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August 2023 Email Update

The July median sales price for single-family homes was $1,090,000 (1.6% lower than July 2022) and for condos was $500,000 (unchanged from July 2022).  Demand continued to fall with the number single-family homes selling dropping 28.2% and condos dropping 18.5% and pending sales of single-family homes dropping 16.8% and condos dropping 13.0%.  The supply of homes remains tight as 28.8% fewer single-family homes came on the market and 15.4% fewer condos in July compared to last year.

You can review more detailed current and past real estate market data on our website using the link below.

Monthly Statistics

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index fell 0.5% lower in May 2023 compared to May 2022.  The price reduction was the second month in a row as mortgage rates bounced around between 6% and 7%.  Unusually low inventory has helped prevent greater price reductions as homeowners become more reluctant to sell and trade their low mortgage rate for a higher one.  The median existing-home sale price dropped 0.9% in June compared with June 2022.

2023 continues to challenge landlords with rising costs due to inflation.  The latest reminder arrived in June when the insurance bill for Tim and Tracey’s nineteen units arrived in the mail.  The bill rose over $7,000 or 25% over the past year.  Combined with higher interest rates on their business line of credit, interest and insurance expenses rose 92.67%.  After speaking with their financial advisors to confirm their decision, they suspended their monthly investment allotment to pay off the variable rate debt in their investment portfolio.

Honolulu rail ridership fell 59% from 8,952 passengers per day to 3,666 passengers per day once rail charged $3 over the first five days.  The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation rail project is the most expensive in the world with each resident chipping in $10,500 to $13,700 depending on the final cost estimate.  The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii estimates that taxpayers additionally subsidize chip in $51 for every $3 ride.

Governor Josh Green issued an emergency proclamation aimed at building more affordable housing by relaxing state and county scrutiny of affordable housing projects to speed construction.  Current regulations add approximately $233,000 to $335,000 to the cost of building a new home.  The oversight does delay projects, yet some minimal oversight by neighborhood organizations does prevent building housing without sufficient parking.  Per usual, the governor relies on government to solve the problem when government originally created the problem.  A recent article describing the drama around a 243-unit complex that includes affordable housing repeats Hawaii’s failure at creating and maintaining housing.  The Hawaii Community Development Authority (HCDA) failed to pay maintenance fees two years ago, failed to address hot water distribution problems and mold, and recently threatened to evict two tenants over past due charges of $42 and 50 cents.  The residents have had enough and are making their complaints public.  HCDA officials complain that rental income fails to pay management and repair expenses and the current deficit is roughly $25,000.  The problems identified in the Honolulu Star Advertisers article will likely grow if the state builds and manages 50,000 more affordable housing units per Governor Green’s ambition.

300 members of Hawaii’s National Guard are participating in the Pacific Region’s largest military exercise, Talisman Sabre.  The soldiers and their F-22 Raptor fighter jets are among 30,000 troops from 13 countries taking part in the 10thversion of the biennial exercise.  The exercise is taking place in Australia this year and the Hawaiian force reports to an Australian Major General as part of the Australian Army’s 1st Division.  The arrangement is a slight role reversal since U.S. Troops normally lead other nations in real world multi-national operations like Iraq and Afghanistan.

US Military With Indian CO Conduct Talisman Saber Exercises

St. Augustine by the Sea Catholic Church will resume its free lunch program after a pause requested by Mayor Rick Blangiardi over neighborhood concerns that the program was attracting criminals along with the homeless.  Blangiardi showed Father Akiona pictures of repeat criminals who were attending the free lunches and the priest agreed to suspend the lunches.  Supporters of the church pushed back and Father Akiona challenged the police and the mayor to address the problem since feeding those in need was unrelated to law enforcement.  Many businesses do support the mayor’s initiatives and credit the Safe and Sound push in Waikiki and nightly beach closings with the sharp drop in crime in Waikiki in 2023.

The Board of Directors of Hokua, a luxury condo in Kakaako, settled a case concerning retaliation against another board member for $600,000 in a widely watched case of a law passed in 2017 to prevent such incidents.  A retired Army colonel had joined the board and questioned an interior decorating contract when the invoice came in roughly three times the original estimate.  The company was owned by a relative of one of the board members.  When the new board member questioned the incident, the rest of the board removed him from the renovations committee.  The case was settled before a judge could rule on the new law’s anti-retaliation provision.  Ironically, the settlement will likely be paid by the association’s insurance resulting in higher premiums to condo owners.  The defendants in the case won’t have to pay a dime.

Civil Beat reported condo associated board members are often prevented from helping condo owners in a timely manner by heavy handed property managers from the management companies hired by the condo association.  One board member was repeatedly instructed to wait until the next monthly board meeting to inquire about important maintenance issues like a hot water heater that was down for four days and a clogged trash chute.  Stott Property Management, LLC has run into this type of interference which results in unnecessary delays of important repairs resulting in hardship for both the tenants and owners of impacted condos.  Some management companies even prevent board members from speaking with the contractors hired by the association.  In one case, the management company refused to give a detailed accounting of a $7,000 air conditioning charge to a condo owner who was unaware of any work being completed in her unit.  The management company responded that the association would be charged extra for requesting copies of paid invoices.

