Luxury Real Estate Market Update

[To be published in the January/February 2019 issue of Kahala News.]

The Micro View – What happened in Kahala in 2018?
The year-on-year statistics show that in 2017, there were 45 Single Family home sales in Kahala as of December 10, 2018. 31 of those sales were under $3 million, 9 sales were between $3 million to $4 million, 4 sales were between $4 million to $5 million, and there was one $5.6 million sale.

In 2018, there were 32 Single Family sales in Kahala as of December 10th. 20 of those sales were under $3 million, 5 sales were between $3 million to $4 million, and 2 sales were between $4 million to $5 million. Additionally, there was one $6.9 million sale, one $7.2 million sale, one $10 million sale, one $16.25 million sale, and one sale for $17 million.

Comparing 2018 to 2017, there were fewer sales overall, specifically under the $3 million, $3 million to $4 million, and $4 million to $5 million price ranges. However, it is important to take note of 2018’s 5 sales above $6 million, compared to 0 sales in the same price range in 2017.

The Broader Statewide View
As reported in the Wall Street Journal on November 9, 2018, the record for the largest residential transaction in the State of Hawaii is now $46.1 Million by Hawaii Life’s HL1 Director, Neal Norman, who represented both the buyer and seller. The seller was a trust created by one of the CEOs of Morgan Stanley’s Asia Pacific region. [View Wall Street Journal article here:] The property is on Kauai, where Silicon Valley clients have been buying vacant land up to the $100 million price range.

So what does this have to do with Kahala? First, let me explain the structure of the umbrella organization that The Choi Group joined a year ago. Hawaii Life is made up of approximately 250 agents Statewide. There are 24 high end brokers who have the HL1 designation, and 8 Directors. Neal Norman and Patricia Choi are both Directors of this HL1 group of extraordinary brokers, as they have been the #1 Brokers in the State on a number of occasions. Neal’s Silicon Valley and West Coast connections dovetail nicely with The Choi Group’s efforts in Silicon Valley and Asia. Between the HL1 Directors and members, we have an extensive overview of the demand for luxury real estate. Part of forming an opinion on what is in store for Kahala in 2019 requires having an eye on luxury sales Statewide, as well as keeping up with significant local sales, such as the $23.5 million sale of a Park Lane Grand Penthouse that closed on December 7, 2018.

The Macro View by Christie’s International Real Estate
Our affiliation with Christie’s International Real Estate allows us to get an even broader view of the economy and provides clues on where the luxury real estate market is headed. For those who like a lot of statistics and information, we invite you to view Christie’s “Luxury Defined 2018 White Paper” report, which evaluates data from 80+ luxury markets worldwide:

Following are a few excerpts:
“Since the beginning of 2017 and into the first four months of 2018, several key themes and findings have emerged:
• Worldwide luxury residential sales recorded robust 11 percent growth in 2017, buoyed by a revitalized global economy, stock market strength, and rising consumer confidence…[this was] the highest year-on-year growth levels since 2014.
• Second-home resort markets rallied in 2017 and into 2018 after stagnant growth in 2016.” [Foreword & page 9]

“Although fewer homes sold above the ‘billionaire’s benchmark’ of $100-million last year (three in 2017 versus 10 in 2016 and four in 2015), the trophy home market across the globe remains active. With strong trophy sales already recorded in 2018—including record-breaking local-area sales of $110 million in Malibu, California, and $42 million (A$52.5 million) in Melbourne, Australia—both new builds and resale homes with provenance alike are showing continued upward momentum.” [pages 29 & 31]

Our Best Guess
One would be wise to accept that no one has a crystal ball. If anyone suggests that they “know” what is going to happen, you should probably seek other counsel.

Our best guess is that the market will continue to soften in terms of numbers of transactions, but we expect to see more outliers of astonishing record sales. The record $46.1 million home sale and the $23.5 million condominium sale gives us an explanation for the $16.25 million and $17 million sales of homes in Kahala in 2018.

So, we remain cautiously optimistic about the Kahala market for 2019. The $23.5 million sale of the Park Lane condominium is probably the most instructive. For the past 3 years, the Kahala market was overlooked as high end buyers purchased new condominiums in Kakaako with per square foot prices of up to $3,000. The average price for Kahala homes in 2018 was about $961 per square foot. While condominiums are simple to maintain and offer amenities not available in the typical Kahala home, the differential in cost makes it clear that you get more in Kahala. Couple this with the fact that almost all of the new luxury Kakaako condos have already been sold (there are only 3 Park Lane units left), which will likely lead to more buyers looking at Kahala.

The Choi Group looks forward to a Healthy, Happy and Prosperous New Year!

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