Jack Tyrrell specializes in Kakaako, Honolulu, Hawaii luxury condo projects.

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Real Estate News: Oahu Single-Family Homes Sales Price Sets New Record in August

Photo: Property of Jack Tyrrell and Company, Inc.

Photo: Property of Jack Tyrrell and Company, Inc.

The Honolulu Board of REALTORS released August 2018 sales statistics for the island of Oahu. Read more on the findings, below:

The median price for single-family homes on Oahu reached an all-time high in August, according to resales figures released today by the Honolulu Board of REALTORS®. The analysis conducted by the Board, using data collected from its computerized Multiple Listing Service (MLS) system, offer the following statistics:

Source: Honolulu Board of REALTORS

In August, the median price for single-family homes increased by 3.0 percent to reach a new record of $810,000, which was previously set in June 2017 at $795,000. The median price for condominiums rose by 1.9 percent to $427,000. Sales for single-family homes dipped by 2.2 percent and condominium sales also decreased by 9.4 percent from the same month last year. According to the Days on Market indicator, the median days for single-family homes was 15 and 18 days for condominiums.

“While the median price for single-family homes has been pushed to a new high, homebuyers are also finding properties at or below the $600,000 price range,” said Darryl Macha, president of the Honolulu Board of REALTORS®. “Though overall inventory is tight, we are seeing pockets of the island where inventory is increasing, including the Ewa Plain and to some extent, Central Oahu. With the decline in pending sales for both single-family homes and condominiums, buyers may be experiencing a bit of ‘fatigue’ in a market where multiple offers have been common and are taking a pause in their home search. It’s something that other markets are also seeing.”

The information contained in this report is provided to the National Association of REALTORS® and the Hawaii State Department of Economic Development, Business and Tourism for its official reports. This report reflects information about resales of existing properties only and does not include new home sales. All of the MLS information is compiled from sales reported during the cited months; this data is known only after closing of escrow.

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Honolulu among top cities in new quality of life ranking

Residents of Hawaii enjoy great weather, the beach, and the mountains. Photo: Jack Tyrrell and Company

Residents of Hawaii enjoy great weather, the beach, and the mountains. Photo: Jack Tyrrell and Company

It's not unusual to surf before you go to work or take a mellow walk at the beach or in the mountains here in Honolulu. Many residents will agree that it is mixture of  great weather all-year round and plethora of outdoor, free activities to enjoy, plus the sense of community, that make Honolulu a great place to live. And, Nerdwallet agrees.

Honolulu has once again ranked in the top 20 cities across the country for Quality of Life. The annual Nerdwallet survey analyzes 177 U.S. cities with over 150,000 residents, and looks at indicators such as number of hours worked, commute times, percentage of income spent on housing, health insurance coverage, poverty levels, and unemployment rates.  The study uses data estimates from the 2016 U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey. 

The survey found that citizens of Hawaii's capital work an average of 38.5 hours per work, travel an average of 23 minutes to work. However, residents spend about 46.5% of their income on rent, and 7.1% of residents live below the poverty level. 

Read the full report here.

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Waikiki, Kakaako condominium sales up by more than 30 percent in August

Photo: Property of Jack Tyrrell and Company, Inc.

Photo: Property of Jack Tyrrell and Company, Inc.

Waikiki and Kakaako condo markets continue to perform well, with sales jumping 40 percent and 33 percent, respectively. With an average of 26 to 30 days on market, it's more important than ever to select the right agent to find the best home or investment property for you, and to close the deal quickly!  

Read the full report from Pacific Business News, below:

Condominium sales in Waikiki jumped 40 percent in August, while Kakaako condo sales increased 33 percent, according to a local market update by the Honolulu Board of Realtors.

There were 109 condominiums sold in Waikiki last month for a median price of $412,000, 2 percent less than last August. Units were on the market for an average of 30 days, selling 17 days faster than in August 2016. New listings and overall inventory increased 32 percent and 17 percent, respectively.

“Waikiki was a popular option for those in the market for condominiums,” said Sue Ann Lee, president of the Honolulu Board of Realtors. “The area is a great central location in urban Honolulu and offered local homebuyers and investors a wide selection of inventory from studios to luxury vacation condos.”

