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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 4:26 p.m., Thursday, January 3, 2002

O'ahu home sales climb

O'ahu home resales for December

Advertiser Staff

Sales of existing single-family houses on O'ahu slowed last month but still ended the year with a 7 percent gain over 2000 as low mortgage rates and attractive prices offset consumers' concerns about a slowing economy.

In December, house sales dropped 3.7 percent, while prices posted a 0.7 percent increase. Condominium resales and prices gained ground, with condos sold rising 4.4 percent for the month and prices rising 2 percent.

For the year, more than 3,400 single-family houses were sold; annual sales of condominiums hit 4,261, up 8.5 percent over 2000 sales.

Overall dollar volume of sales for the year reached $1.99 billion, up 2.7 percent from $1.94 billion in 2000.

"The market in 2001 produced sales higher than at any time since 1990, a sign that our market continues to be healthy," said Peter Freeman, president of the Honolulu Board of Realtors, which released the statistics this morning.

The real estate industry has been one of the bright spots in the O'ahu economy after the Sept. 11 attacks, which caused a dramatic drop in tourism.

The report said 260 single-family houses sold on O'ahu in December, down from 270 in December 2000. The median price paid for a house, $308,500, was up slightly from a year ago, when it was $306,500.

"The lower cost of financing and the opportunities available for buyers, sellers, and investment in Oahu housing are responsible for the vigor in the O'ahu housing market," Freeman said in a statement.

Condominium sales totaled 332 in December, up from the 318 units that sold in December 2000. Meanwhile, the median condominium price rose 2 percent to $130,000.

Mortgage rates in the United States have hovered at 30-year lows. The average rate on a 30-year mortgage in Hawai'i fell as low as 6.2 percent near the end of October and has since climbed to 7.1 percent last week.