In July 2017, the number of single-family houses and condominiums sold increased by four percent and seven percent respectively compared to July 2016. The median price for condominiums was $425,000, a 6.3 percent increase from the same period last year, breaking the previous condo sales price record of $415,500 set in April of this year. The median price for single-family houses increased by 0.5 percent to $750,000. The Days on Market for single-family houses saw a spike this July with sales closing at an average of 20 days, a 25 percent increase from 16 days in July 2016. Sales of condos closed at 14 days on the market, a 22.2 percent decrease from 18 days on market during the same period last year. – Honolulu Board of Realtors
Once relaxing, I now find boring. Do you want to know the #1 reason I love grey? It doesn’t show cat fur. I’m not saying we need to completely 86 grey. Add some color… a touch of life. I love our grey quilt and I’m not trading it in until I find something amazing. hello, cal king bedding costs a lot. I’ll be swapping our white sheets to a blue & white pattern, adding rich blue euro shams and a cozy faux fur throw. If you’re apprehensive about adding color to your bedroom, look for jewel tones. They’re timeless and elegant.
Clutter and chaos stress me out. 98% of the time gallery walls look just like that. I understand part of the novelty is that you can swap out your art whenever and display many more pieces, but I can’t stand it. When I go home I want to put on loungewear and relax not stare at my cluttered walls and pray for a Xanax. I love a bold painting or two (no more than a tryptic, please) centered on a wall, grounding the room. Where I will make an exception: a hallway/staircase gallery wall. I can’t think of anyone that goes to relax in a hallway.
I will be the first to admit that I jumped all over that chalkboard trend in the kitchen thinking it was brilliant. It was going to be the perfect place to write inspirational quotes and grocery lists. Guess what? You can’t take that grocery list to the market and I never remembered to take a photo. Inspirational quotes? Pfft. I forgot in the madness that my handwriting looks like a doctor & a wanna-be-calligrapher had a baby. I would bribe my little sister with dinner to update our board but then she moved to LA. It hasn’t changed since then. Also, two words: chalk dust. I solemnly swear I will never ever put a chalkboard wall in my home again.
Thanks to Joanna Gaines the popularity of barn doors is through the roof. Can we please just stop? It’s not even a cute statement anymore. It’s expected & becoming rather pedestrian. Let’s have a moment here and talk real life: do you really want your significant other to hear you doing your business in the bathroom? At least if you a proper door separating the bedroom from the bath we can all pretend to have some dignity and lose none of our sexiness with our spouses. You can chalk this up to me being a millennial, but by George, I am doing my darnest to keep the mystery alive.
Let me first disclaim that I have and love a teal mid-century modern love seat. I love furniture with legs. Leggy furniture is perfect for small spaces; it can make everything feel airy. However, mid-mod everything is kitsch. Mix and match different styles of furniture to create a curated timeless look. It will save you loads of money in the long run. Always think of things as cost per use or wear. Even though big box retailers like Target make trendy items easily accessible but that doesn’t mean you should partake in every trend. I try not to buy anything unless I’m in love, but if it’s a trend piece I will try to find it at TJ Maxx or Target.
The median price for single-family houses on Oahu reached an all-time high in June, according to resales figures released on July 8th by the Honolulu Board of REALTORS®. The analysis conducted by the Board, using data collected from its computerized Multiple Listing Service (MLS) system, offer the following statistics:
In June 2017, the number of single-family houses sold increased by 14.2 percent while condominium sales decreased slightly by 2.2 percent compared to June 2016. The median price for single-family houses was $795,000, a 4.6 percent increase from the same period last year, which was the previous record at $760,000. The median price for condos decreased by 1.4 percent to $400,000. The Days on Market for single-family houses also set a new record with sales closing at an average of 12 days, down from 14 days in June 2016. Sales of condos closed at 13 days on the market, tying with the previous record of 13 days on market set in July 2005. – Honolulu Board of Realtors
Ah, moving day… something we all look forward to with immense joy and excitement.
As we are in the real estate industry, we get a lot of questions about which moving company to use, where to get boxes and other miscellaneous things. And as someone that had to move staging furniture & items on a regular basis, you can bet I’ve tried a lot of moving companies with mixed results. Here are my tips to help you get through your move with as little stress as possible.