Kakaako condo sales increased 33 percent in August to 60, brining year-to-date sales up 19 percent to 377. The August median price in the area was $443,500, up 10 percent from last August, while the year-to-date median price decreased 4 percent to $495,000. The percentage of original price received increased 8 percent from last August, with sellers receiving 102.1 percent of the listing price on average. Also, days on market dropped 40 percent to 26 in August.

For single-family home sales, Makakilo experienced a 35 percent bump in August to 23, while the median sales price increased by 82 percent from the same period last year to $750,000. New listings increased by 29 percent and overall inventory rose by 32 percent, while median days on market decreased 17 percent to 24 in August.

“Makakilo was a popular neighborhood for single-family houses as demonstrated by the decrease in days on market and increase in closed sales,” Lee said. “The spike in median sales prices for single-family houses in Makakilo clearly shows the high demand for affordable housing and homebuyer’s willingness to explore options outside the metropolitan Honolulu area.”

In Hawaii Kai, single-family home sales increased 40 percent to 14, while the median price was flat at $1.24 million. Year-to-date sales increased 6 percent to 115 with the median price increasing 7 percent to $1.14 million

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Industry News: Condo sales hit decades high in August 2017

Photo: Waiea at Ward Village, as viewed from Ala Moana Beach Park. Photo is property of Jack Tyrrell and Company.

Photo: Waiea at Ward Village, as viewed from Ala Moana Beach Park. Photo is property of Jack Tyrrell and Company.

Honolulu condo sales do not show signs of slowing down. Last month, condo sales in Honolulu hit its highest level in more than a decade, jumping 20% as compared to August 2016.

Read the article from the Honolulu Star Advertiser, below:

Oahu’s condominium market stayed hot in August, as buyer demand for condos hit its highest level in more than a decade after a price record set in July.

The Honolulu Board of Realtors said in a report released Wednesday that the number of condo sales on Oahu jumped 20 percent to 575 last month compared with 481 a year earlier.

There hadn’t been as many sales for a single month since August 2006 when 580 condos were sold in the midst of the prior housing market boom on the island. The all-time monthly record was set in August 2005 at 831 sales.

“Although this August’s condo sales did not break the record-high of 831 … it is still the highest we’ve seen in 11 years,” Sue Ann Lee, president of the Board of Realtors and a broker with Properties of the Pacific, said in a statement.

As for prices, condos sold for a median $419,000 last month, up 5 percent from $398,000 a year earlier. The record was $425,000 in July.

In Oahu’s single-family house market, the number of sales rose 5 percent to 362 in August from 344 in the same month last year, while the median price also increased by 5 percent to $786,250 from $747,500 in the same period. The record was $795,000 in June.

Local residential real estate brokerage firm Locations described Oahu’s housing market in its own report this week as exhibiting “strong and steady growth” in August driven by buyers competing for relatively limited inventory.

Condos, which include townhouses and units in high-rise buildings, are generally more affordable than single-family homes and have been in more demand than single-family houses, though both segments in the market have had more sales during the first eight months of this year compared with the same period last year.

For condos, sales this year through August are up 6.2 percent compared with a 3.8 percent gain for single-family houses.

“Condos and townhouses are becoming an attractive alternative for homebuyers due to the affordable price,” Lee said.

A higher pace of condo sale growth also has been aided by developers completing several new condo towers last year that have added inventory to the resale market. Projects completed last year include The Collection, Symphony Honolulu, Waiea and 400 Keawe, with roughly 1,100 units between them. By comparison, developers built far fewer single-family homes on Oahu last year.

Locations said in its report that the 11-year high for condo sale volume was remarkable because the number of units on the market available for sale is relatively low. In August, there were 1,918 condos on the market. That’s the highest inventory for any month in nearly two years, but it compares with 2,707 units on the market in August 2006 when there were about as many condo sales as there were last month.

Because of relatively low inventory, as well as other factors that include low unemployment, record tourism and low interest rates, Oahu home prices are expected to continue rising this year and for the next couple of years, according to projections by the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization.

This year through August, the median condo sale price is $401,000, up 3.2 percent from $388,500 in the same period last year. The single-family home median sale price is up slightly more, 3.7 percent, and rose to $757,000 from $730,000 in the same time frame.

