great, but the safety of our food chain is also as important as clean air and water.  The diversity of Japanese, Chinese, Korean and Pacific Rim cultures provides a welcoming environment that cannot be duplicated on the mainland.  Hawaii continues to be a Paradise on Earth, which is the reason our real estate market continues to flourish.

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