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Just Released: 2023 Q1 Hawaiʻi Market Report Reveals Sellers Retain the Upper Hand Amidst Less Competitive Market

Hawai’i Life just released our Quarter 1 2023 Hawai’i Real Estate Market Report. 

According to the report, Hawaii’s real estate market is seeing months of inventory more than double compared to the first quarter of 2022, while sales are down. Despite this upward shift in months of inventory, sellers still hold the asking power across the state in Q1 2023.

honolulu oahu coastline

Q1 Property Sales Lower Than First Quarter of 2022

A look back on Hawaii’s real estate market over the first quarter of the year indicates that each island has seen fewer property sales. A comparison of Q1 2022 to Q1 2023 reveals that the number of sales on Oahu and Maui has only fallen between 31% and 37%, while the Big Island of Hawaii’s property sales were -41.9% lower and Kauai’s sales were down -55% from Q1 2022. 

This decrease in property sales signals a less competitive market. It’s one that discerning sellers are taking full advantage of by focusing on making residential improvements to increase property values and being selective about who they market to, ensuring that they reach the right buyer.

lush green mountain view from kauai home

As Sales Drop, Supply of Single-Family Homes Replenished 

While residential home sales are down, the number of single-family homes available is up across the chain of islands in Q1 2023. On the Big Island, active residential listings climbed the most, rising to 54.5% while Kauai trails the other islands in its increase in current inventory, up 43.8% to only 115 listings.

According to the Q1 Real Estate Market Report, months of inventory has also swelled while remaining safely in seller’s territory over the past 12 months. On Oahu, months of inventory rose 143.2% to 3 months, making it the lowest ascent in the state. Given the current sales pace, Kauai’s months of inventory takes the lead with an increase of +216.7%. At 5.7 months, sellers are still in the driver’s seat.  

The statewide average remains less than 5 months. Specifically, it would take an average of 4.35 months for the current inventory of homes on the market to sell, indicating a housing market that may still nudge home prices up across Hawai’i. 

luxurious indoor outdoor living space in big island home

Pending Property Sales Share Downward Trajectory, Average Price is Notably Island-Specific 

According to the Q1 Real Estate Market Report, changes in average price per square foot were notably island-specific. On Kauai, the average price per square foot has shown a steady decrease, dropping to $679/foot while Oahu saw a year over year decrease to $700/foot in the first quarter of 2023.

On the other hand, Maui’s residential properties are commanding significantly more value, rising from $811 over the last 12 months to $957 per square foot. Although less than other islands, Hawai’i Island’s average sold price per square foot did inch up +1.7% to $516/foot in Q1 2023.

Although changes to average sold price per square foot were a mixed bag in 2023’s first quarter, pending property sales all took the same downward trajectory. On Oahu, homes under contract were 744, a decrease of -23.6% over the same period in 2022, in which 974 homes were under contract. 

On the Big Island and Maui, pending properties fell further, with a decrease of -32.7% in the pending properties on the Big Island and a -38% decrease in Maui’s homes under contract. Homes under contract on Kaui took the sharpest downward turn, coming in at 82 homes, a decrease of -50% from the same period last year, in which 164 homes were under contract. This consistent descent across Hawai’i suggests the essential return to a more reasonable market after over two years at a frenetic sales pace.

chairs under covered lanai at oceanfront hawaii home

While months of inventory across the chain of islands is growing to meet continued demand from buyers, the market conditions still favor sellers. The real estate professionals at Hawai’i Life possess the expertise, knowledge, and skills that buyers rely on to stay competitive and sellers need to navigate these shifts in home sales.

Watch the Market Report Videos (Oahu, Kauai, Maui, Big Island) or contact your Hawai’i Life realtor(s) with any specific market questions at As the market continues to evolve, we’re here to help meet your real estate needs. 

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Gord Collins

May 22, 2023

Your point about it being a sellers market still despite rising inventory may beevident in all housing markets. Sellers still demand their price which might account for strange lower sales volumes. I wonder if the next 12 months will see prices fall enough that buyers will jump before others do.

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