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6 Reasons You Should Never Buy or Sell a Home Without an Agent

Photo: Credibly.com

Photo: Credibly.com

This article originally appeared on REALTOR.com.

It's a slow Sunday morning. You've just brewed your Nespresso and popped open your laptop to check out the latest home listings before you hit the road for a day of open houses.

You're DIYing this real estate thing, and you think you're doing pretty well—after all, any info you might need is at your fingertips online, right? That and your own sterling judgment.

Oh, dear home buyer (or seller!)—we know you can do it on your own. But you really, really shouldn't. This is likely the biggest financial decision of your entire life, and you need a Realtor® if you want to do it right. Here's why.

1. They have loads of expertise

Want to check the MLS for a 4B/2B with an EIK and a W/DReal estate has its own language, full of acronyms and semi-arcane jargon, and your Realtor is trained to speak that language fluently.

Plus, buying or selling a home usually requires dozens of forms, reports, disclosures, and other technical documents. Realtors have the expertise to help you prepare a killer deal—while avoiding delays or costly mistakes that can seriously mess you up.

2. They have turbocharged searching power

The Internet is awesome. You can find almost anything—anything! And with online real estate listing sites such as yours truly, you can find up-to-date home listings on your own, any time you want. But guess what? Realtors have access to even more listings. Sometimes properties are available but not actively advertised. A Realtor can help you find those hidden gems.

Plus, a good local Realtor is going to know the search area way better than you ever could. Have your eye on a particular neighborhood, but it's just out of your price range? Your Realtor is equipped to know the ins and outs of every neighborhood, so she can direct you toward a home in your price range that you may have overlooked.

3. They have bullish negotiating chops

Any time you buy or sell a home, you're going to encounter negotiations—and as today's housing market heats up, those negotiations are more likely than ever to get a little heated.

You can expect lots of competition, cutthroat tactics, all-cash offers, and bidding wars. Don't you want a savvy and professional negotiator on your side to seal the best deal for you?

And it's not just about how much money you end up spending or netting. A Realtor will help draw up a purchase agreement that allows enough time for inspections, contingencies, and anything else that's crucial to your particular needs.

4. They're connected to everyone

Realtors might not know everything, but they make it their mission to know just about everyone who can possibly help in the process of buying or selling a home. Mortgage brokers, real estate attorneys, home inspectors, home stagers, interior designers—the list goes on—and they're all in your Realtor's network. Use them.

5. They adhere to a strict code of ethics

Not every real estate agent is a Realtor, who is a licensed real estate salesperson who belongs to the National Association of Realtors®, the largest trade group in the country.

What difference does it make? Realtors are held to a higher ethical standard than licensed agents and must adhere to a Code of Ethics.

6. They're your sage parent/data analyst/therapist—all rolled into one

The thing about Realtors: They wear a lot of different hats. Sure, they're salespeople, but they actually do a whole heck of a lot to earn their commission. They're constantly driving around, checking out listings for you. They spend their own money on marketing your home (if you're selling). They're researching comps to make sure you're getting the best deal.

And, of course, they're working for you at nearly all hours of the day and night—whether you need more info on a home or just someone to talk to in order to feel at ease with the offer you just put in. This is the biggest financial (and possibly emotional) decision of your life, and guiding you through it isn't a responsibility Realtors take lightly.

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6 Key People for Your Real Estate Investing Dream Team, Creonline.com

When you want to start investing in real estate, it can be overwhelming to think of where to start.  In my opinion, it all starts with a great team you can trust.  This is a great article breakdown from Creonline.com on who you need for your real estate investing team, but I would like to expand on the Realtor's role.  As a realtor with decades of experience, it has always been important to me to really sit down and learn more about what my client needs, find the best opportunities they may not be finding themselves, and to get them the best.  What you really want from your Realtor, and what I pride myself on, is serving the customer fully. Read more below:

You know the old saying, Behind every great leader is a great team… Well, it’s true.

Ask the world’s most successful business people – including real estate investors – for their secrets and there’s a huge chance that all of them will list “the right team” as one of the biggest factors to their success.

No one who’s truly successful does it all himself.

If you want to catapult your real estate investing business to the next level and find the kind of financial and professional success you’re looking for, you need to assemble a team of experts to support you on the way.