Rent moving boxes – it’s eco-friendly & practical I cringe at the thought of buying moving boxes. They so expensive & wasteful. When I first learned of BungoBox, I thought they were utter geniuses. BungoBox rents “reusable, interlocking plastic moving containers to save consumers time and money over traditional moving methods”. Along with the plastic containers come custom sized BungoWheels (dollies). In addition to these containers being reusable, they’re stackable. No more box Tetris. And no more limping around from dropping books on your feet due to packing tape failure.
BungoBoxes start at $56.00 a week and go up from there. They have rental packages for 1 – 4 bedrooms that you can rent for 1 – 4 weeks.
Use a reliable & efficient moving company I have used my fair share of movers due to all the staging that I do. I have been through the good, bad & ugly. (The ugly was literally having movers not show up on the last day of the month.) For the past few months, I’ve used Sons of Aloha Movers. The owner, Chris, is the one that schedules everything. His rates are reasonable. He is extremely professional & communication is excellent. I’ve met about 4 of his employees at this point. They’re efficient & respectful. There is a reason they have 5 stars on Yelp.
Keep heavy duty garbage bags on hand You know why they’re so awesome? You can throw your bedding, towels & clothes in them for last minute packing. I never do a move without extra packing tape & extra garbage bags on hand.
Have lunch (& maybe dinner) delivered Do yourself a favor & download BiteSquad in the app store. BiteSquad delivers food from all your favorite local restaurants on the island. From the time you place the order to delivery takes about an hour. Fees range from $1.99 to $7.99 (based upon mileage). Having food show up at the door is such a life saver.
What moving tips do you have? I’d love to hear how you keep moving day from getting out of hand!
Let’s be honest, some most days the last thing we want to do is sweat it out at the gym. On those days, Kimo and I tend to go for a walk. Sometimes in our neighborhood and sometimes at one of our favorite trails. It all depends on what time our day wraps up. These are the walks or hikes that can be done in 1 hour or less.
Diamond Head Crater
A cliche, yes, but it’s close to home and those stairs get our heart rates up. The only bummer about this hike is you have to arrive before 4:30PM. We buy an annual pass every year for $30. The usual car park fee is $5. Even if you only do this hike once a month, the annual pass will save you some money. If you want to make this hike a little more challenging, run the stairs a couple of times. You’ll be sweating like a fiend. Don’t forget your water, hat & sunscreen.
Makiki Valley Loop Trail
There are a few “trails” that make up the Makiki Valley Trail. What I will tell you, is that we follow the maps posted along the trail and do the shortest loop. It usually takes us about 45 minutes. This trail is friendly for all ages. There are always families with kids and grandparents alike here. I highly advise bug repellant. Take note you can also get a little muddy on this trail as there is significant tree coverage.
How to Get There:
Enter Hawaii Nature Center into your GPS. Follow Makiki Heights Drive until it splits (left up a steep hill or straight to a narrow private looking road) and take narrow road. Park in the small lot on the left in front of the green gate OR to the right on the shoulder. After you park, walk past the green gate, turn right at the bathrooms, and follow the path to the trail map.
Makapuu Point Lighthouse Trail
If you haven’t been to the Makapuu recently, they have done a significant amount of work on the entire tail and lookout points at the top. This trail is completely paved. Perfect for families that still have kids in strollers. I find the best time to go is late afternoon. This way we don’t have to sit in traffic during rush hour. Because of all the pavement, the hike gets HOT. Don’t forget your water bottle.
Do you have any short hikes that you love? I’d love to try them out.
This was originally posted on April 6, 2017. It has been edited to reflect restaurants currently in business.
When guests, friends or clients come into town the question we often encounter is where can they dine around Kahala that offers BYOB. Kahala itself has few restaurants that offer a BYOB experience but the neighboring town of Kaimuki, just a few minutes away, is awash in quality restaurants that offer reasonable meals and a BYOB standard.
