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May 2023 Email Update

The April median price for single-family homes was $999,995 (9.5% lower than April 2022) and for condos was $500,000 (2.0% lower than April 2022).  Demand for single family homes was 43% lower than April 2022 in terms of closed sales and 26% lower in terms of pending sales that have yet to close.  Demand for condos dropped 38.5% lower than April 2022 in terms of closed sales and 33.9% lower in terms of pending sales that have yet to close.  Dropping demand for single-family homes has entered its second year.  375 single-family homes were sold in April 2021, 365 single family homes were sold in April 2022, and 208 single-family homes were sold in April 2023.  Condo sales were still rising last year due to greater affordability and supply.  The number of single-family homes and condos continues to creep up despite the lack of demand with 35.4% more available despite a 26.5% drop in new listings last month and the number of condos was 24.8% higher despite a 26.3% drop in new listings last month.  Fewer families are moving since they are unwilling to trade their current 2.5% mortgage rate on their existing home for a 6.75% mortgage rate on a new home.  The only people that seem to be selling are those families leaving the islands or investors who have finally decided to sell.  The pandemic boom ended last year, and the market has returned to its 2019 trends of lower sales and median prices.


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



The Hawaiian Humane Society is participating in the “Empty the Shelters” initiative as shelters on Oahu, Maui, the Big Island, and Kauai suffer from overcapacity.  More families are surrendering their pets due to economic hardship and finding pet-friendly housing.  Stott Property Management, LLC has encouraged their clients to allow small pets since it results in higher rents and shorter vacancy periods.  The easiest way to make a property pet friendly is to replace carpeting with vinyl plank flooring.  Experience shows that allowing pets is the easiest way to boost revenue followed by adding air conditioning.  Buddy, Tim and Tracey’s yellow lab, encourages landlords to allow pets in a video.



Another month brings the latest City of Honolulu attempt to reduce the permit backlog at the Department of Planning and Permitting (DPP).  Bill 6 would authorize licensed architects and engineers to certify their plans comply with applicable laws.  The city’s employee union is critical of the measure and thinks that builders should wait as the city struggles to hire 105 people to fill the vacant positions.  If passed, the measure would sunset in seven years.

Two Honolulu City Council members, Augie Tulba and Andria Tupola, have introduced two resolutions to reject the Honolulu Salary Commissions recommendation to increase city council member pay by 64%.  The part-time job currently pays $76,968 and would increase to $123,288.  The commission argues that the members should be paid for full-time work while opponents argue that many Hawaii families work multiple jobs to make ends meet.  There has been little public support for such a dramatic increase.

Prior state house member Ty Cullen was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison for taking $30,000 in bribes over a seven-year period and fined $25,000.  Cullen has already paid the $25,000 fine and received a shorter sentence by cooperating with prosecutors.

Aging in Hawaii is not pretty if you need to move to a long-term nursing facility.  Elderly patients are occupying hospital beds waiting for an available space in a nursing home.  One individual has been waiting for two hundred days preventing a new patient from being treated at the hospital.  The state currently has seven hundred openings for certified nurse aides and the staffing shortage is preventing the addition of new beds.  It might be time to offer wages higher than Target for this physically and mentally challenging position.

The Board of Water Supply (BWS) recently deemed four of six proposed sites unsuitable and announced that its search for new water wells to replace the Red Hill shaft and two nearby.  The closure of the Red Hill shaft has resulted in a 20% reduction in water supply to the west side of the island.  New locations identified are located further uphill requiring BWS to drill deeper wells.

The Honolulu Star Advertiser caught up with the River of Life Mission one year after it closed its Chinatown feeding program that became the bane of the Chinatown neighborhood.  The mission used to serve 600 to 700 meals per day at the Chinatown location and now delivers meals to forty locations on Oahu.  River of Life’s executive director spoke to 320 missions in Orlando, FL to talk about their new model and how other missions throughout the country can replicate it.  The mission also partners with fifty-three churches, fifty-four social service agencies, and one hundred volunteer veterinarians, barbers, manicurists, and other professionals to help the homeless obtain health checkups, haircuts, and assistance getting government benefits and housing.  Seventy-seven homeless people have checked into a detox or shelter with the mission’s help over the past year.  River of Life has shown that an organization can be a good neighbor and help those who desperately need it.



Tim has had issues checking in using Hawaiian Airlines app for the past six months and received some validation when the Honolulu Star Advertiser reported that Hawaiian’s switch to a new reservation system has caused problems for customers trying to use the website, app, redeem frequent flier miles, or check-in luggage at the airport using the self-service kiosks.  Customers have had to wait in long lines for customer service agents to sort through the mess.  