Here are the six people you need to hire to assemble your real estate investor’s dream team and put you on the path to real success…

Realtor

The first person you’ll need to assemble your real estate investor’s dream team is a Realtor. Your Realtor (or Realtors, depending on the size of your operation) is the person at the front lines of your business. She will manage the acquisitions and sales of properties within your investment portfolio.

Because they work in a commission-driven business, your Realtor will work harder for you knowing there’s a handsome commission coming her way at the end of the deal. Offering competitive commissions will ensure that you’ll be the first to hear when she has an amazing property or investment opportunity.

Contractors

The next person – or in this case, people – you need on your dream team are contractors. Contractors are the people who are going to, quite literally, build your business from the ground up, handling all the construction, design, and renovations of your properties.

Having a talented and reliable team of contractors can be a game-changer for a real estate investor – they can help you demand higher rents, flip properties quickly, and protect the value of your investment.

Even if you have the skills, trying to handle the work of a contractor yourself is time consuming.

It will end up pushing back the timelines for all your investments, so it’s definitely something you’ll want to hire out.

Ask colleagues for recommendations. You want to find someone who’s reliable, does high-quality work, and with whom you can build a long-term relationship. Typically, contractors will offer deals to owners and investors that give them a steady stream of projects.

Attorney

In a perfect world, you wouldn’t need any legal advice or protection. But we don’t live in a perfect world, so it’s essential that you have an attorney on your team to handle all the legal matters related to your properties and investments.

You’ll want to hire an attorney that specializes in real estate. He’ll be able to handle the ins-and-outs of the buying and selling process, handle joint ventures with partners, and implement the proper legal structures and processes you need for your business to run smoothly. A great real estate attorney will be able to advise you on how to best protect your assets.

Lender

It goes without saying that in order to assemble a real estate investor’s dream team, you need a lender. Unless your bank account rivals Bill Gates’, you’re going to need to a lender to put up the capital you need to purchase your properties.

Depending on your needs, there are a few types of lenders to choose from. You can go with a traditional lender, like a mortgage representative at a major bank (think Chase or Wells Fargo), which might have some corporate hoops to jump through but can offer really competitive rates on your loan.

You can use a hard money lender, someone who specializes in working with investors to flip properties. Hard money loans are usually a lot faster and easier to secure, but they have higher interest rates and are generally more expensive.

Your last option is to go after a private lender. This is basically someone who’s looking to get his foot in the door with investing and wants to loan you the money to get your project off the ground.

A private lender could be a friend, a family member, a colleague or just a person you know who has extra money they’re looking to invest.

Whatever the case, it can be easier to negotiate with private lenders since there’s no company red tape to get through.

Just make sure that if you’re borrowing from someone you have a personal relationship with, you’re both clear on the terms of the loan and the date by which you need to pay the money back. You don’t want to risk losing a relationship over an investment.

Mentor

If you want to get from where you are to where you want to be quickly and (relatively) painlessly, it’s in your best interest to find a guide to show you the way. Working with a mentor can save you huge amounts of time, energy, and money as you’re launching your real estate investing business.

Working with an investor who’s been in your shoes and has successfully navigated his way through the sometimes tumultuous waters of the real estate investment game is invaluable. He or she can save you from making costly mistakes and give you insights into things you didn’t even know you needed to know.

Identify someone in your niche who’s built the type of business you aspire to have, and ask him out to coffee to see if he’d be willing to let you pick his brain.

Property Manager

Finally, if you decide you’re going to hold onto your investments as rental property, you’ll want to hire a property management company. Having the right property manager is invaluable, and will make property ownership immeasurably easier and less stressful.

Property management is incredibly time consuming and trying to manage the process yourself will inevitably lead to things falling through the cracks and tenants becoming disgruntled or dissatisfied.

Property managers handle all the details related to your tenants and property, so you can focus on the big picture – your investment portfolio.

Just like any other leader or business owner, you need a solid team behind you in order to take your real estate investment business to new heights.

With these six members, you’ll be well on your way to dominating the real estate investment industry.

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Architectural Digest: Ward Village Is the Best-Planned Community in the U.S.

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Architectural Digest had a great feature on Ward Village - the Best-Planned Community in the COUNTRY! We couldn't agree more. From its architecturally unique buildings to its sense of community, Ward Village really is the best place to live, work, and play. 

