Aug. 10–The former Love's Bakery in Kalihi, a billion-dollar Maui hotel and about 1,500 rental homes in Ewa Beach have put Hawaii commercial real estate sales this year on a blistering pace that already has topped last year's total, according to a new report.
During the first half of this year, investors bought $3.09 billion worth of commercial property, according to the report from commercial real estate brokerage firm Colliers International.
The midyear tally compares with $3.08 billion last year, and Colliers projects this year's total should be over $4 billion to possibly rival the $4.57 billion record in 2014.
Colliers noted that inventory for sale is declining and could dampen sales through the end of the year, but also said demand from investors remains good in part because of federal tax reform benefits and a volatile stock market that makes real estate investing more appealing.
"Elevated stock market volatility is disconcerting for capital markets which spurn uncertainty," the report said. "These stock market conditions have helped real estate remain at the forefront of those seeking to diversify."
The exceptional level of sales through June was largely the result of a few very big deals — primarily the sale of the Grand Wailea Resort for $1.1 billion to an affiliate of New York-based Blackstone Group. The seller of the hotel, a company owned by the government of Singapore, bought the property for $774 million in 2014.
Other big sales included the Andaz Maui hotel for $288 million and 1,455 rental homes in Ewa Beach that were once part of a naval housing community at Iroquois Point initially transferred to private devel?- opment firm Hunt Cos. The homes re-branded as Waterfront at Puuloa were sold to a second company, Carmel Partners, for $311 million in 2012, and after renovations Brookfield Properties this year paid $540 million for what is now known as Kapilina.
Colliers said there were eight transactions for more than $100 million. The report also said most sales were between $1 million and $3 million.
In all, there were 117 transactions through June, down 25 percent from 156 in the first half of last year.
The report said most buyers this year were Hawaii- based investors that accounted for 84 transactions. For instance, Y. Hata & Co. bought an industrial property in Waipahu for $10.3 million in May, and Alexander & Baldwin Inc. bought three shopping centers on Oahu, Kauai and Maui for $254 million in February.
Mainland investors bought 28 properties, and international investors bought five properties, the report said.
Colliers said there has been pullback from investors from China compared with recent years that included the firm China Oceanwide buying a hotel site at Ko Olina Resort & Marina as well as land in Kapolei for residential development in 2016 for a combined $380 million.
International investors this year included Japanese-based Clathas LLC, which bought the former Love's site for $27 million.
In terms of property type, resort/golf sites accounted for most of the transaction value total at $1.8 billion from seven sales. Multifamily housing such as rental communities and apartment buildings accounted for $652 million on 35 sales. There were also 27 retail properties sold for a combined $375 million, 30 industrial properties sold for $149 million, seven vacant land sales for $39 million and 11 office properties sold for $38 million.