My top picks around Kahala would be:
1. Olive Tree Cafe (Greek)
This cute neighborhood restaurant is found in Kahala adjacent to Kahala Mall. The seating is a mix of indoor and covered outdoor tables. This place can fill up quickly most evenings and it is first come, first serve if you want a table. This one of the best places for Greek food on Oahu.
2. Asuka Nabe & Shabu Shabu (Hot Pot)
Located on Waialae Avenue in Kaimuki, just a few minutes away from Kahala, this hot pot establishment is hands down one of the best values and epitomizes a small local business. The owner is there most nights and you will always see him smiling and chatting with guests, the staff is pleasant, quick to assist and attentive. For a BYOB restaurant, they have some of the best-priced dishes that won’t break the bank and keep you coming back time after time. This is also perfect for the vegetarian or vegan in your party because they have multiple broths to choose from and one of the best vegetable dinner sets I have seen. If you are unfamiliar with hot pot dining, you will be cooking your own food in front of you so it can get a little warm. I strongly advise dressing lightly and comfortably, you may sweat a little while cooking.
3. Saigon’s (Vietnamese)
Found on Waialae Avenue (two doors down from Asuka) this Vietnamese establishment has been a fixture in Kaimuki for decades, the current owners do an amazing job and our friends have all been fans of the variety of dishes here. From pho to lemongrass vermicelli noodle bowls to spring rolls to banh mi sandwiches, the dishes here have been fresh, delicious and consistent year after year of visiting this restaurant. At least once a week you will catch us grabbing pho or vermicelli bowls to go.
4. Win Spuntino (Italian)
Even though is fast-casual Italian food, it’s much better than most of the Italian food on the island. We usually do take-out, however, you can dine in with table service. You must order the Chicken Marsala. For vegetarians, my pick is the veggie pasta with red sauce. If you get lucky, they might have the tofu salad on special. It’s one of the best salads there. A lot of people rave about the cheesecake as well.
5. Kan Zaman (Moroccan/Lebanese)
We used to go to their Chinatown restaurant – but not often enough. Parking was a pain & after a long day that’s the last thing we wanted to deal with. Oh happy day! They now have a spot in Kaimuki across the parking lot from 12th Ave. Grill. My favorite things to order are the Moroccan Salad, Baba Ganouge & the Chicken Kebabs. Kimo loves the Lamb Kebabs. The food is amazing. Servers are wonderful. They are working on getting their liquor license – but until then BYOB!
Have you tried any of these spots? What’s your favorite?
“During May 2017, the number of single-family houses sold increased by 13.5 percent and similarly, condominium sales rose by 13.2 percent compared to May 2016. The median price for single-family houses was $745,000, a 3.6 percent increase from the same time period last year, while condos increased by 9 percent to $406,500. According to the Days on Market indicator, sales of single-family houses and condominiums both closed at 14 days on market, a faster pace compared to last year when single-family houses and condominiums averaged 17 days and 15 days on the market, respectively.” – Honolulu Board of Realtors
As many of you are aware, I’ve spent the last 17 years in the real estate industry studying the market, trends and educating myself about the whys, hows and what ifs about properties here on Oahu. There are certain neighborhoods that are brought up more often than not, notably for me these are Kahala and Kakaako. Kahala is a neighborhood traditionally viewed as luxury, posh and upper class. Kahala has had its shares of ups and downs, most notably the biggest downward push in values came during the era of Genshiro Kawamoto. Only in 2014 (http://www.honolulumagazine.com/Honolulu-Magazine/Real-Estate/May-2014/Bye-Bye-Genshiro-Kawamoto–Hello-Kahala-Avenue-Property-Values/#.WRTC7eXyuPo) did this bleak period of sales history come to an end when Kawamoto’s portfolio was purchased by Alexander & Baldwin but it is still fresh in the minds of many investors and locals leaving the inventory in Kahala high. Not only is the inventory high but the prices are still quite reasonable, some would say undervalued due to the population as a whole still not fully cognizant of Kawamoto’s departure.
Besides Kahala though, Kakaako is the buzzword (buzz-neighborhood) around town amongst youngsters, hipsters, trendsetters, millennials, downsizers, successful, etc. You name it, Kakaako can appeal to a certain mindset, lifestyle or demographic. Just look at the article from Architectural Digest naming Ward Village the BEST planned community in the United States – http://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/ward-village. Say what you will about this neighborhood but the national and local attention is not something you can ignore. Unless of course, you don’t believe in the wheel or the internet.
