2006 home sales already on record pace

Usually, it’s the end of the year when buyers and sellers of real estate rush to close their deals, in order to secure tax benefits.

This year, there has been a flurry of sales in the first two weeks, with agents at Century 21 All Islands (with offices at Princeville, Kapa’a and Koloa) closing 15 sales in the first week of this month alone, said Kenneth W. Kubiak, vice president in charge of Kaua’i operations.

“If we could do that for 52 weeks, that would be great,” said Kubiak. “It looks like it’s starting out pretty good.”

The new year’s brisk market has continued a several-year trend in white-hot real-estate sales on the island, and to Kubiak and others there is no sign of a slowdown.

“There’s a lot of projects going on,” sales of homes across the island, and still lots of demand both from residents and those wishing to move to Kaua’i, he explained.

The lack of inventory, Kubiak said, even with new projects like the Villas at Puali in Puhi, Regency at Puhi and Plantation at Princeville, remains a concern. That lack of inventory keeps prices high on those properties that are for sale, oftentimes effectively pricing many residents right out of the market.

More inventory would mean more affordable and gap-group prices for homes, he explained. Members of the gap group include those who would like to buy housing but make too much money to qualify for government-assistance programs, and make too little money to qualify for traditional bank financing.

That lack of inventory kept prices high last year, and enticed many sellers to place their homes on the market, Kubiak said.

“The sellers brought their properties out. Prices were high enough so that certain sellers put their homes on the market,” and the aforementioned projects also came on-line, he said.

That led to a banner year for Century 21 All Islands, all offices, where agents recorded over $333 million in sales, putting them atop the list of top offices on the island.

In fact, agents in the Princeville office alone did more business last year than the second-place office, Coldwell Banker Bali Hai Realty, which came in at around $179 million in sales, Kubiak continued.

“We did a record year,” with agents in the Princeville office alone closing 331 transactions, up 22 percent from 2004. Agent commissions at the Princeville office were up $1 million in 2005 compared to 2004, he said.

There are 40 agents in the Princeville office.

“There was lots of growth last year,” with the market up at least 30 percent compared to 2004, Kubiak said.

The 20 agents in the Kapa’a office, a relatively new office, recorded 128 transactions, up 135 percent from 2004, he said.

In Koloa, sales were up 26 percent, to 50 transactions. There are 15 agents in Koloa.

While agents in each of the offices handled their share of “highend sales,” with Kubiak currently listing one property at $27 million, and many sales in the neighborhood of $5 million, the numbers at Century 21 All Islands (509 transactions, $333 million in sales) equate to an average sale price of around $650,000.

There were a total of eight Kaua’i firms recording over $100 million in sales last year, according to figures supplied to The Garden Island by James G. Pycha, owner and broker of RE/MAX Kauai. Another firm, Vision Properties, Inc., came in with $98 million.

The $100-million-plus companies on Kaua’i in 2005 are Century 21 All Islands, Coldwell Banker Bali Hai Realty, RE/MAX Kauai (two offices, over $160 million), Pacific Ocean Properties (over $159 million), Kauai Realty, Inc. (over $149 million), Sleeping Giant Realty (over $145 million), Regency Pacific Realty (two offices, over $106 million), and Makai Properties (over $103 million).

Kubiak, who has been handling sales of the Villas at Puali project, wanted most to talk about the story of local buyers there, rather than discuss last year’s company results, he said.

“It’s starting to be a neighborhood,” with at least a dozen homeowners already moved in, and the U-Haul moving truck outside another of the duplex units on Thursday.

“We’re basically sold out,” he said of the 104 units either finished or under various phases of construction along Puhi Road.

“It just gets gobbled up. We could have sold 200 easily if we had them.” There were over 400 people signed up for the available units there (please see the related story).

“It’s been sold to people who live here. The developer did a good job with the project and pricing,” said Kubiak. “I’m really happy to be involved in that project.”

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