Business / In Brief • July 8, 2014

Oahu housing prices reach record levels

HONOLULU – Housing prices on Oahu hit record levels in June thanks to an improving economy and tight supply.

The median cost for a single-family home was $700,000, eclipsing the June 2007 record of $685,000, according to statistics released Monday by the Honolulu Board of Realtors.

Condominium prices also reached a new median high in June of $360,000, topping the previous record of $359,450 set in February, the board said.

June’s median single-family home price is just a 3 percent gain from the same month last year, which was $677,250.

For the first six months of 2014, both the median single-family house and condo sale prices gained 7 percent, to sit at $669,500 and $350,000 respectively.

The gains in the state’s biggest residential market are fueled by low interest rates, rising personal income and job growth, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported. Meanwhile, there’s relatively little new housing and fewer people selling existing homes.

There were 1,200 single-family houses on the market at the end of June, a decrease from May when there were 1,279 houses for sale. Condo inventory at the end of last month was at 1,749, also down from 1,793 in May.

“That demand, coupled with low inventory, is what’s causing the continued growth in median sales prices,” said Julie Meier, president of the board and an agent with Prudential Locations LLC.


Kauai to boost use of hydropower

LIHUE – Kauai’s electric utility says it plans to buy power from a new hydroelectric facility.

The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative says the facility being built by Gay & Robinson will be the first new large-scale hydropower plant on Kauai in 80 years.

CEO David Bissell said in a statement Thursday the agreement will help the utility get closer to its goal of using renewables to generate 50 percent of its energy.

Terms of a proposed contract between the utility and Gay & Robinson are confidential. They must be approval by the Public Utilities Commission. Gay and Robinson hopes to have the plant operational in five years.

Gay & Robinson plans to build the 6-megawatt facility below an existing 1.3-megawatt plant on Olokele Ditch.


Saturday newspaper returning to Kauai

LIHUE- The Garden Island newspaper says it’s bringing back its Saturday edition, publishing a print edition seven days a week.

The newspaper’s Editor-in-Chief Bill Buley said Monday that the Saturday edition will allow the paper to deliver timely reporting of Friday sports and breaking news, as well as features. The Saturday edition will begin republishing this week.

Oahu Publications President Dennis Francis says the Saturday edition is a sign of the newspaper’s commitment to the Kauai community.