Where does that leave me then? In a bit of a confused state. Why? I’m an investor in Kakaako (proud owner of an Ae’o unit) and I’ve represented Buyers in Anaha, Ae’o and Ke Kilohana. I’ve toured the site so many times I’ve often been told I could work for Ward Village. Yes, I’m a believer in a master plan and a community like Ward Village is needed and necessary. Otherwise, we just have a hodgepodge of buildings and towers that remind me of Waikiki or Makiki. So why the frowny face you ask? I’m concerned because I track not only the new projects but also the resale market of these projects once they are completed and something disturbing caught my attention.
Waiea, the flagship of Ward Village with Grand Penthouse units on the market for $35 million and $36 million. Waiea, what was (is?) meant to be the crown jewel of Ward Village anchored by Nobu’s with such amenities as valet parking (for guests), room service (from Nobu’s), a lounge/bar on the pool deck offering snacks and drinks daily. So why, as of today, in a booming market are there 28 units on the market (a mix of resale and some developer units) and only 2 units under contract? One of these listings under contract is a townhouse villa being sold by the developer. Now that means only ONE unit on the resale market is under contract. Hooray… right? Unfortunately no. This particular unit (found here- http://matrix.hicentralmls.com/Matrix/Public/Portal.aspx?ID=1969318416), the prized “A” floor plan with direct, unobstructed ocean views was originally on the market for $7,998,888 but lowered their price to $6.5 million.
So what’s the big deal one might ask, the Seller is “making” somewhere near $6.5 million with that sale, right? First, it is shocking to think that it takes a $1.5 million price reduction to get traction. Let that soak in for a minute. Now let’s look at the other side, and I’m not talking about the Upside Down from Stranger Things, although this is a little scary. The owners of this unit paid $7,406,000 according to tax records on November 17th, 2016. Let’s assume that the unit sells at the reduced price of $6,500,000 and based on closing costs and fees this will net the Sellers around $6.1 million. This comes out to a $1.3 million loss after 6 months of ownership and probably being under contract for 2 years. Yikes. This napkin math led me to a few sleepless nights and a lot of questions: why? how? what’s this mean?
Once you step back from the idea of $6.5 million being a lot of money and take a step back from the argument of us vs. them buying our real estate, let’s question other basic math. Hokua, a prized luxury building in Kakaako, has some units trading near $2,000 per sq. ft. for a prized unit (#23D sold recently at $1,990 per sq. ft.). Now we look at the Waiea unit for $6.5 million which comes out to be around $2,435 per sq. ft. Arguably not an astronomical difference in valuation. Hokua, built in 2006 on Ala Moana Blvd vs. Waiea built in 2016 on Ala Moana Blvd. We can probably all agree that in 10 years the materials and finishes will be nicer at Waiea than Hokua.
This is where I am stuck, I’ve looked at the numbers, done by math and try to always make the best comparisons but in this case of Waiea I’m left scratching my head about how things just went so poorly out of the gate on the resale market here. Could it be that Buyers are (or can) simply wait for the rest of Ward Village’s master plan to come together before they jump in? Perhaps moving into an area that is just on the way to something greater isn’t worth being the first in line. Then again, what happened to the saying “the early bird gets the worm”?
In the end, my hope is that Waiea and other “ultra luxury” properties do not go the way of Trump Waikiki. I mention this building because of the history of poor resale and a property that has lost many investors A LOT of money since it’s grand opening. Case in point, Trump Waikiki #2405 was purchased on June 3rd, 2010 for $2,990,000 and sold on May 11th, 2017 for $2,250,000. 7 years during an UP market to lose over $700,000 (plus commissions and closing costs), yikes. That is scary.
“During April 2017, the number of single-family houses sold decreased by 7 percent and condominium sales rose by 5.7 percent from April 2016. The median price paid for single-family houses decreased by 1 percent to $712,500 from the same time period last year, while condos increased by 6.7 percent to $415,500. According to the Days on Market indicator, condominium sales closed at a faster pace compared to a year ago with condominiums on the market for 15 days, down from 19 days, while sales were slower for single-family houses with houses on the market for 18 days, up from 15.”
