Real Estate Blog

oahu real property tax credit

I shopped at Times Supermarket this morning and this sign caught my eye. It's great that Times and the City and County of Honolulu work together to inform owner occupants about the tax credit.  If you're not familiar with the property tax credit, please continue reading!

Criteria for obtaining the Property Tax Credit:

  • Real Property Tax home exemption must be in effect when the credit is applied for.
  • Owner(s) cannot own any other real estate, anywhere.
  • Combined income of all titleholders cannot exceed $60,000.
  • None of the taxpayers have violated Revised Ordinances of Honolulu Section 8-13.5 (Penalties relating to the County Tax Credit) by filing a false application or attesting to any false statements with the intent to defraud the
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The Haiku Stairs have been around since the 1940's when the Navy built a communication station in the Koolau mountain range.  The Navy turned the property over to the Coast Guard in 1975.  The station was named the Omega navigation facility and the Coast Guard opened the stairway to the public.  

As student attending the University of Hawaii in the mid-1980's I heard about the stairs and the fantastic views.  I wanted to hike them.  Then in 1987 the stairs were closed due to vandalism.  The City eventually repaired the stairs and there was excitement in the news media about the pending reopening.  New problems emerged.  The Board of Water Supply is the custodian of the stairs. There were issues with access and parking in the Kaneohe neighborhood where

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makaha beach cabanas maintenance fees

Low maintenance fees are one of the attractive features at Makaha Beach Cabanas for years.  In 2017 we're seeing a significant increase - don't worry, it's a good deal!

People naturally want the lowest maintenance fees possible. However it's important to look at the amenities included at the property you own or are contemplating purchasing. Makaha Beach Cabanas maintenance fees have been in the low $400's (per month) in recent years. This year, 2017, the maintenance fee increased to $430 in January then $480 starting in February. The increase between January and February is a result of the association's adoption of a cable tv and high speed internet package deal with Oceanic Cable.

Cable TV and internet now included in Makaha Beach Cabanas

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Oahu's property tax payment deadlines are February 20th and August 20th of each year.  If you recently purchased a property, the Honolulu Property Tax office might not have processed your owner information yet and a tax bill might not be sent.  Still, a property owner is responsible for paying his/her property taxes on time.

Here’s how to get the property tax information and pay the taxes:

  1. Go to this page:
  2. Click “property search.”
  3. Search by parcel number (tmk)
  4. Input your TMK.  All Oahu TMK's start with "1".  Omit the "1" and input the TMK without any dashes like this, for example: 260230450053
  5. If a valid TMK has been entered the search will pull up the property summary. Click the "parcel number"
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Hawaii's real estate market has grown steadily from 2012 to 2016.  Growth has been moderate with median home prices rising, between 7.8% to 3.7% annually. First time home buyers and investors might be wishing they had bought five years ago.  Consider this: prices increased nearly 50% during the 2004-2005 two year period. Buyers (myself included!) jumped into the market in the next few years thinking they had better get a home before prices REALLY take off.  In late 2008 the market reversed and declined approximately 10-15% (varying by neighborhood) over the next several years. Hawaii economists recently predicted real estate prices will rise through the year 2020 and they've had a good track record in the past.

What factors are currently affecting

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Home prices rise steadily in 2016 on Oahu

oahu's median home sales prices rose 4.9% and condos are up 7.8% year to date in 2016

Note that home and condo selling prices are 98% of list prices on average.  Sometimes properties sell for less than asking price - not often though.  And sometimes properties that look "just okay" are subject to multiple offers and the final sale prices end up higher than the list prices.

For sellers, this is a great time.  For buyers, several years ago would have been better, however looking ahead, economists forecast the market will continue with increasing prices.  Putting off a purchase might mean paying more OR you can wait for a dip in prices, if you're very patient. How patient?  Nobody can say for sure, real estate cycles can take decades.

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I read about a great service the Honolulu Police Department (HPD) offers homeowners and it's free of charge!  If you live in a single family home and are planning a vacation, HPD will perform a "house check" while you are gone.  Uniformed police officers visit your home and look to see that things are in order.

HPD's house checks are limited to the following:

  • Single family homes - no condos, townhomes, commercial or construction sites.
  • House checks are for occupants away from their home for a vacation or similar purpose.  HPD doesn't do house checks on vacant homes that are on the market to be sold or rented nor when they are being fumigated.
  • The resident(s) must be away for at least five days and no longer than 30 days.  The residents'
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Most real estate on Oahu is sold in Fee Simple (FS) and that means if you buy it, you own it.  We also have leasehold properties (LH), some single family homes and a lot of condos.  Today we're focusing on leasehold single family homes.

Oahu's most common leasehold single family homes are leased either from the Department of Hawaiian Homelands (DHHL) or the Hawaii Housing Finance & Development Corporation (HHFDC.)  When you "buy" a DHHL or HHFDC lease, you are buying the right to use the lease from the current lessee.  Whether it be DHHL of HHFDC, at the time of this writing it is usually possible for a lessee to extend the lease.  One might want to extend the lease if the term is ending in the next 20-30 years.  As the lease terms shorten, it becomes

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How's the market?  As of January 2016 Oahu real estate is doing well, thank you.  The median home price reached a record monthly high, $733,500.  Have buyers missed out on the deals?  There's no question that prices were lower a couple of years ago.  On the other hand, where are prices going and for how long?  At this point the market looks stable with steady growth and there is no end in sight.  Thirty year mortgage rates remain below 4% and Hawaii's economy is growing.  Unemployment is near record lows.

Here's a chart of the housing market as of January, courtesy of the Honolulu Board of Realtors.

Oahu real estate sales information January 2016

Days on Market is an important indicator of demand.  Days on Market is the time a property is listed until an offer is accepted.  From the time of

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Recently my wife and I went to Queens Beach in Waikiki to eat breakfast and checkout the fish.  It's a nice place to hang out and people are walking, running, riding bikes as well as going in the ocean to swim and to surf.

 Alexandra Gomez and Nanakuli

As we sat on the wall eating breakfast I saw this young woman with a surfboard and a cat!  What?  Have you ever seen a house cat enjoying a dunk in the water?  We watched her put the board in the water, put the cat on the board and start paddling out.  And she had a leash attached to the cat.  Nanakuli climbed onto her shoulders for awhile then she put him on the front of the board and he seemed okay with that.  Good thing she had a wetsuit on, otherwise 'Kuli's claws might have been painful to her shoulders and her back.

Kuli paddling out

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