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June 2024 Email Update

Here is our 6/10/2024 e-mail update. We send the newsletter after the Honolulu Board of Realtors posts the preceding month’s statistics on their website. You can read past newsletters by visiting the link below.  Our quarterly newsletter includes valuable real estate information not included in our monthly updates

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You may also listen to our Monthly Newsletter from our recently created podcast, Real Estate Tips of the Day & Quarterly Real Estate Articles by clicking the link below:
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The May median price for single-family homes was $1,085,000 (2.2% lower than May 2023) and for condos was 495,000 (2.0% lower than May 2023). The number of single-family homes selling in May was 5.0% lower compared to May 2023 and the number of condos was 9.1% higher. Demand remains sluggish due to high interest rates and high prices. The supply of available single-family homes and condos has been steadily growing since the Federal Reserve started raising interest rates in the summer of 2022.  There are currently 2.9 months of single-family home inventory and 4.4 months of condo inventory.

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

Monthly Statistics

The University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization (UHERO) published its second edition of The Hawaii Housing Factbook on May 20, 2024.The executive summary points out what island residents already feel, only 20% of Hawaii’s residents can afford to buy a home. Some highlights from the data presented include:

  • Hawaii has the highest median rent of any state in the country. 56% of households are rent burdened (they spend more than 30% of their income on rent) and 28% of households are severely burdened (they spend more than 50% of their income on rent).
  • Regulatory costs make up more than half the purchase price of a new condo in Hawaii.
  • Out of state buyers purchased 10% of single-family homes and 17% of condos purchased on Oahu in 2023.
  • High mortgage rates caused both supply and demand to fall. Single-family home transactions were 37% lower in 2023 than 2022 and condo transactions were down 36%.
  • Nearly 70% of Hawaii homeowners have a mortgage rate under 4% at the end of 2023. These households have little incentive to sell.
  • UHERO’s Repeat Sales Index shows Hawaii home prices are four times higher than homes in 2000. 

A recent Civil Beat article reported that Honolulu received 20,000 building permits in 2023 but issued fewer than 15,000, resulting in an even greater backlog. The 5,000-backlog increase equates to $1 billion in delayed construction work. The Department of Planning and Permitting (DPP) took an average of 275 days to complete a residential building permit, up from 260 days the previous year. Tim and Tracey submitted a permit on October 22, 2023, and DPP has not yet looked at it.
Sluggish visitor numbers during the start of 2024 have weighed on Hawaii’s economy resulting in lower GDP growth and employment growth according to the latest forecast from the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization (UHERO). Five percent fewer visitors arrived during the first quarter of 2024 due to the aftermath of the Maui wildfires and increased competition from other vacation locales. UHERO forecasts 2024 GDP growth of 3.6% this year and personal income growth of 1%.  Inflation is expected to accelerate to 4% due to rising rents and lead University of Hawaii economist, Carl Bonham, pointed out that the only county seeing population growth, Hawaii county (The Big Island), is the county building the most housing. Bonham expects Oahu’s population to continue shrinking.

Experts: Hawaii housing affordability looks ‘bleak’

Despite Governor Josh Green’s and Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s stated focus on reducing homelessness, Oahu’s homeless population grew 12% to 4,494 according to Hawaii’s latest Point in Time Count survey.  Of the people counted, 20% are older than age 60 and 28% are located on the Waianae Coast. The largest percentage of homeless stated that high rents or loss of income caused their homelessness.

Hiring since the pandemic has become a challenge for all businesses on Oahu, including those that residents take for granted. Stott Property Management manages a high-rise building in Moiliili and recently hired a different trash collection company to empty the building’s dumpster a couple of times per week.  The Honolulu Star Advertiser published an article in Sunday’s (May 11) in Sunday’s local section about the same company Stott Property Management replaced, West Oahu Aggregate, having garbage pile up at customer locations due to staffing shortages.  A yard service company that took care of several properties managed by Stott Property Management cancelled all future service with no advanced notice. An opinion piece in “Volcanic Ash,” a Sunday newspaper column on page two described people calling 911 and failing to get through due to a shortage of call center personnel, including a victim of a beating in Waikiki. Tim and Tracey were also told this week that the individual who took care of their pool was moving from Hawaii to help with family. Fortunately, he already lined up a replacement for his customers. Oahu’s steady population drain was once primarily a source of conversation and newspaper articles. Now, the remaining residents are seeing the impact of the everyday services they once took for granted.

Drama is once again occurring at the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) with a tense stand-off occurring between CEO, Lori Kahikina, and the 12-person HART Board of Directors. Tensions started in 2021 when Mayor Rick Blangiardi appointed Chairperson Colleen Hanabusa to the volunteer board in 2021. Blangiardi praised Kahikina for getting the train system up and running last year and restoring relations with Federal Transit Authority (FTA) officials. Kahikina has complained the meetings have become very accusatory and condescending to Kahikina and her staff. She considers the current actions of the board as bullying. The FTA warned HART on 6/3/2024 that leadership uncertainty could place the next $250 million in federal funds at risk. Mayor Rick Blangiardi directed the HART board to offer Kahikina a multiyear contract the next day and fully cooperate with an investigation into alleged bullying and harassment of Kahikina by the board.

Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) announced plans to shut off power to neighborhoods to prevent wildfires during high-risk weather conditions in the wake of the Maui wildfires. The power could be shut off for a duration of a several hours to a few days. Utilities in California and other fire-prone areas of the country have implemented similar measures.

After two months of trial, a jury found former Honolulu Prosecutor, Keith Kaneshiro, and five employees of Mitsunaga and Associates not guilty of pay-to-play corruption charges.

Hawaii became the first state to cover palliative care through Medicaid. Palliative care is specialized treatment for people suffering from cancer or heart failure. The program’s stated goal is to provide relief to patients from symptoms and improve the patient’s quality of life.

The Festival Pacific Arts and Culture (FESTPAC) started on June 6th in Hawaii for the first time. The ten-day festival occurs every four years and includes opening and closing ceremonies, heritage dance and contemporary music performances, heritage art demonstrations and visual art exhibits.  The festival started in 1972 with Fiji as the host. When it originally started, it was for island nations looking to promote cultural practices and Hawaii was not recognized as being connected to its culture. Hawaii attended as an observer in 1976 and was invited when participants recognized Hawaii’s connection to traditional practices. FESTPAC includes representatives from 28 Pacific islands and territories.

Hawaii hosts the 13th Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture

Heavy rains during eight days in May caused the closure of the Pali Highway due to mudslides, downed trees on the Likelike Highway, road closures due to flooding, and the cancellation of the Hawaii high school baseball Division 1 finals resulting in the naming Maui and Baldwin High Schools as co-champions.

A Maryland-based real estate firm, Host Hotels & Resorts Inc. has agreed to purchase the 450-room Turtle Bay Resort and adjacent land. The resort will be rebranded as a Ritz-Carlton. The seller, Blackstone, announced the purchase price was $725 million and sold a separate sale of land at Turtle Bay to a collective known for sustainable development practices for $41 million. Blackstone purchased Turtle Bay in 2018 for $332.5 million and closed and renovated the resort between March 2020 to June 2021.

Astronomers identified 126 confirmed or likely exoplanets over the past year at the W.M. Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea. Two of the more interesting planets involved one 2.6 times the size of Earth yet 19 times heavier and another planet larger than earth that orbits so close to a star its “year” is only 12 hours long. Scientists can determine the mass of a planet by analyzing spectrographic fluctuations named wobbles indicating an orbital body exerting a gravitational pull on the star.

The Hoku Kea Observatory, University of Hawaii’s (UH) educational telescope has been completely removed from Mauna Kea’s summit, the first of five Mauna Kea observatories scheduled for removal. All the building materials and infrastructure have been removed and the site has been graded to support a visitor viewing location. The removal of the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory continues with an expected completion at the end of 2024. Caltech will monitor the site for an additional three years to verify the repopulation by native flora and fauna. The removal of the remaining three observatories is on hold until the new Maunakea Stewardship and Oversight Authority completes its plan for the summit area.

Crews remove first observatory on Maunakea summit, site restored

A new eruption on Kilauea started early morning on June third in a remote area of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park inaccessible to visitors.  Four fissures appeared on Kiluaea’s Southwest Rift Zone, the first time an eruption occurred in the area in 50 years. Lava fountains estimated at 16 feet tall were observed by scientists during a flyover. The eruption lasted about 12 hours.

The UH Wahine Water polo team’s bid for a national championship ended at the semifinals.  UH lost to the University of California Bears 9-6 on May 11th.  UH head coach, Maureen Cole, announced her retirement earlier in the year and hoped to cap off her career with the national crown.  UH finished the season 23-4 and Cole led UH to a 226-96 record during her tenure.

The UH Rainbow Warriors baseball team finished the season with a 37-6 record, its best record in 18 years. The Rainbow Warriors were 20-10, third in the Big West Conference.  UH did not receive an at large bid to the NCAA tournament despite going 18-2 over the last twenty games of the season and having the second-best team earned run average in the nation of 3.78.

The Oahu Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association (OHCRA) announced two Molokai Channel World Championship races to be held later this year after a four-year break. The women’s competition, Na Wahine O Ke Kai, will be held on September 29th and the men’s competition, Molokai Hoe, will be held on October 13th. The 41-mile race starts at Molokai and ends at Waikiki. The Molokai Hoe attracts more than 1,000 competitors from around the globe. OHCRA seeks to “perpetuate one of Hawaii’s and Polynesia’s most important and historic traditions, while honoring outrigger canoe paddlers around the world. 

Seventh graders at a public school named Waikiki’s latest Hawaiian monk seal pup Pa’aki.  Pa’a signifies the pup is bound to its mother and aki refers to nipping or snapping back, a behavior common in monk seals when sensing danger. The second half of the name is a tribute to “Uncle Aki,” an original beachboy who safeguarded monk seals at Kaimana Beach for years.  Pa’aki is the sixth seal pup Kaiwi has given birth to, three on the Kaiwi shoreline and three on Kaimana Beach.

Monk seal pup at Waikiki named 'Pa'aki' by Halau Ku Mana students

Federal wildlife officials reported a female Hawaiian monk seal born on Oahu’s North Shore died from injuries from a dog attack on June 3rd. This is the third known death of monk seal pups in the past decade on the main Hawaiian Islands. Officials ask dog owners to follow the county leash laws to protect the endangered seals.

Real Estate Tip of The Day 

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

Another Day in Paradise: Makapuu

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