Prepare to pack one set of clean clothes in your carry-on luggage when flying to Daniel K. Inouye International Airport or Lihue Airport.  Honolulu’s airport ranked as the #9 worst and Kauai’s airport ranked as the #13 worst airport for lost luggage according to Forbes Advisor.  The study included the number of property damage and property loss claims per domestic passengers and percentage of property damage and property loss claims paid in full.

Best Travel Insurance Companies Of August 2023

The University of Hawaii (UH) is wrapping up its $30 million expansion of the Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics complex to raise seating capacity from 9,300 to the Division I minimum of 15,000 seats for the September 1st opener.  UH was forced to upgrade its practice field to a Division I game field when Aloha Stadium was condemned in 2020.  While UH scrambled to provide a home field for its football team, the state has not even demolished the rusted out and unusable stadium.  UH will likely bear similar fruits to its work with additional students attending UH football games similar to the resurgence that Tim’s alma mater, Tulane University, experienced when it built an on-campus stadium versus using the Louisiana Superdome.  Tim does have fond memories of tailgate parties at the Superdome, however, games against Florida State were a challenge when the Green Wave played in front of 10,000 Tulane fans and 70,000 Florida State fans at their home field.

International Market Place has added an audio tour to its establishment.  The approximately one-hour tour consists of 20 geotagged sights that describes Waikiki history and culture.  Part of the tour includes informational plaques and statues of Don Ho and Queen Emma.  Visitors can listen to the tour in English, Hawaiian, or Japanese.

 

International Marketplace

The Honolulu Department of Transportation Services has awarded $25 million to build an Ala Wai Canal pedestrian bridge that will clear the canal by 14 feet allowing canoes and other watercraft to pass underneath.  The bridge will allow construction of the flood mitigation wall planned by the Army Corps of Engineers.  The bridge will be open to pedestrians, bikes, and other recreational rolling activities and won’t allow motorized vehicles.  Environmental reviews should be completed this winter and construction will begin Summer 2024.

The work to restore the Koko Crater Stairs, also known as the Stairmaster to Hell, was completed in early July.  The City and County of Honolulu announced that a new 71 square foot platform replaced the deteriorating metal grate platform to the tune of $426,800.  The Kokonut Koalition had shamed the city into replacing the platform after volunteers restored the stairs at minimal expense.  The city had originally planned to just remove the old platform.

Koko Crater Hike. How hard is it? See for yourself. Full Trail video.

A French citizen, Sebatien Roure, found an old ring near his village two years ago and learned that it belonged to a World War II Medal of Honor recipient and Hawaii resident, Staff Sargeant Robert Kuroda.  Kuroda was killed fighting the Nazis and received the Medal of Honor posthumously.  Kuroda was a member of the 442nd Infantry Regiment, made up of mostly Japanese American volunteers, on of the most decorated units in American military history.  Kuroda wove through enemy fire to destroy a German machine gun nest that pinned down his regiment by lobbing grenades from 10 yards away.  He then tried to rescue an American officer struck by machine gun fire only to find that he had been killed.  He retrieved the officer’s submachine gun and took out a second nest.  Kuroda was then killed by an enemy sniper.  Roure returned the ring to the Kuroda family in 2022 and the family responded by inviting Roure and his family to Hawaii.  One of Robert Kuroda’s nephews visited Roure in France and visited the woods where Roure found the ring.

French man who found a Hawaiian hero's missing ring from World War II visits his family

Roving herds of feral pigs are growing and intimidating residents in some neighborhoods in Tantalus, Palolo, Manoa, and Nuuanu.  Some people have been trapped in their cars while the pigs forage next to the vehicles and ignore noisy attempts to get them to move.  The herds were once a source of amusement, but the larger numbers and more aggressive members have alarmed many residents.  Impacted residents are asking for culling of the herds but the City and County of Honolulu do not currently have an animal control program for feral pigs.  The only source of relief is the Pig Hunters Association, a volunteer group that don’t charge but will accept donations.  

Hawaiian Airlines was ranked the #1 U.S. airline by Travel + Leisure readers in a 2023 survey.  The airlines were rated on cabin comfort, in-flight service, customer service and value.

Hawaii’s Allisen Corpuz won the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach on 7/9/2023 to become the first American to win their first LPGA tournament at the U.S. Open.

Tracey competed in the North Shore Swim Series crowned jewell, the 2.3-mile North Shore Challenge, Saturday, 7/22/2023.  Five-time Olympic gold medal winner, Aaron Piersol, edged out Tracey at the finish line this year.  Tracey, who has finished last in her age group in the past, finished 3rd in her age group at the North Shore Challenge and 2ndoverall in her age group for the four race series.  Tracey has completed the series 7 times and hopes to continue to complete the series for years to come.

Take a look at our Another Day in Paradise's Video

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