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West Hawaii Real Estate Update: March, 2016

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“My life had been so busy and stressful, but Gretchen took care of every detail of preparing and selling my condo. I had an offer the very first day it was listed, and escrow closed in less than 20 days. If you are looking for someone who can get the job done and is a pleasure to work with, I definitely recommend Gretchen.”

Karen Tanaka

Read more great testimonials on my website!

West Hawaii Real Estate Update

March, 2016: Volume 13, Issue 2

Kona markets inventory overall in houses and condos has increased almost 29% from last February. You would think that would mean less sales are happening but that isn’t the case.

The Kona market has reached a price point that matches 2004 and a lot of sellers who have been waiting to sell are putting their properties on the market… all at the same time.

Now let’s look at the under $1 million and see what its inventory increase looks like, hmm, exactly the same as the overall market’s increase, 29%.   That is almost 100 properties more than last February.

Pending sales for January and February are identical to last year (see graph) and sales, though off in January and still a little low in February, haven’t gone off the rails. This means that our winter buyers are here and buying. It will take some time to absorb this inventory so for a while buyers will have more to choose from and possibly better prices.

Notes from Gretchen

Kona’s abundant inventory has led to some interesting conversations this past month. But contrary to some opinions, the market isn’t ‘falling’… it just has too much inventory from too many sellers wanting to sell at the same time. The sales are still showing strength, although on the lighter side after this past summer’s hurricane parade and Dengue Fever outbreak. Pendings are holding steady.

As an example, 3 of my well-maintained properties received accepted offers the first 2 weeks on the market last month… so pricing and leading with your best foot forward still pays off here.

hula-girl-ivory back

Kona Look at Houses & Condos Listed Under $1 Million


A 100-property increase in inventory gives buyers more options than last year and potentially better pricing too.


Economic Update

  • Kua Bay made TripAdvisor’s list of best ocean spots! The beach is ranked 14th in a list of top 25 beaches in the US for 2016.
  • Visitor arrivals up on the Big Island, January had year-over-year increases of 3.8% and visitor spending increased 7.7%.
  • Fifty percent of all visitors stay in a vacation rental, timeshare or other non-hotel accommodation.
  • Kona Country Club reopens after a 3-year hiatus when it closed for renovations… it’s about time… yay!
  • The Four Seasons Lanai has reopened after an eight-month closure for renovations. They increased their rates dramatically after their reopening and are reporting brisk reservations still.
  • Hawaii Island unemployment rate went up slightly in January to 3.8% from 3.6%. That means 3,450 people are looking for work on the island and 91,350 had jobs.
  • Japanese buyers top the list of international buyers for 2015 with 308 purchases overall. Canadians came in a distant second at 152 properties.
  • Cruise ship passengers accounted for 108,661 visitors to the state from January through November in 2015.

Wastewater Update

A statewide ban on new cesspool construction was signed into law on March 18th. Going forward none will be approved even in rural areas like the Big Island.

West Hawaii Today credited Lorraine Inouye with saying the difference between a $2,000-$3,000 cesspool and a $20,000-$30,000 septic system will be a hardship for homeowners in low income areas.

Currently there are 50,000 cesspools on the Big Island and to convert them all to septic is estimated to be $1.5 billion. However, no current conversion is required but a tax credit for doing so is available.

Market Snapshot

Closed in
February, 2016
For Sale in
March, 2016

33 Homes
25 Condos
13 Land


23 Homes
14 Condos
2 Land

302 Homes
266 Condos
189 Land

For Sale

151 Homes
246 Condos
88 Land

Gretchen Osgood
Hawaiian Isle Real Estate, LLC
Principal Broker/ Owner
Direct (808) 329-5667

Top 100 Agents in Hawaii – 2013 & 2014
Creative Advertising Award – 2012
Broker of the Year – 2010

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