“During March 2017, the number of single-family houses sold increased by 4 percent. Condominium sales rose by 0.8 percent from March 2016. The median price paid for single-family houses increased by 3.7 percent to $752,000 from the same time period last year, while condos increased by 3.9 percent to $400,000. According to the Days on Market indicator, sales closed at a faster pace compared to a year ago with single-family houses on the market for 16 days, down from 18 days, and condominiums on the market for 15 days, down from 19.” -Honolulu Board of Realtors
“During February 2017, the number of single-family houses sold decreased by 7.9 percent, the lowest being 201 homes sold in February 2015, while condominium sales rose by 11.7 percent from February 2016. The median price paid for single-family houses increased by 7.9 percent to $755,000 from the same time period last year. The record median price of $760,000 was set in June 2016. The median price for condos increased by 1.7 percent to $385,000 over last year. According to the Days on Market indicator, the median days for single-family houses and condominiums were 21 and 22, respectively.” -Honolulu Board of Realtors
Don’t be overly involved. You don’t want to hang around your open house or private showings. It can make buyers uneasy. Let your realtor do their job and represent you & your home. It will make the process much smoother.
Have realistic expectations.
The value of your home is not determined by what you need, what you want or what your neighbor’s home sold for. It’s based upon today’s market, competition, economic conditions, location and other factors. Overpricing can lead to your home being on the market too long.
Declutter your home. We all have clutter. It comes with living in your home. Most times your agent will ask you to box up clutter as well as personal photos & belongings and place them in the garage or closet.
Use a Marketing Agent – not just a listing agent. Listing agents list your home and do the bare minimum. Marketing agents, like myself, market homes. We advise on upgrades, staging, hire professional photographers, videographers & create lifestyle videos. We also use traditional marketing methods like print ads & postcards. Plus we use social media & digital ads.
Don’t make last minute design upgrades without consulting your realtor. While some upgrades can make your home sell at a high price – some upgrades won’t make a difference. Also, don’t take offense if your realtor says your home is a little electric & requests things like wallpaper & unique paint colors to be removed.
Selling your home can be a daunting process. That’s why it’s very important to work with a Realtor that knows how to sell homes. To set your mind that ease, I’ve compiled the top 6 questions that sellers ask me during my listing presentations.
Are there things we should do to our home to help ensure the maximum price? Yes. There is a benefit to making sure your home looks its best prior to offering it for sale. I will advise you about specific improvements that will increase your home’s marketability and value.
How often will you advertise our property? I don’t just list homes; I market them. I will make sure your home is marketed to potential buyers around the clock, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I will customize a marketing plan to reach the types of buyers most likely to purchase your home. I maximize the power of the Internet for my clients, while also using traditional methods including newspaper ads, brochures, yard signs and direct mail.
Will you be present at all showings? At open houses I, or a member of my team, will be there. For showings, potential buyers will bring their own agents to see your home. Most buyers prefer only their own agents be present when evaluating a prospective new home.
What if another agent tells us they can get us more for the house? Some agents will quote a higher listing price just to get your business, but an overpriced house will not sell. I will conduct a comparative market analysis prior to recommending an asking price for your home. I explain how I arrived at the price, but ultimately the decision is up to you. I will offer my professional opinion on how the market will value your home.
Do we have any responsibilities during the marketing of our home? Your primary job during the sale of your home is to keep it neat and clean for showings and open houses.
What happens once we get an offer? I will help you consider each offer and negotiate the best deal for you. Once you’ve accepted an offer, I will guide you through the entire closing process and ensure everything proceeds smoothly.
