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October 15, 2017

We are seeing the same luxury homebuyer trend on Maui.

Luxury homebuyers on Oahu — or buyers seeking homes priced above $2 million — are becoming less interested in the size of a home and more interested in amenities and the lifestyle that comes with them, according to Patti Nakagawa, Global Luxury director at Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties.

“They value privacy, security, and most importantly, a luxury lifestyle that suits their personal interests – culture, the arts, nature,” Nakagawa told Pacific Business News. “There’s a trend toward smaller homes that provide more lifestyle and less maintenance, with world-class amenities, easy access to restaurants and shopping.”

As buyers become more savvy, Nakagawa said it’s becoming increasingly important for agents to utilize aerial photography, videos and 3D tours of a property that also showcase the lifestyle, especially to attract off-shore buyers.

Most luxury homebuyers are starting their search on the web, but still look at print advertising, Nakagawa said, adding that some higher-priced properties are listed privately, making it “imperative that the homebuyers use a luxury specialist to help them navigate their search.”

In 2016, 42 percent of luxury homebuyers in Hawaii came from the Mainland; 38 percent came from Hawaii; and 15 percent came from Japan, according to Coldwell Banker. On Oahu, where 60 percent of the state’s luxury real estate volume was sold, Hawaii buyers represented 53 percent of sales, Mainland buyers represented 17 percent and Japan buyers represented 23 percent; a large jump from 2015, when Japan buyers represented 6 percent of the sales.

“This increase was in large part attributable to the Japan-buyer sales for the Ritz Carlton Waikiki and 1118 Ala Moana, known as Waiea,” Nakagawa said. “The combined Japan-buyer sales of properties priced at $2 million and higher for these two new developments represented $243 million in sales, or 70 percent of Oahu’s Japanbuyer sales in that price range.”

The three most popular neighborhoods for luxury buyers on Oahu are Kahala, Diamond Head and Kakaako, which have been the top three for the past three years, Nakagawa said.

“Over the next few years, we will see an increase in the Kakaako and Ala Moana neighborhoods — an impact from the new luxury condominiums and infusion of new inventory in these areas,” Nakagawa said. Another trend occurring in the luxury market are smart homes with mobile security systems, especially for consumers with multiple homes.

While the increase in technology has kept consumers well-informed, it will not replace real estate professionals, Nakagawa said.

“It will enhance their ability,” Nakagawa said. “Buyers and sellers still want to work with a real estate agent to interpret all of the data and information and guide them through the process of selling or buying.”

Katie Murar
Pacific Business News

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