Oceanfront properties are the stars of the island’s thriving real estate market. If there was a “Million Dollar Listings 32963” TV show, they are the ones that would be featured. Homes on the beach command the most attention and highest prices when they go on the market.
But the number of oceanfront homes on the market is lower than usual going into the busy selling season that gears up as snowbirds return in the fall and winter.
“Oceanfront inventory is way down,” said Cindy O’Dare, a broker associate at Premier Estate Properties who counted just 36 oceanfront single-family homes on the market at the beginning of September.
Matilde Sorensen, co-owner of Dale Sorensen Real Estate, counted a few more, approximately 44, but even that number is down 20 percent from the number of oceanfront homes on the market last year at the same time. And the aggregate numbers only tell part of the story about how tight inventory is for oceanfront buyers.
Oceanfront homes on the market in 32963 are priced from a little over a million to nearly $30 million, so a buyer whose budget is $2 million, for example, has fewer than 20 homes to choose from.
Factor in buyers’ preferences in terms of location on the island, architectural style and key amenities and the number of homes a given buyer has to look at keeps contracting.
“If you have an oceanfront buyer who says they want to live south of 17th Street, for instance, there isn’t much,” said Sorensen Real Estate Managing Partner Dale Sorensen Jr. “Once you consider what the buyer is looking for in number of bedrooms, the lot size, the age of the house and other factors, your 44 homes becomes four or five houses pretty quickly.”
The scarcity of homes for sale on the ocean is good for home sellers – in theory, at least.
“We don’t have much to sell, which is good for sellers,” said O’Dare.
“Low inventory should drive up prices and create urgency for buyers, who will feel they have to act fast or lose the house they want,” said Matilde Sorensen.
But the downside is that brokers like Sorensen and O’Dare don’t have much to show potential buyers.
“With low inventory, it is a challenge to find oceanfront buyers a home that meets all their needs,” said Dale Sorensen.
Island brokers hope more sellers will emerge as the busy season gets going. Knowing that inventory is low, homeowners may have more motivation to put their homes on the market with expectation of a quick sale.
“Listing typically do increase in September thru December,” said O’Dare.
“This is a good time to list,” said Matilde Sorensen.