East Hawaii News

DBEDT Breaks Down Hawai’i Home Buying

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Home sales in Hawai’i are outlined in a recent report released by the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, Research and Economic Analysis Division.

The report, “Residential Home Sales in Hawai’i,” has summarized home buying activity in Hawai’i during a time period between January 2008 and September 2015.

Using data compiled by Title Guaranty, DBEDT recorded activity from the Hawai’i Bureau of Conveyances. The information includes the resale of existing home and new home developments, single family homes, and condominiums, as well as sales completed between real estate agents and sales by owners.

During the report’s time period, 139,998 homes were sold throughout Hawai’i. This number represents an average of about 18,064 homes being sold on a yearly basis and 1,505 homes sold each month.

Across state counties, various pricing trends were reportedly seen over the years. Hawai’i County and Maui County saw large scale increases from 2013 to 2014, with an upward trend continuation through 2015.


Residents were the primary home buyers during the seven-year span with a total of 72.5 percent of homes sold to Hawai’i residents. Another 23.5 percent of those homes were sold to individuals from the mainland and four percent sold to out-of-country buyers.

On the Big Island, 56.9 percent of buyers were Hawai’i residents, while another 39.7 percent were mainland buyers. Only 3.4 percent of foreign buyers chose the Big Island to purchase a home.

The lowest average prices for homes were those purchased by Hawai’i residents, according to the report. Homes sold to foreign residents and those sold to mainland residents had the highest averages. Foreign residents purchased homes with an average price tag of $785,604, while home purchased by mainland buyers were an average of $630,390 over the seven year span. Hawai’i residents purchased homes at an average cost of $478,189.

Home pricing on the Big Island for residents was an average of $274,469, while mainland buyers on the island paid an average of $512,052 and foreign buyers paid upwards of $584,834 on average.


Hawai’i County saw the largest number of home purchases being bought along the Kohala Coast (962), in Puna (888), and in Kona (815). The least amount of purchases made from January 2008 to September 2015 were along the Hamakua Coast, where just 49 purchases were made.

In line with the price averages, DBEDT analysis found that 47 percent of neighbor island homes were sold to residents from out-of-state, while only 15 percent of Oahu homes fit that same bill.

A large majority of mainland buyers were purchasing homes in Hawai’i from California, 38.4 percent; Texas, 10.5 percent; and Washington State, 8.5 percent.

Foreign residents from Canada represent 44.1 percent of individuals coming to Hawai’i to purchase homes, while Japanese buyers fulfilled another 37.9 percent of foreign home buying state-wide. Buyers from Canada and Japan make up a total of 82 percent of all foreign buying, based on the report.


Although part of the majority buying group of Hawai’i homes to foreign buyers, Canadians have begun to decline over the seven year period of Hawai’i home buying.

Hong Kong purchases paid the highest average of homes in Hawai’i at an average of $1.05 million. Homes purchased by residents of China followed the highest average home prices at $936,738, and Korean buyers rounded out the top three priciest homes at an average cost of $882,894.

An updated report that includes a breakdown of homes sales between single family and condominium homes is expected to include homes sales data and will be released in DBEDT’s Quarterly Statistical and Economic Report beginning next February.

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