It's not your imagination; there really are fewer Oahu condos for sale this spring--30 percent fewer, in fact. Of course, demand always been strong for housing on Oahu — both from locals, and from Mainland and international buyers. Thanks to super-low interest rates and rising home equity, there’s also been an increase in local buyers looking for a home or neighborhood that better suits their changing needs. Escalating prices and record-high competition in the single-family home market is affecting the condo market, as more buyers turn to condos and townhomes. As a result, condo sales nearly doubled in March 2021 compared to March 2020.
For-sale inventory by market area
Resale condo inventory is below the previous year’s levels in all condo market areas. The steepest decline was in the Kaneohe market, which saw just 14 condos for sale at the end of last month, compared to 46 at the same time last year. Ewa, Kailua, the North Shore and Makakilo also saw sharp drops in active listings. The smallest decline in listings--eight percent--is in the Leeward market, which had 57 condos for sale last month compared to 62 the previous year.
Competition in the condo market
With 3.1 months of remaining inventory, condo sellers have an edge but buyers have more options—and less competition—when compared to extremely limited single-family home inventory (six months of remaining inventory is considered to be a balanced market).
Despite declining for-sale inventory, there are about three times as many condos for sale as there are single-family homes. And while the single-family home median price is nearing $1M, the condo median price was $440,000 in March. Competition is lower for condos, too. While one in two single-family homes was the object of a bidding war last month, only one in 4 condos were bid up over the asking price.
Advice for buyers
Even if owning a single-family home is your ultimate goal, investing in a condo now will set you on the path to building home equity that could be put toward a future home. If you meet certain income thresholds, you may qualify for a reserved or affordable condo unit, too. In addition to more choices, lower cost and less competition, condos also offer many lifestyle benefits.
Prospective condo buyers should get pre-qualified for a loan and be ready to act quickly. In this market, it’s also imperative to partner with a knowledgeable Realtor® who can alert you to new listings and put in offers quickly. Buyers who can be flexible when it comes to choosing a condo building or neighborhood may have more choices.
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