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Local real estate market seen returning to pre-pandemic trends


Hawaiʻi residential real estate experts describe a market that is returning to pre-pandemic patterns.

Pacific Business News recently gathered residential real estate experts for an industry roundtable. They’re seeing patterns of purchasing and selling that existed before the non-stop buying frenzy that marked the past three years.

Rusty Rasmussen, Central Pacific Bank group senior vice president of the home loans division, says that seasonality has returned. For example, real estate sees a slowdown over the holidays.

Through the COVID-19 era, Hawaiʻi real estate had been a seller’s market, with multiple offers on a home being the norm. Panelists say that’s also changing to a more balanced market.

Rebecca Morton, general manager on Hawaiʻi Island for Coldwell Banker Island Properties, says a home’s neighborhood makes a difference.

Those in desirable neighborhoods will still often see multiple offers, but those offers are now coming with more typical buyer demands such as repairs to the home, or a longer escrow.

Affordability is a top concern. Kalama Kim, president of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Hawaiʻi Realty and 2023 president of Hawaiʻi Realtors, notes that the pace of sales has recently declined, and new listings have slowed.

Inventory is still tight, keeping prices high while rising interest rates are keeping people out of the market.

These include potential buyers who are having a harder time qualifying for a mortgage, as well as potential sellers.

Kim says someone with a 2% mortgage on their current home who faces a 5% mortgage on a new purchase is less likely to sell and move up.

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