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Monthly Newsletter Archive: December 2009

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West Hawaii Real Estate Update
Volume 6 • Issue 12
December 2009


Sales continued strong in Kona for November closing with 51, the highest quantity since May of ‘08. Yippie! We have already surpassed the total 4th quarter of ‘08… with one month still to go. So we are well on track to have more transactions in 2009 than 2008 since we just need 34 more sales to tie it!

Inventories responded to the good news by increasing… huh? It would seem some sellers are hoping the current sales momentum will help them so they are jumping on the ‘bandwagon.’

Escrows are down from November but are holding over the 100-unit threshold that dictates if our sales for the next month will still be strong.

Short-sale inventories have been steadily increasing. Their escrow volume is up, but sales are still slow with only 30 so far in ‘09 for Kona (7%) and 11 for Kohala (4%).

Foreclosure inventories are much smaller but the closings are higher with 60 in ‘09 for Kona (13%) and 37 for Kohala (13%) telling you that this process is much more realistic and efficient at closing.

Call me today to buy one of these great deals or to sell your property at the best price!

Big Island Front Desk

After years of being asked I finally took the leap this year and started a vacation rental division. Yes, I know you have heard me say for years that property managers are saints and I’m not one of them… but I found someone who is! Paul Matsuwaki comes home to Kona via several years as a senior manager for Mammoth Front Desk, a highly successful vacation rental business in California that specializes in quality property rentals.

I’m very excited! This will be great for those of you that want access to quality rentals or want to put your quality property into a program that will take care of it as if it were their own. Check it all out at:

Luxury Real Estate

All of the luxury sales in West Hawaii in November were in either Kukio or Hualalai Resorts… nothing anywhere else on the coast over $1 million. That is amazing given the great inventory (over 400 properties) we have in other areas! The other thing that jumps out is that the lowest priced luxury sale was $2.75 million. Now mind you there are plenty of properties that are below that price point, 289 to be exact, but that is where the sales started and went up to $4.3 million.

Once again Kukio leads the way with the most severe drop in list to sales price ratios… two lots both listed at $12 million that sold for $4 million each… that is a 68% reduction each… talk about a fire sale! The one house sale at Kukio saw a modest 18% reduction from its list price to close at $3.5 million.

At Hualalai their two sales were the highest and the lowest—$2.75 million for the condo and $4.3 million for the house… but the house saw a 26% price reduction whereas the condo only saw about 4%.

All of the deals once again were for cash totaling $18.4 million.

There are still 12 properties over a million in escrow with only 1 each in Kukio and Hualalai… the rest are all houses in town or in Kohala, so it looks like our buyers are branching out to other areas. We have three condos and three houses waiting to close in Kohala… one is a whopper at $11.9 million and another one at $5.3 million.

Call me for more details!

Economic News

“Upside down” mortgages in Hawaii only represent 8.2% of all of the mortgages in the state. And when compared to the national rate of 23% this is really very good news!

Hawaii’s credit score of 679 in October surpassed the U.S. average of 671… guess we are “above average”!

The Big Island’s unemployment rate dropped slightly to 10.4 from 10.7 in October… small kin’ but the better news is the direction… down!

Frommer’s top destinations for 2010 are culled from the suggestions of industry insiders and readers… it meanders around the globe and this year it includes the Big Island!

Continental and Alaska Airlines are both adding flights to Hawaii… we love more choices! Big Island seats are up 10%.

Notes from Gretchen

For those of you that get West Hawaii Today, you will have noticed that my newsletter is now being printed in sections… you will even get it earlier than your email version!

As 2009 draws to a close, I not only want to look towards the better days of 2010 but also reflect on our success this past year. Out of 152 offices from Keauhou to Hawi still selling, we are tied for 18th in transactions and personally I’m 5th out of 469 in resale transactions. Overall I’m in the top 5% of all agents on the island in dollars and transactions out of 787.

Mahalo to you and yours that referred us to family and friends, or used us to help buy or sell this year!

Mele Kalikimaka e Hau’oli Makahiki Hou!


“Gretchen helped make an authentic miracle happen! In the midst of an economic recession she helped me buy the PERFECT home… a one-of-a-kind that fit all my needs and desires. As a human she is intelligent, intuitive, honest and kind. As an agent she exudes competence, thoroughness, patience, flexibility and integrity. I had zero knowledge of real estate and I felt safe. She is the gift that keeps giving!”

Jason Perret

Market Snapshot
Closed in November 2009
For Sale in December 2009
s p a c e
35 Homes
18 Homes
395 Homes
202 Homes
13 Condos
7 Condos
321 Condos
293 Condos
5 Land
1 Land
294 Land
124 Land