“During January 2017, the number of single-family homes sold rose by 6.5 percent and condominium units rose by 11.8 percent from January 2016. The median price paid for single-family homes in January 2017 decreased by just half a percent from the same month last year to $730,000, while the median price for condos increased by one and a half percent to $380,000. According to the Days on Market indicator, the median days for single-family homes and condominiums were 21 and 26, respectively.” -Honolulu Board of Realtors
Since first getting my real estate license in 1978 people always ask me “how’s the real estate market?” More often than not my answer is “just great”. Which is proven when you look over Oahu’s real estate sales statistics. Once in a while, I’ll be asked a more specific question like “how’s the Kahala market?” and my truthful answer is slow. So what happened in 2016? If you look at the MLS stats there were approximately 4,000 sales of single family homes Island wide and approximately 5,000 condominiums sold. When you dig deeper and break down the numbers that’s where you’ll find the rest of the story (as Paul Harvey would say).
Island wide there were 3,112 homes that sold for under one million dollars, between $1M to $2M there were 345 sales. $2 to $3M, 103 sales and $3 Million and over there were 53 sales, island wide.
So what about Kahala? In the past 380 days since the beginning of 2016, out of the 53 sales across the island, there were only 7 sales in Kahala that sold for $4 million and up. So what happened to Kahala? Two things: #1 Gensiro Kawamoto and #2, what I’ve dubbed, Condo Mania.
Genshiro Kawamoto, dubbed “The Worst Neighbor on the Block” by Honolulu Magazine (http://www.honolulumagazine.com/Honolulu-Magazine/January-2014/The-Worst-Neighbor-on-the-Block-Genshiro-Kawamoto/) once owned “27 along Kahala Avenue—or 16 percent of all the parcels along the 1.8-mile street”. These properties were often neglected and many fell into disrepair causing a blight to the neighborhood for neighbors and visitors to witness on a daily basis for nearly a decade. Many homes suffered a serious lack of upkeep whereas vegetation spilled onto public spaces causing hazards for pedestrians. In 2014, something no one expected happened and Alexander and Baldwin bought out most of Kawamoto’s holdings, 31 properties, for $98 million. Those same properties had cost Kawamoto nearly $170 million during his acquisitions. The stigma caused by Kawamoto’s actions along this particular Avenue had a lasting impact even 3 years later as still, today, many people don’t realize Kawamoto is no longer present on Kahala Avenue.
The Condo Mania I mentioned is taking place in Honolulu. Kakaako and Park Lane Ala Moana have sold over one billion dollars in condominiums (yes, that’s billion with a B) in the past year and a half.
Buyers have decided to buy condominiums, some priced over $10 million dollars, instead of a single family homes. Historically statistics have shown that a $5 million single family home held for 10 years or longer will out perform a $5 million condo by at least 20%. So why would they buy a condo? These new condos are lock and leave it. Plus they’re brand new and they do not have to manage yard & pool maintenance. Many luxury buyers in Hawaii are non-resident owners. Although the maintenance fees in the new condos can be much higher than paying a pool man, gardener & property care specialist, the buyers prefer the concierge lifestyle.
So how do we bring back the Kahala market?
It may take a few more years to rid the neighborhood of the Kawamoto stigma, but it will happen. Kahala Avenue is still recognized around the world as the premier address to have in Hawaii – the Beverly Hills of Hawaii, if you will. As Rich Turbin, local attorney and Kahala homeowner, said in his Honolulu Magazine article about Kawamoto, “He’s done his damage, and it will probably take five or 10 years for all of his properties to get sold to responsible owners”. Time heals all wounds and Kahala is slowly rebounding as investors see the changes taking place and local Buyers remember just what a special place this neighborhood and Kahala Avenue, in particular, is.
There are only 50 direct oceanfront properties in Kahala, which means only 50 people in the world that will have the prestige of owning one of those properties. Alexander and Baldwin has started on their Kahala Avenue project, bringing new life through a small development on the beachfront side of Kahala Avenue. This six home development will cost A&B around $45 million but will serve as a beacon that the Kawamoto era is finally over. There are also 5 oceanfront homes currently under construction by individual homeowners, again, showing faith in the value and desirability of this historic location.
There will always be wealthy people in the world and if they want the best it is still and always will be Kahala. And while everyone might not be able to own an oceanfront home on Kahala Avenue, there are many Kahala properties within a short stroll to the ocean. As one of the top 1% of Brokers in Hawaii let me help you find just the right home here in the Beverly Hills of Hawaii, Kahala.