Whether you're looking for a retirement home or relocating for work, house hunting in Hawaii will be an expensive proposition. You can still find a good deal if you time the market and work an experienced, local real estate agent.
Buying a house is a stressful and emotional process. You'll likely have to spend weeks touring properties, fill out hundreds of forms, and invest a large chunk of your savings to secure the right house.
One way to make buying a house easier is starting the process at the right time. In Hawaii, housing inventory, mortgage rates, and market trends vary from month to month.
For example, this year listing prices for homes in Hawaii were lowest in June. On average, homes were $86,800 less expensive. While in January — the month with the highest prices — the listing prices were $156,792 more than the annual average.
In truth, the best time to buy a house really depends on your priorities and situation. Read on to find out which time of year will give you the most options and the biggest savings when buying a house in Hawaii.
Best Month For
7.1% lower than average
8.7% more homes to choose from
2.63% interest for 30-year mortgage
Realtor.com data (October 2020)
Bankrate data (December 2020)
If you're interested in buying a home, the first step in the home buying journey is getting preapproved by a licensed lender. Even if you’re already pre-approved, shopping around for lower rates can pay dividends over the life of the loan.
You can fill out the form below to be instantly matched with a licensed lender who knows the area and can guide you through the process.
Best Time of Year to Buy in Hawaii
The state of Hawaii consists of a series of six islands, which naturally limits expansion and new home building. Land is scarce and property prices high.
The median home value in Hawaii is $617,900. Home values only rose 3.3% last year, with another 2.8% expected in 2019. Hawaii has an extremely low unemployment rate, only 2.1%, but this hides the problem of retiring employees and worker shortages. If you can afford the higher home prices, now could be the time to scoop up a deal from someone retiring and down-sizing.
Because Hawaii features a mild climate, there is no true prime home buying season, though you may want to avoid hurricane season from June to November.
The Best Places to Buy a Home in Hawaii
Honolulu is the largest metropolitan area and a hub for banking, manufacturing, and military defense. If you don’t mind the constant drove of tourists, you’ll appreciate the nightlife and restaurant scene.
Located on Maui, Kahului sees its fair share of tourists but has a more established resident community. It also features excellent schools.
Pearl City on Oahu, home of Pearl Harbor, has a community college and good public schools. Popular hiking trails feature waterfalls and ponds.
Kailua, on the island of Hawaii, features attractions like Kahana Beach, Kahana Pond State Wildlife Sanctuary, and Maui Nui Botanical Gardens. The Maui Arts & Cultural Center hosts more than 1,800 events annually, so the city is home to an active arts community.
4 Ways to Get a Great Deal on a Home in Hawaii
Find a Great Hawaiian Real Estate Agent
Real estate agents have been trained to help along every step of the home buying journey. They’ll be able to recommend lenders where you can get pre-approved for a mortgage, as they probably have experience with most local lenders. Their insightful questions will narrow your search to the best neighborhood to meet your needs and budget. Once you make an offer on your dream home, an agent handles the negotiations over price, move-in dates, and closing costs.
You’ll want an agent who advocates on your behalf, working as a buyer’s agent with no conflicts of interest. Clever Partner Agents only represent the buyer in transactions. Top agents from nationwide brokerages such as Century21 or Keller Williams make up our network.
Assess Your Needs and Lay Out Your Goals
Every home buyer has different needs, whether it’s downsizing for retirement or needing more space for a new baby. As your real estate agent gets to know you, they will learn what you’re looking for and will help you prioritize your needs.
After the initial meeting, an agent describes the homes and neighborhoods which are within your budget. First-time home buyers often have to compromise, so they can help you prioritize your list. If you have specific financial goals or monthly mortgage payment amount in mind, they’ll show you what and where you can find what you want for that price.
If you’re unsure of where to start, read What to Look for When Buying a Home for guidance on making a list of needs and wants.
Find a Lender and Secure Financing
Unless you plan to buy your home with cash, you'll need to apply for a mortgage. For most home buyers in Hawaii, interest rates are among the biggest factors when choosing a lender. Doing a little upfront research and comparing options to find the best rates could save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.
For example, in Hawaii a typical house is worth $655,000. Assuming a 20% down payment, if you took out a 30-year mortgage for 3.5%, your monthly payment would be $2,337. But if you shopped around and found a 3% mortgage, your monthly payment would drop to about $2,209.
Getting a mortgage is a big decision – and it pays to shop around! Keep shopping until you find a lender with competitive rates who also understands your goals. Don’t get pressured into taking on a bigger loan than you’re comfortable with – work with a lender who explains what you’re really signing up for.
» Get instantly matched with a lender who works in your area.
Negotiate for the Best Possible Price
Houses are one of the few areas in our economy where people negotiate. Because so few of us negotiate often, this is where your agent’s skills shine. Once you want to make an offer, your agent prepares and submits it. After the home inspection, they’ll make a list of repairs and how serious they could be, then negotiate price reductions for major repairs or to have items fixed before you move in.
Since negotiating terms and a sale price can save you thousands it’s essential to Find a Buyer’s Agent That’s a Good Negotiator.
If you’re ready to begin house hunting in Hawaii, fill out the online form to be contacted by a Clever representative. Once they’ve gathered your details, they’ll connect you with a local Partner Agent for a no-obligation consultation.