Read the article, below:

The Howard Hughes Corporation is no newcomer to the master plan. Since the 1950s, the company has overseen the development or expansion of some of the country’s best communities, including Summerlin, Nevada (named after Hughes’s grandmother, Jean Amelia Summerlin); The Woodlands, Texas, which boasts 143 parks and 212 miles of nature trails; and Columbia, Maryland, 50 this year, celebrated for its social and economic diversity and where mailboxes arranged in groups, rather than on individual houses, are meant to encourage inter-neighbor mixing (and do). But something was missing. And that something was a beach.

Planned communities have a reputation for being aesthetically restrictive prefabricated design, with people telling you what color you can paint your house. Beach towns, meanwhile, have never been particularly known for their forward-thinking architecture. But 60-acre Ward Village, in a former Honolulu warehouse district, was made for design nerds—and beach bums. Five mixed-use towers, within walking distance of the Ala Moana Bowls and Kewalo Basin, are designed by some of the country’s best architects. It also presents the first Hawaii project for most of them, including Richard MeierPeter Bohlin, and Jeanne Gang, with interiors by Tony Ingrao. The Vladimir Ossipoff-designed 1960s modernist IBM building, meanwhile, serves as a sort of town center, renovated by Woods Bagot to be heavy in local materials, like lava stone, and feature traditional Hawaiian motifs on the floors and walls both inside and out.

“An appreciation of the arts is at the core of our identity,” says Nick Vanderboom, senior VP of development at the Howard Hughes Corporation. He points to sculpture by British artist Tony Cragg throughout the village; public art on an active construction barricade as curated by Ward Village’s Ke Kilohana Art Gallery; and regular installations by 87-year-old Japanese artist and sculptor Yayoi Kusama, whose latest piece for Ward Village, an installation currently on the front lawn of the IBM building, is part of the inaugural Honolulu Biennial, sponsored by Ward Village and held through mid-May.

And for those who don’t care about art and architecture—though even the least aesthete homeowners get a little excited by the prospect of living in a place designed by the architects who did the Fifth Avenue Apple store [Bohlin Cywinski Jackson], says Vanderboom—there’s plenty more to appeal. Like free yoga in the common, a farmer’s market, hula performances, and an outdoor movie theater already hailed as the best in the state, all of it walkable. Also: a Nobu and a Whole Foods. “It’s in fact one of the only places in the state you can walk to meet most of your daily needs; walkability is unique in Hawaii,” says Vanderboom. And while art and design is all well and good, ultimately, says Vanderboom, “People come here for the lifestyle.”

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A surge in Oahu pending sales signifies strong April real estate activity

Looking at numbers from March 2017, Honolulu Board of Realtors predicts continued strong market activity into this new month of April 2017. Read more from Pacific Business News:

According to the Honolulu Board of Realtors, the median price for single-family homes on Oahu increased 3.7 percent last month to $752,000, while pending sales surged 30 percent.

Locations also released its monthly residential real estate figures this week, reporting a slightly higher figure of $755,000 for single-family homes.

Pending sales surged in March, increasing 30.2 percent to 535 for single-family homes and 23.6 percent to 796 for condominiums, signifying that this strong market activity will continue in April.

HBR’s report shows that the number of sales for single-family homes increased 4 percent to 309, from 297 last year, while condo sales increased 0.8 percent to 495. The median price for condominiums increased 3.9 percent in March to $400,000.

Units also sold at a faster clip in March, with single-family homes on the market for 16 days, down from 18 days last year, and condominiums on the market for 15 days, down from 19.

“Oahu median home prices and sales volume are holding steady, and properties are selling briskly, as indicated by the relatively short days on market,” said Sue Ann Lee, president of the Honolulu Board of Realtors.

Pending sales surged in March, increasing 30.2 percent to 535 for single-family homes and 23.6 percent to 796 for condominiums, signifying that this strong market activity will continue in April.

“The increase in pending sales shows that there’s continued demand for housing at all price points,” Lee said. “Additionally, with the more than 37 percent increase in inventory for single-family houses and 27 percent increase for condominiums from last year, and the still historically low mortgage interest rates, potential buyers have options for their new home.”

