Decline In Hawaii Housing Prices Reflects National Trend
POSTED: 12:41 pm HST December 27, 2011
UPDATED: 5:55 pm HST December 27, 2011
HONOLULU -- U.S. home prices fell in most major cities, further evidence that the housing recovery will be bumpy and weigh on the broader economy in 2012. The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index released Tuesday showed prices dropped in October from September in 19 of the 20 cities tracked. But local Realtors agree Hawaii's housing market has already hit rock bottom.
Just like most of the nation, Hawaii's housing market saw a decrease in home prices in October, but just a slight drop, of around 5 percent. That varies from island to island. What is down is inventory.
"I think we've gone through all that toxic stuff, all the inventory that people were forced to sell," said Berton Hamamoto, president of the Hawaii Association of Realtors.
Low inventory and a lack of construction makes for a sellers market. But it's the low interest rates that have realtors saying now is a good time to buy.
"It's a good time to buy a home, definitely, because interest rates are down. You can get a 3 1/2, 4 percent loan today. When was the last time we had that?" Hamamoto said.
But consumer confidence is what drives people to purchase a new home and a big looming question is how many people are out of jobs here in Hawaii.
"So the question is what will happen to unemployment here. Are we going to start losing jobs? Are we going to stay stable? Are we going to increase jobs? I think that's going to dictate which way the market will go," said Hamamoto.
While we may be seeing a drop in gasoline prices at the pump, we'll be paying more for electricity and water in 2012 and that may scare people away from investing in a new home.
"A lot of people are going to get hit with increasing expenses, which is going to take away from their ability to buy," said Hamamoto.
What that means for home prices in the coming months? Experts said we'll have to wait and see.
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