Southwest Airlines celebrated its fifth year of serving Hawaii travelers by unveiling Imua One, a Hawaii-themed aircraft at Long Beach airport.  Herman Piikea Clark, a Hawaiian artist, created a design featuring six paddlers in an outrigger canoe, six honu (turtles), and five stars representing the five Hawaiian airports served by Southwest.



Researchers have found a diverse ecosystem of invertebrate species from coastal areas living on floating plastic debris in The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.  The animals not only survive, they reproduce in the open ocean suggesting past ocean boundaries are changing due to floating plastic pollution.  Debris washing up on windward shores could introduce invasive species potentially threatening Hawaii’s fragile coastline.

An 8.9 million grant from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration aims to build two 100-foot by 100-foot coral reefs off Waikiki that will stand about six feet high.  Waikiki’s reefs are the most degraded of Hawaii’s coral reefs due to the disappearance of marshlands from development, runoff, and overfishing.  The coral seeding project will run through 2026 with the goal of reviving Waikiki’s nearshore ecosystem.



Crowds packed Hilo’s Kanaka’ole Multi-Purpose Stadium to watch the world’s most talented Hula dancers compete in the 60th Merry Monarch Festival.  Hilo residents basked in the return of the event after several years of pandemic restrictions.  One craftsman selling his wood jewelry stated, “It’s back, the spirit of Merrie Monarch.  Everywhere there’s more aloha.  It’s more friendly.”  Agnes Renee Leihiwahiwaikapolionamakua Thronas Brown from Kaneohe won the Miss Aloha Title.  The 21-year-old Brown has danced for the same halau (or troupe) since the age of nine.

#1 ranked UCLA denied the University of Hawaii (UH) Rainbow Warrior Volleyball Team a historic three-peat on May 7th at George Mason University’s EagleBank Arena.  The UH Rainbow Warriors lost in four sets, 28-26, 31-33, 25-21, 25-21.  UH amassed a record of 116-13 over four years winning two national championships.

Developers are again trying to restore the former Coco Palms Resort to glory after Hurricane Iniki the hotel back in 1992.  Workers erected dust barriers and removed dead trees in advance of the building’s demolition in a few weeks.  The $250-million, three-year project will result in a new 350-room hotel.  Community opposition has repeatedly stalled efforts to rebuild the property and some members of the community oppose this new effort.  A local community organization wants to buy the property and restore the fish ponds and build a cultural center.



Ellery Chun introduced a new shirt in Hawaii using leftover kimono cloth patterned after a planation workers shirt, short-sleeved and untucked square bottom.  He hung them in his shop window and coined them “Aloha Shirts.”  He trademarked the name in 1936 and the Aloha Shirt has become the business attire in Hawaii.  The state Senate passed a resolution in 1962 urging the wearing of Aloha Attire on May 1st, Lei Day.  Island designer Reyn Spooner started selling Aloha Shirts in the early 1960’s at Ala Moana Shopping Center.

Authorities are asking the public to keep their distance from Kaiwi, a Hawaiian monk seal, who is nursing her pup on Kaimana beach.  Wildlife experts installed temporary fencing around the pair and have asked people to keep the noise down to avoid disturbing the seals.  Mother seals are very protective of the pups and experts recommend the public avoid swimming at Kaimana beach and choose somewhere else to swim.  A swimmer was attacked last year by a mother seal protecting her pup.

Officials have closed Bellows Field Beach Park for the summer to protect honu nests.  The Hawaii green sea turtles were found nesting for the first time in documented history in 2020 and have returned every year since to nest, incubate, and hatch baby sea turtles.  The area will remain open for beachgoing activities on the weekend during the nesting season.

The Honolulu Zoo welcomed a new member of its family on April 19th.  Mother, Aria, and father, Kendi, are proud parents of a 50 lb. baby boy.  The black rhino newborn can stand on his own and stays close to Mom for comfort and food.  The mother and infant expect to venture out into the public exhibit in the next few months.



The Ke Kai Ola hospital in Kailua-Kona, has successfully treated and released 40 Hawaii monk seals since 2014 and is currently caring for a well-known female that often hangs out on Molokai’s west-side beaches.  A neighbor reported that four-year old monk seal appeared to be losing weight and energy over the past few weeks and alerted wildlife officials who decided to step in and deliver the monk seal to the hospital.  The seal is gaining weight on a high-calorie diet of herring and liquids while officials wait for the blood test results.  Wildlife officials will return the monk seal to Molokai once she has recovered her strength.


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