RISMedia's Real Estate Magazine

MAR 2019

Real Estate magazine is the industry's leading source for real estate news and information since 1980. Published monthly by RISMedia, Real Estate magazine offers timely and relevant real estate news to the industry's top brokers and agents.

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58 March 2019 RISMedia's REAL ESTATE president and CEO, is coming up on 15 years with the company. Previously, he man- aged a local franchise of Colliers Interna- tional, and he's always enjoyed helping people realize their goal of homeownership and invest in their long-term wealth and financial security. "For decades now, Locations has surveyed its clients after every transaction, and there's no better feeling than reading about how we've helped someone return to a neighbor- hood where they grew up, move into that dream house or secure an investment property to plan for their future," says Higashi. "It's also incredibly satisfying— and inspiring—to see our team of full-time, committed sales profes- sionals succeed in this competitive industry." Hawaii is a dream loca- tion for many homeowners. How did your market fare in 2018? Scott Higashi: Home pric- es increased for the sixth consecutive year in 2018, achieving moderate gains of about 4 percent for sin- gle-family homes and about 5 percent for condos. With less than 3.5 months of remaining inventory, com- petition for homes and condos—particularly in the entry-level price ranges—is strong, as indicated by the fact that nearly one in four sales is being bid up above the asking price. One posi- tive for would-be homeown- ers in our market is that in- ventory has been steadily increasing since the be- ginning of 2018, offering more options for buyers. Any growth initiatives planned for 2019? SH: Growth and diversifica- tion are always top-of-mind. We recently acquired the operations of Clark Realty, located on Hawaii Island. They're a like-minded firm with 114 agents and four offices. With this acquisi- tion, Locations leads the state of Hawaii in closed transactions. What most sets your firm apart in the marketplace? SH: Since our founding nearly 50 years ago, we've leveraged our research and technology capabili- ties to the advantage of our agents and our cli- ents. We've continually employed an in-house data analyst, which has allowed our agents to stay ahead of the curve as market condi- tions change. As a firm, our nearly four decades of lo- cal market data allow us to anticipate areas of oppor- tunity not only in a real es- tate cycle, but also within various client segments. How important is technol- ogy to the company? SH: Locations was the first firm to computerize MLS listings in 1972—a move that revolutionized the industry. We've invest- ed heavily in technology over the years, develop- ing proprietary software to help agents identify and prioritize business oppor- tunities, while maintain- ing a cutting-edge website and mobile app that led to nearly 10 percent of our to- tal sales. What are the biggest op- portunities for increasing business right now? SH: Market conditions in 2019 will be ripe for 1031 investors to reposition their real estate holdings to properties with greater potential for long-term ap- preciation. A stable pricing environment, increased in- ventory and a level pace of sales will make for an ideal time to upgrade and real- locate investments. The new year also presents an opportunity for first-time real estate investors to get in the game, as certain demographics, like millen- nials—and, increasingly, boomers—are electing to rent, which may lead to in- creased inventory and de- mand for a variety of rental types and price points. How are you attracting new agents to your firm and retaining top produc- ers, and what do you look for in someone new com- ing into the company? SH: Our recruiting efforts are guided by our mission and values, which have remained constant and unwavering for nearly 50 years: To give our clients a clear advantage in the market and to foster an en- vironment of shared learn- ing. First and foremost, we look for professionals who understand that clients come first. We also look for people who want to build a long-term career in real es- tate, and who value shared learning and collaboration. RE VITALS: Locations Years in business: 50 Region Size: 420 agents on Oahu, Maui and Hawaii Island Regions served: State of Hawaii 2018 sales volume: $1.5 billion 2018 transactions: 2,400 www.locationshawaii.com

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