Market Trends

Is Oahu Sailing in the Direction of Hong Kong Housing Prices?

To ring in 2018, I spent some time on the Island of Hong Kong for some business and some pleasure. My Italian friends aboard the Maserati Mod Multi 70 are attempting to break the world record of the historic Tea route, sailing non-stop from Hong Kong to London in less than 41 days. I had the pleasure of wishing them a Bon Voyaggio before their journey, and I also got to explore the internationally diverse city of Hong Kong. I must say, they had some pretty delicious restaurants, craft cocktails and bustling street markets, oh and of course shopping! The city looks a lot like Honolulu’s Kaka’ako, Downtown, and Waikiki, but spread out over a much larger area.

I had the opportunity to join the crew on a practice sail, and was lucky enough to see the entire city from the sea. Interestingly, order to sail there, you must have a local port Captain on board. He was from Scotland but had lived in HK for some time, so I was able to get some real Hong Kong knowledge about the housing market and living the Hong Kong life that he absolutely loved. Several of his anecdotes stuck with me. It is clear that Hong Kong is an extremely safe city; his children take the metro alone daily and have since they were 8. The city-state has an excellent school system, and with it an extremely high priced real estate market. These similarities inspired me to take a closer look at the market as compared to Honolulu.

The local Hong Kong port Captian and I quite freezing. In the cockpit of the Maserati Multi Mod 70, on a windy sail. photo: @pitsfoto

While I was there, I popped into a handful of local brokerages to gain some market knowledge. Many people in Real Estate on Oahu that are familiar with Asia predict that Honolulu is on track to become the next Hong Kong: high priced real estate, growing population rate, and a limited amount of land. Sound familiar? I have to agree! Hong Kong was recently rated the least affordable city in the world. According to CNN’s Top 10 Most Expensive Housing Markets in 2017, Hong Kong is #1 and Honolulu comes in at #7.

Causeway Bay, Hong Kong @livethehawaiilife

Here are a few current listings in Hong Kong:

1 WanChai Rd: Studio, 1 bath apartment – 320 sq feet: offered at $7.27 million Hong Kong dollars = $929,886 US dollars in todays exchange / $2,905 US per sq foot.

The Gloucester: 1 bedroom ocean view unit – 674 sq foot: $16.8 million Hong Kong dollars = $2,148,954 US dollars / $3,188 US per sq foot.

York Place: 1 bedroom, 1 bath – 408 sq ft: offered at $9M Hong Kong dollars =$1,151,186 US / $2,821 US per sq foot.

WanChai @livethehawaiilife

Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club @livethehawaiilife

I took some very similar comparisons from Kaka’ako’s neighborhood of newly-built buildings, Anaha being the newest Alexander & Baldwin, Inc completed building.

Anaha: MLS: 201720606 434 sq foot studio is listed at $649,000 US – $1,495 per sq foot.

The Collection:  MLS: 201721165  659 sq foot 1 bedroom, 1 bath with lanai listed at $708,888 sq foot cost = $1,076

ANAHA: 1108 Auahi St, Honolulu, HI 96814 @livethehawaiilife

Altogether, compared to Hong Kong, Honolulu’s prices don’t seem so outlandish. Of course, everything is relative. However, I would have to agree that with our historical data showing our housing market increasing year over year at about 5%, I do agree that we will be sailing towards being closer in housing prices to the Hong Kong market today, in 5-10 years. The point? Invest now. If you want to buy a home or investment property, do it now. Hong Kong is consistently buying in Oahu’s market. They know it is a smart investment because they have seen their market skyrocket.

With mortgage rates still being low at under 4%, I don’t see a better time to buy a piece of paradise then right now. We have the weather, architecture, and a variety of cuisine to rival Hong Kong, but I know we’ve got them beat on the beaches!

Koko Head @livethehawaiilife

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Christine Bailey

January 26, 2018

I think you are sooo wonderful. Such in-site to the market trends. You rock. Love the blog ?


May 6, 2018

Interesting article….you make a very sound argument.

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