Hawaii real estate news

Oahu property tax appeal deadline is January 15, 2009

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Most Oahu residents saw a decrease in their tax assessed values for 2009.  Some homeowners here and there have higher assessments this year.  A friend called me yesterday to talk about her assessment, which has been climbing year after year. This Kaneohe homeowner has been living in her home for years.  Despite the overall decrease in assessed values on the windward side of Oahu, her assessment is up again, possibly higher than the actual market value of her home. W...

Obama arrives in Hawaii today

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Barack Obama is on his way home.  He'll be arriving on Oahu shortly for a holiday stay in Kailua. The Obamas are renting several homes on one property, in the Beachside neighborhood.  As the name implies, this is an area with homes on a sandy beach. Beachside in Kailua on a sunny day The property being rented by the Obamas has its backyard overlooking the Oneawa Channel.  A beautiful white sand beach fronts the homes.  The Kaimalino...

Oahu tax assessments for 2009

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Oahu's tax assessments for 2009 have arrived.  And the news is... an overall increase in property values!  The percentage decreases on the regional map below might appear shocking, however Oahu's overall value put into dollars is an increase from $190.7 billion in the prior year to $191.1 billion this year.  That doesn't sound as bad.  How does the increase in Oahu's land values tie in with some significant decreases reflected above?  The answer is, a big port...

Something odd at Makaha Valley Plantation

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I picked up a customer at Honolulu Airport on Saturday and took them out to Makaha Valley Plantation.  They had recently purchased a unit at the Plantation and this was their first time seeing it in person. We arrived at the Plantation and checked out their unit.  They were very happy with the purchase and have a long term plan of living there.  Taking a look around, we noticed something odd in the neighboring building.  The top floor (of the three story building) was missing its wall...

Is a home warranty worth the money?

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My friends just bought a 10-year old home a few months ago.  Escrow offered them a home warranty and we discussed the pros and cons.  I recalled a case where the buyer moved into a home that was just four years old.  Within a week, the built-in microwave oven died.  The new owners paid about $55 for servicing and American Home Shield repaired the oven. That was good enough for my friends and they purchased the home warranty.  A basic home warranty covers the major...

Good news on the Hawaiian Electric bill

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We've watched energy bills climb over the last year due to oil prices, which peaked at $147 per barrel back in July.  Since that time, oil has declined to $51 per barrel today.   It's hard to believe - oil prices have gone down to about 1/3 of what they were four months ago. Hawaiian Electric recently announced that customers can expect their bills to go down as a result of the price reductions.  This month I noticed the cost per kilowatt hour had gone do...

Federal tax changes affect gain on sale of second homes

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The U.S. Government did a great thing for homeowners back in 1997.  The Taxpayer Relief Act allowed a homeowner to exclude up to $250,000 of gain on a residential sale.  Married homeowners filing jointly could exclude up to $500,000 of gain. Tax-free profit - that's hard to beat.  Many of us were able to use the exclusion and sell a property, then upgrade to a better home.  With our economy going the way it is (not so good), Congress is making some changes that wi...

Japanese billionaire unpopular in Kahala

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Genshiro Kawamoto is a man some Kahala residents would rather forget.  The 76 year-old man currently owns 22 homes in Kahala, with 20 of them on prestigious Kahala Avenue.  The gripe from Kahala residents is that Mr. Kawamoto is letting his homes fall apart. A little history about Mr. Kawamoto Remember the Japanese bubble?  It started about 20 years ago here in Hawaii.  Affluent Japanese businessmen started buying up luxury homes in Kahala and other areas.&nbsp...

Hawaii real estate full time - not an easy way to make money

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For those of you working hard out there, these numbers maybe interesting.  Non-realtors often think of our job as "a cruise" and how we're so overpaid.  I'll admit I've had harder jobs - I graduated from the University of Hawaii majoring in accounting.  Passed the CPA exam and worked in two CPA firms.  Then I moved on to be the controller of a property development company for eight years.  Tired and stressed from that, I worked as con...

Oahu home sales down September 2008

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Oahu's home prices took their biggest hit of 2008 in September.  Prior to this, we had been happy to say that the U.S. housing market's slide had a minimal effect on Hawaii.  Last month, median prices of homes and condos on Oahu fell about 10% compared with prices one year earlier.  Sales volume (the number of properties sold) was down 16% for single family homes and 26% for condos and townhomes. The median price of a home on Oahu was $590,000 - home pri...