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Newsletter Archives: West Hawaii Real Estate Update 08/2009

West Hawaii

Real Estate Update

Volume 6 • Issue 8
August 2009


Often the summer months can mean a slower real estate market in Kona but not this year!

We had our 5th straight month with closing over 40 after an eight month run under that amount. Escrows are holding at over 100 for the 4th month after a thirteen month stretch under that got as low as 48 last December. Available houses and condo inventory shrank again this month to about last Fall’s volume… but available land took a jump in March and has been increasing most months.

Short sales show a disproportionate amount available since most agents aren’t marking them as “In Escrow” until the bank approves them… so our ‘unavailable’ property is probably higher than the statistics show and our ‘available’ is actually lower. But closings of short sales are up to 5 for July.

Foreclosures doubled their closings to 10 this month while escrows and inventories held steady.

The super cool stat is that 47% of the sales were all cash… or 21 out of 45! We’ve got to be getting close to the bottom with the consistently high cash closings… since they are typically the ultra-conservative buyers… yeah!

Economic News

Paul Brewbaker, a top economist here (and my favorite), was quoted recently as saying, “There is an increasingly broad pattern of stabilization” when referring to real estate in the islands. He believes the ‘bottom’ was at the beginning of the year… which would correspond with my statistics as well. He has upgraded his forecast for Hawaii to a ‘U’ shaped recovery from an ‘L’ that would have meant we were stuck… and he thinks we have declined and now we are in the period of stabilization and then we will have renewed growth. For the whole article email me!

Foreclosure filings in Hawaii in June were down 14% from May.

Hawaiian Airlines, First Hawaiian Bank and Bank of Hawaii all reported profits in July… yippee somebody’s making money!

West Hawaii Today’s Sunday classified ads on 8/16/09 showed only 50 available positions… yikes… that is skinny!

Luxury Real Estate

Kona and Kohala saw the same volume of luxury closings in July with a total of 3 each. Two houses and a lot in Kona and three condos in Kohala. Two of the properties closed under $1 million which has been my definition of luxury so it would appear that could now be a moving number.

Kukio had the best and the worst… they had the highest closing at $4.8 million for a house (22% off of asking) and a lot that started out at $2.5 million and closed at $800,000… now that is only 32% of the asking price! So I guess it is true that you never know until you ask… but who would have thought that price was possible for 2.69 acres in Kukio?

The other big steal this month was out at the Mauna Kea where a brand new duplex at Wai’ula’ula with 2,500+ sf of living area, a pool/spa and great ocean view sold for $975,000 or less than $400/sf including the pool/spa!

Ever dreamed of owning your own island? I found a property in the South Pacific with 42-acres and 3 buildings for just a little more than half a million… talk about private! You can even take it for a ‘test drive’ since it is currently a vacation rental property… email me for the details.

There are some great deals to be had so if you are in the market be sure to call me and let’s talk buying in this great market!

Buyer’s Market?

As we near the bottom it is time for buyers to get off the fence who need the lower prices and interest rate combinations to make owning a home or second home a reality.

Good deals… Well-priced, clean, and newer construction are getting fewer under $400,000 as buyers shy away from short sales and focus on immediately obtainable property. Short sales and their undefined timelines make big interest rate variations possible, often killing the deal. So to lock in your rate, you want to close sooner rather than later.

That means if you want to own in West Hawaii in the coming years and you fit the description in the first paragraph, now is the time. Call me today to discuss how to get started!

Notes from Gretchen

Well I’ll admit this has been a tough year to be in sales but my office is working hard to stay on top. We are still in the top 20 offices in West Hawaii out of the 139 that have sold real estate this year, in both transactions and dollar volume. There were 456 agents with sales this time last year and only 391 in 2009, that’s a 23% decrease… yikes! If you know someone whose agent has left the business email them this newsletter so they can work with a company that is successful through the tough times.

Our success is a direct by product of our loyal clients who have hung in there with us during these challenging times… mahalo!


“I was a first time home buyer in a challenging economic time, but made it through smiling. It would not have been possible without Gretchen’s dedication and professionalism. Gretchen is outstanding at what she does. I soon learned that the home-buying process is not easy as unexpected obstacles fell in our way. She never gave up and worked hard for me, always making me feel like I was her most important client. I couldn’t have asked for a better agent.”

Mari Taira, Waikoloa Village

Market Snapshot
Closed in July 2009
For Sale in August 2009
s p a c e
27 Homes
15 Homes
416 Homes
202 Homes
15 Condos
12 Condos
357 Condos
310 Condos
3 Land
4 Land
302 Land
120 Land