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West Hawaii Real Estate Update: January, 2018

Volume 15, Issue 1

The Kona market cleared the difficult threshold of over 1,000 transactions for houses, condos and land in 2018.  The last time it did this was in 2013 and it has since been hanging in the 900’s.  The official tally is 1,144 with 45% of those sales being all cash transactions.

To put the all cash transactions in perspective, in 2005 only 15% of the transactions were all cash.  We have kept at or above the 45% mark since 2010, which means our current owners are very stable and can withstand economic turmoil, should it arrive, much better than before.

Our year-end totals are 537 house sales, 485 condo sales and 122 pieces of land.  This represents the highest sales in houses and condos both since 2005, although we are still short of that year by 100 units each… so there is ‘room’ to grow still.  The median sales price was $635,000, for houses, up 6% from 2016 and $298,000, for condos, up 4% from 2016.

Kohala had 213 house sales for a median price of $540,000, also up 6% from last year and 224 condo sales with a median price of $427,500, this price represents a slight decrease from 2016.

If your dream is to own in Kona buying sooner is better than later since it looks prices are going to continue to rise through 2018.


Gretchen has been superior in helping us maneuver through a really difficult and convoluted foreclosure sale. She advised about bidding techniques and when it would be prudent to seek legal advice. We were fortunate to have such a knowledgeable Realtor on our side. We would choose her again and definitely recommend her to anyone wishing to buy or sell.  ~ Oscar & Karen Gray

Read more testimonials.

Notes from Gretchen

The Department of Water has finally lifted the mandatory water restriction…yay! They now have a voluntary 10%. Things are looking up!

We closed out the year at Hawaiian Isle with 47 overall sales for $23.5 million. We were the top small office in transactions in Kona with 4 or less agents. Personally I sold 26 properties with a combined value of $13 million, putting me in 5th place this year in resale transactions.

The property management side is still going strong and is also now doing estate management for out of state owners.

Thank you for always referring your family, friends, and coworkers to me, it is the greatest compliment I could receive… mahalo!


There is a case making its way to the Supreme Court on vacation rentals and insurance. The owner had two houses on her lot, one she lived in and one she rented out, and she had a regular homeowner’s policy. A large tree fell on her garage and crushed it, and when she went to collect on the insurance they declined her request… hmmm.

The basis of the decline was due to the rental she was not insured for. The insurance company can disallow your policy for not having the right type of insurance… so if you have a rental, call your broker and confirm you have the right policy. The correct policy will be a commercial one… call today!

Kona Residential and Land Transactions by Year by Quarter 


More Economic News

  • Hawaii state’s unemployment is the lowest in the nation, dropping to just 2% from 2.9% in December of last year… wow!
  • Hawaii Tourism Authority says the Big Island had 8,647 vacation rental units in 2017, an increase of 16.4% from 2016.
  • The state of Hawaii now has 80,336 vacation rental units as of the end of 2017, says Hawaii Tourism Authority. That is a 1.6% year-over-year rise and the largest total ever recorded for the state.
  • If you used an FHA loan from 2012 to 2014 it might be time to refinance. The appreciation in your house might possibly remove the need for mortgage insurance, a costly monthly expense you could save if you were to refinance… check it out with your lender today!
  • Planet Fitness is scheduled to open in the old Borders location at the corner of Henry Street and Queen Ka’ahumanu Hwy. by the end of the year.
  • The National Association of Realtors published a state-by-state impact on the new tax bill and the current market, and Hawaii is projected to have an increase of 1.7% in 2018.
  • Little fire ants… a big problem that has made its way to Kona. If you want a solution to them, two self described ‘old guys’ have invented a poison trap you can nail to the tree or the ground where you find them. It’s called Goodbye Fire Ants:

Out On the Town

Christmas brought Randy’s sister Jan to the island with her friend Nancy and so we got the opportunity to be out and about with them doing touristy things. One of my favorites of this trip was Body Glove’s whale watching trip and as you can see we got ‘tailed’! Two juveniles swam around the boat for two hours popping up just where you would least expect them, and we would race to the other side of the boat to watch their antics.

I can’t recall when I had more fun… captain and crew were fabulous so if you’re in town give it a go, our trip was well worth it!

West Hawaii Real Estate Market Snapshot

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As always, thank you for subscribing and reading my monthly newsletter! If you have any real estate questions about West Hawaii please feel free to call or email me today!

Aloha! ~ Gretchen

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