The Honolulu real estate market surprisingly fared much better both initially and currently than the nation at large and the rest of the islands. That does not mean, however, that there has been any shortage of hardship in the capital of the Aloha State. Honolulu real estate is experiencing a very difficult period of recession, and has possibly never had more serious problems in history. Foreclosures are near all-time record highs, many real estate agents are having difficulty selling homes at market value, and sales and sale prices are both near the bottom. Honolulu real estate is closely tied to Hawaii real estate in general and the Oahu real estate market in particular, but is more urban and suburban in nature than many parts of the two latter areas.
For example, the Pacific Business Journal reported on July 16, 2009 that “Honolulu had one filing per 1,131 housing units, down 26 percent from May but up 295 percent over June 2008.” This was substantially less than the other islands that make up the Hawaii real estate market and also lower than the island of Oahu at large. The problem with foreclosures is that they tend to sell more quickly than “regular” homes on the market, diluting the sales statistics so that it is difficult to differentiate between sales motivated by investment opportunities and those mandated by bank orders and legal action. Overall, however, it appears that Honolulu real estate is slowly starting to move in a positive direction after months of decline.
According to a July 2, 2009 article in Pacific Business News, “Single-family home prices on Oahu fell 9 percent last month compared to last year, while condominium prices dropped 5 percent. But sales of existing homes were up and the head of the Honolulu Board of Realtors said there are signs the slump may be easing.” Harvey Shapiro of the Honolulu Board of Realtors said that “This is different than all the other cities on the mainland where they've had a huge explosion of properties available on the market and their prices subsequently drop because there were so many choices for buyers.”