Months of remaining inventory for both single-family homes and condos increased to 2.7 in March, a jump of 28.6 percent and 17.4 percent, respectively.

For single-family homes, the most market activity occurred between the $700,000 and $799,999 price range, while most condos sold between the $300,000 and $399,999 price range.

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Howard Hughes tops out second condo tower Anaha in Ward Village

Photo: Jack Tyrrell & Company, Inc.

Photo: Jack Tyrrell & Company, Inc.

Anaha is officially topped out!  The Howard Hughes Corporation announced today, Monday, August 29, 2016, that its second luxury condominium project has topped out.

Our client, Dr. Thomas Yue, briefly discusses his two Anaha purchases in this recent article featured in The Wall Street Journal.  The project is slated to be completed by summer 2017.

Read more in the Pacific Business News, below:

The Howard Hughes Corp. (NYSE: HHC) announced Monday that it had topped out Anaha, the second condominium tower to be completed within its 60-acre Ward Village master-planned community in Honolulu. Anaha is scheduled to open in summer 2017.

Ward Village has contracted to sell more than 1,100 homes to date, and more than 90 percent of the condos in Anaha are sold, the company said in a statement. The building is a collaboration by architect and design firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz, Honolulu-based Benjamin Woo Architects and global design leader Woods Bagot Interiors.

Anaha will offer 244 studios and one-, two- and three-bedroom tower residences as well as 73 low-rise flats and townhomes. Chef Peter Merriman will open the first Oahu location of his Merriman’s restaurant in summer 2017.

“The topping out of Anaha is another significant milestone as we continue to create a neighborhood at Ward Village that enriches the lives of all those who experience it,” said David R. Weinreb, CEO of Howard Hughes.

Three residential buildings are currently under construction and five are available for sale at Ward Village. Contracted sales at the community have reached approximately 90 percent for the 493 homes in its first two luxury condominium towers, Waiea and Anaha. Construction began on Ward Village’s third tower, Aeo, in February.

Waiea, which will open late this year, will include 175 residences and house a Nobu Honolulu restaurant. Work on Aeo will be completed in 2018; it will include 466 residences and a Whole Foods Market Inc. (Nasdaq: WFM) store.

When completed, Ward Village will have more than 4,000 new residences.

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"Hardcore Home Collectors" Client feature in The Wall Street Journal

Jack Tyrrell and Company, Inc. client and friend, Dr. Thomas Yue in his home on Oahu's North Shore.

Congratulations to our good friend and client Dr. Thomas Yue for his feature in The Wall Street Journal's article, "Hardcore Home Collectors." Featured in the story are Dr. Yue's homes on Oahu's beautiful North Shore, the Waimea Point Residence and the Waimea Three Tables Residence. Dr. Yue also talks about his two most recent purchases in the highly anticipated Ward Village Anaha towers.

Read the full article, with Dr. Yue's section in bold, below or online here:

"Hardcore Home Collectors"

By Katy McLaughlin, Aug. 18, 2016 9:30 a.m. ET

Self-diagnosed house addicts like Ben Stein are a rare category of buyers who acquire homes out of a love of real estate rather than a practical need

Some people collect wine or paintings. Others like stamps or model trains. Then there’s Ben Stein, a writer, actor and economist, and his wife, Alexandra Denman: They collect homes.

The couple owns 13. They’ve got a house in Beverly Hills and one in Malibu, plus two West Hollywood condominiums. Then there are two Washington, D.C., apartments, a house in Rancho Mirage, Calif., and a condo to boot. And there are others.

Though an economist by trade, Mr. Stein said his investments—none of which are rented out—don’t represent a cagey financial plan. Instead, it’s a syndrome: “I would say I’m a house addict,” Mr. Stein joked.

Self-diagnosed house addicts are a rare category of property buyers who acquire homes not necessarily to rent them out, flip them or because they need a place to stay. They do it for the thrill of the purchase and the fantasy a new home can inspire. In some cases, multiple home buyers come out on top financially. In other cases, their proclivity for property has dismal financial consequences.

Many well-off Americans own more than one home: The 2013 Survey of Consumer Finances from the Federal Reserve showed that just under 40% of respondents in the top 10 percentile of income owned at least one second home. World-wide, people with at least $30 million in assets have an average of 2.9 properties, according to a report published last year by global research firm Wealth-X and Sotheby’s International Realty. The world’s 2,479 billionaires have an average of four homes apiece.

