2020 is a year to remember. Although our local economy is re-opening, there is still many unknowns. The COVID-economy is not for the faint of heart and some businesses are getting kicked in their teeth.
Brookfield Properties is a REIT that owns Ala Moana Shopping Center. According to a recent Financial Times article, Brookfield has skipped mortgage payments since some of its tenants were not able to pay rent. This is an everlasting domino effect that could cause major economic problems, like chronic unemployment.
Interestingly, it was also reported that Simon Property Group is trying to cancel its deal to buy Taubman Centers. This comes at no surprise since retail has suffered in the COVID-economy. On the flip side, Taubman Centers said it will “vigorously contest Simon’s purported termination and legal claims.” Simon Property Group, the largest US mall owner, is also suing GAP for unpaid rent during the pandemic. Ouch...
As crazy as this may sound, not all COVID-economy real estate news is negative. Locally, there has been some large commercial real estate transactions this year. In Kaka'ako, First Hawaiian Bank closed on three properties for a total of $7.5 million; this could be the site of their Kaka'ako banking center. In addition, Hawaiian Building Maintenance (HBM) closed on a $2.3 million purchase on Kawaiahao Street. According to Pacific Business News, this will become HMB's headquarters. Third, Watumull Properties closed on an industrial property in Waipahu for $3.85 million.
For residential real estate, one can lock in a 2% mortgage rate. Two of my clients have recently refinanced down to the mid 2% range. Both of them are going to save hundreds of dollars a month. During a pandemic, saving money can be a great thing. Every dollar counts.
In May 2020, the median single family home price on Oahu increased 3.5%. Certain neighborhoods, like Mililani Mauka, seem to be selling well. The handful of homes I showed in Mililani Mauka all have entered escrow quickly. Inventory has always been on low on Oahu, more so during our COVID-economy.
Things are not over yet. Although unemployment declined in Hawaii, it still hovers around 20%. Without a vaccine and more effective treatment, how do we open our economy without placing people at risk?
I recently listed a split-level 2-bedroom unit at Kahala Gardens. If you live in East Honolulu, you have probably driven past Kahala Gardens numerous times without even noticing it was there.
This condo is located in the heart of Kahala. There is retail and shopping, eateries, an upcoming urgent care, and the development of Kuono Marketplace. You are a hop-skip away from Kaimuki and you are near the onramp to go to Hawaii Kai. This is a walkable community.
We had heavy interest and we opened escrow a few days after listing the property. The same trend happened with my Newtown Meadows 2-bedroom listing. What made these two properties sell so quick? First, both units were priced well. Second, both units were well maintained. And third, there are not many listings that come up at Kahala Gardens and Newtown Meadows. Although we are living in a pandemic, Oahu's real estate market has been resilient.
Koa Ridge is finally here! Well, nothing is built yet. However, sales should start soon. Did you know Koa Ridge has been in the works since the 1990s? If the project was not delayed, I wonder what our housing market would be on Oahu. Here is a floorpan for one of the homes:
West and Central Oahu
I have done many transactions in West and Central Oahu with the bulk being in Waipio Gentry and Mililani. Both neighborhoods standout since they are offer housing options to anyone, from first time homebuyers to people looking for forever homes. The development of Koa Ridge and Hoopili could make living in West and Central Oahu more desirable. If demand increases, prices could follow too. Would you trade driving in traffic to live in a single family home in West or Central Oahu?
Greg and I will be listing a split-level 2/1/2 at Ahuimanu Gardens. The unit is fully remodeled and turnkey. There is an enclosed yard too!
We are prepping for a second Windward Oahu property. This home is located on Kamehameha Highway and it is situated near the water of Kaneohe Bay. Looking for a country home? This could be the place for you.
Stay safe and healthy.