Oahu Luxury Real Estate Market Report For December 2020 | Fewer Mainland/International Buyers Affecting Oahu Luxury Market?

Oahu Luxury Real Estate Market Update – December 2020

The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing (ILHM) published the December report for the North American luxury market.  In this report, the Oahu luxury market is defined as single-family homes above the benchmark price of $1,875,000, and attached homes, also known as condominiums and townhomes, above the benchmark price of $835,000.

In November the number of sales increased in both the single-family and attached home markets after decreasing last month for the first time in five months.  The single-family median price dropped for the second month and the attached home median price increased over last month, but still significantly lower than the 13-month high in September.


There were 28 single-family home sales on Oahu in the month of November, ranging in price from $1.88 million to $12.5 million.  Most of the single-family home sales were in the Diamond Head and Kailua regions again.  Nearly 80% of the luxury single-family homes were purchased by local buyers.  There were only three mainland buyers – two from California and one from Utah.  There were also three international buyers – one each from Japan, Hong Kong, and Canada….Yes, Canadians are considered foreign buyers.

The highest sale, at $12.5 million in Kailua’s Lanikai neighborhood, for the second month in a row, was a beautiful resort-style home on an acre of beachfront property.  The property featured a main house, guest house, office building, and gym as well as pool, jacuzzi, and putting green.

The number of homes sold in November is up 17% over October and up 33% over November 2019.  This is a new 13-month high.  With nearly 80% of homes sold to local buyers, there is a lot of transition from condos to single-family homes and move-up buying.

The inventory for single-family homes is down 2% from October, and down 25% from November 2019.  Inventory continues to be an issue in the Oahu luxury single-family home market, especially in the price bands and types of homes luxury consumers are now looking for.

With higher sales and lower inventory, it may seem surprising to see the November single-family median price of $2.3 million down 3% from the October median price of $2.4 million, and down 20% from the November 2019 median price of $2.9 million.  As I mentioned last month, local buyers tend to buy in lower price bands than mainland and international luxury buyers.  In November 80% of the buyers were local buyers.


There were 32 attached home sales on Oahu in November, ranging in price from $850,000 to $3.1 million.  Most of these sales were in the Honolulu Metro and Hawaii Kai regions with additional sales in the Kailua, Diamond Head, and Ewaplain regions.  Unlike the single-family market, 15 of the luxury attached homes were purchased by mainland and international buyers.  That is 47% of the attached home sales.

The highest sale, at $3.1 million, was a 2300 square foot 3-bedroom 2.5-bath Hokua Penthouse unit with three parking stalls.  Hokua returns to the top spot after three months of the top condo sale at Park Lane.

The number of attached homes sold in November was up 33% over October, and up 7% over November 2019.  This is the highest number of sales since the beginning of the pandemic.

The inventory for attached homes is down 2.7% from October, and down 0.5% from November 2019.  Attached luxury home inventory is not too far off 2019 inventory levels.  However, the inventory of high demand units, offering private entrances and full-service staff, is limited.

The attached home median price of $1.03 million is up 5% from October, but still down 11% from November 2019.  It’s good to see that median price over $1 million again this month after dipping below $1 million last month, which was the first time since the low in May 2020.


The single-family market continues to be a seller’s market, especially in the lower price bands where demand is highest and extremely low inventory is the big issue.  The median and higher price bands have good inventory, but struggle with low inventory of premier properties offering the location, finishes, space, and amenities today’s luxury buyers are looking for.  Buyers can find some good values if they are willing to take on a project and do some renovations.

The attached home market generally remains a pretty strong buyer’s market with high inventory levels in most price bands and property types, but also struggles with low inventory of high demand properties offering private unit access in communities with full-service staff.  The attached market seems to be in that interesting transition phase where buyers are waiting for the deals and sellers are holding firm on prices while waiting for the economic and tourism recovery.

The winter season is traditionally active for the luxury market as mainland and international buyers are spending time here in Hawaii.  Unfortunately, Covid cases are spiking in many of areas these buyers are coming from and that will likely impact travel plans.  It will be interesting to see what the new year brings.

You can click HERE to see more detailed information about the Oahu luxury market as well as a summary of high-level statistics for the other U.S. luxury markets tracked by the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing.  If you would like more detailed information about another U.S. luxury market listed in the report, please let me know and I’ll be happy to forward the ILHM report for that market.



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