So the real estate news has been pretty bad on all fronts. Here is a lighter look at the recent history of Hawaii real estate, and some examples I hope will inform and amuse you.
The real estate landscape was very different in 1966. Home listings were kept on index cards at each real estate office. Since there was no computer database, a list was compiled with the properties represented by each firm.
The monthly MLS book - here is the January 1966 cover - was oriented to buyers as well as Realtors, but listed no property addresses. The black and white photos of each home were considered to be state-of-the-art. Buyers had no representation – their agent was a subagent of the seller.
Most home prices were below $40,000, and only a few broke the $100,000 barrier.
When I entered the scene in 1986 things were changing. Information technology had begun to transform the business and there was a cooperative MLS system. We still relied on the printed MLS books, which came out every week – alternating condominiums and single family homes. At that time, each company still kept their newest listings as a closely-guarded secret. If a prospective buyer called the office, we were instructed to withhold the property address and details if at all possible so that we would try to get the callers name and phone number first.
A 1966 Mustang like this would be ideal for touring homes and neighborhoods!
There were no faxes for out of town business deals. Purchase offers were conveyed by phone to our clients, who would have to wait for the mailed originals to sign in order to bind the contract. A preliminary “accepted by phone” system would keep the buyer on the hook until the signed documents were received. So the arrival of the office fax machine was very exciting, although the paper came in rolls and the ink was faint and faded quickly. The computerized MLS system soon transformed things, slowly at first and then it snowballed into today’s open access system.
Cell phones appeared, and at first they were connected to a huge battery which had to be carried around, sort of like a canister vacuum cleaner. Then they downsized to the size of a brick for which we were grateful. They cost $2995, weighed two pounds and could hold a charge for a half hour!
Buyer agency was a huge transformation in the way Realtors do business, and took a lot of adjustment by the old-timers who thought that it was confusing and unnecessary.
1966 - $35,000 for a nice home.....2009 near $600,000
The biggest change of course is the prices, and access to information a close second.
I have selected below homes and pages from the January 1966 MLS book for different parts of the island – and also a few of the advertisements that appeared in it as well.
In the year 2040 Hawaii residents may look back at our home prices and marvel at how affordable everything was back in 2009!
Kahala to Hawaii Kai - Leasehold predominates, but at under $50,000 it's hard to complain! Hawaii Kai $42,000; Kahala gingerbread for $35,500 both leasehold!
Diamond Head $39,500. Leasehold ......Aina Haina $29,500 Fee Simple
Waialae Iki $32,000 Leasehold, Wailupe $54,500
When Hawaii Kai was new, leasehold lots were offerred by the nice folks at Bishop Estate with help from the Kaiser people. Don't worry, those leases go on almost forever...
The windward side was popular even then, with homes in various price ranges from $21,000 for a cottage to $45,000 for fee simple waterfront in Heeia.
Lanikai was a pricy $135,000 Fee Simple even then - but for beachfront! Kalaheo Hillside was leasehold then.
Close to downtown - Kalihi, Liliha, and Moanalua, all under $50,000. Kalihi was already old even back then!
Peace and quiet in the country and on the windward side ... and more fee simple properties are available. How about a beachside bungalow for $19,000 in Sunset??
The Leeward area - quiet and rural. Pacific Palisades $34,000 fee simple and Old Ewa Beach for $22,500 leasehold.
What a buy, and brand new in Crestview! Conspicuously absent is Mililani.
Don't bother to try to contact any of the companies advertised here, or aattempt to reach the listing agents to buy these properties, prices frozen in time. The phone numbers back in 1966 had only six digits! The 1960s was a remarkable time to be alive in the USA. Looking back, while amusing, is not half as exciting as the future is sure to be.
Copyright 2009 Stephanie Gieseler. No part of this may be reprinted without express permission of the author.
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This is a really great article. I am looking forward to buying a home in Maui. It has been my lifetime dream.
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