True house collectors easily blow past the averages.

Robby Browne, a real-estate agent with Corcoran Group in Manhattan, owns four apartments in a building on Central Park West, and one unit in another park-side building one block away. He is currently shedding a West Village apartment, which is on the market for $5.35 million, only to buy another one, which is in contract for $6.5 million. He also spent roughly $1.5 million building a house in Bridgehampton, N.Y., near the beach.

Some of Mr. Browne’s acquisitions have been very lucrative, while others demonstrate that passion, not profit, is the guiding force. Comparable units to one he owns on Central Park West currently sell for about three times what he paid for it, and he makes $18,000 a month renting it out, he said.

His four apartments in one building seem less logical: He lives in one, uses another for guests, and has two small units—under 100 square feet each—that he uses for storage, he said.

The West Village apartments represent his long-held ambition to move downtown—“but in the end I can never bring myself to,” said Mr. Browne. After realizing he couldn’t face the move, he leased the unit he is selling. He still hasn’t decided if he’ll move into or rent out the new one.

Mr. Browne said he has almost always made money on the 22 properties he has bought and sold over the past 30 years, though not as much as he would have if he’d invested in gentrifying parts of Brooklyn or Queens.

Though buying in prestigious neighborhoods can be a sound financial investment, house collectors say they are not primarily driven by the bottom line.

Part of Mr. Stein’s motivation: “I don’t like noisy neighbors,” he said. His sensitivity to noise prompted him to buy not one but four condos in a resort-style building on Lake Pend Oreille in Sandpoint, Idaho, where he and Ms. Denman spend summers. Starting in the mid-2000s, they purchased their own three-bedroom unit, plus the one next door and two downstairs, so that no neighbors can cause “any vibrations,” he said.

It was a neighbor’s loudly ringing telephone that prompted Mr. Stein to purchase the apartment next door to his in a West Hollywood building. Why didn’t he just sell his unit next to the noisy one? He loves the “fantastic view” from the building and enjoys the peace and quiet in the apartment, he said. Plus, that condo could sell for roughly $700,000, said Anna Sadowska, an agent at Teles Properties—over a half-million more than he paid for it in 1997.

Mr. Stein declined to discuss how he has fared financially from his real estate, but said, “if I’d put the money in the stock market, I would have done way better.”

Beyond noise issues, he theorized that his love of homes stems from his mother’s interest in property at time when Jewish families like his were barred from purchasing in many neighborhoods of Washington, D.C., where he grew up.

“It very much means something to me that I can live wherever I want now,” said Mr. Stein.

Thomas Yue, an anesthesiologist and president of Regional Anesthesia Services, a provider of doctors and nurses in Minnesota, owns three houses on the Hawaiian island of Oahu and is in contract to buy two condos in Ward Village, a new development under construction between downtown Honolulu and Waikiki, for a total of $3.7 million. He also has a house in St. Paul, a ski condo in Vail, Colo., an apartment in San Francisco and another in Millbrae, Calif. He doesn’t rent out any of his properties, he said.

Though two of his homes on Oahu’s North Shore represent an investment of about $11 million, Dr. Yue spends most of his time in a more modest house about 30 miles south, to tend to his 20 tropical fruit trees, he said. The North Shore homes, designed with multiple terraces and large windows, were renovation and building projects that he enjoyed creating, “like you would with a work of art.”

Timothy Corrigan, 58, is a Paris- and Los Angeles-based interior designer who suffers from an exotic strain of real-estate addiction: He buys French châteaux, serially.

In the late 1980s, he renovated his first château in Normandy and sold it for under $1 million. In 1992, he renovated another about 60 miles southwest of Paris and sold it for roughly $1.6 million. In 2003, he bought and sold a Loire Valley château within a year when a different one became available. Today, that château—a 40,000-square-foot palace on 74 acres about an hour by train from Paris—is on the market for $11.4 million.

His total take from his château sideline: zero, he said. He has lost money on every one—and will lose money again, even if the current property sells for the list price.

“The restoration of châteaux is not a moneymaking business, but I just love the process,” said Mr. Corrigan.

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