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Monthly Newsletter Archive: February, 2010

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West Hawaii

Real Estate Update

Volume 7 • Issue 2
February 2010


What a difference a year makes! In Kona in January of ’09, we saw only 19 properties sell (houses/condos/land). This year we had 49… that is over a 150% improvement! And the good news continues with pending sales up over 100% as compared to last January at 159 and up over 20% just from December. Available inventories are down compared to last January by 6%… hurray!

Out on the coast in South Kohala sales in January of ‘09 were a dismal 10, but this year they more than doubled to 21… yeah! Pending sales are also up by 20% to 61, when compared to last January and up 12% since December. Inventories are down here as well by 20% from January ‘09… all good news!

Now even though these are improvements to celebrate, we still aren’t back to the strong sales numbers of recent years past. But there is a trend emerging that seems to show we are on our way to a recovery of our local real estate market.

Houses under $400,000 are the hot commodity these days, so call me today to see if that property you always wanted is now priced right for you!

Distressed Loan Statistics…
  • The national average for subprime loans that were paid off, if they were issued between 2000 and 2007, is 58% and in Hawaii it is 66% or 27,679 loans here… way to go Hawaii!
  • Of the remaining 14,374 active subprime loans in the state, 51% or 7,403 are current with their payments… leaving 6,971 either in default or foreclosed on… ugh!
  • Of the 28,459 Alt-A loans (high risk/good credit) issued in Hawaii between 2000 and 2007, 49% or 13,945 have been paid off. Of the remaining loans, 11,099 are current leaving only 2,986 in default or foreclosed.

Putting it in perspective… a state with 1.2 million people and 512,000 housing units had just 10,000 bad subprime and Alt-A loans… that would be 2% of the houses if every house had a mortgage… hmm, not as bad as it sounded!

Luxury Real Estate

The Kona luxury market, defined by list prices over $1 million, had lackluster closings in January. We had four sales… one house in Kona, one condo at Hualalai and two pieces of land at Kukio… and the only one that closed over the million dollar mark was the condo at $3.2 million.

The big story is what is pending at the start of February… Kukio led the way with 12 pending sales for almost $88 million, including four houses which have been slow to sell there lately with the last sale in August of ‘09. Hualalai Resort has two condos and three houses pending for $42 million total. Kailua has seven houses and one piece of land waiting to close… wow! We haven’t seen this many pending since summer of 2008!

The Kohala area only had three total sales, two parcels were land at Mauna Kea’s Kaunaoa who’s last land sale was in June of ‘09. The other sale was a house in Waimea.

The pending sales in Kohala are much skinnier with only three condos, two houses and one parcel of commercially zoned land… totaling just over $9 million.

Since August of ‘09, 13 parcels of land listed over a million in Kona/Kohala have sold and there are 6 parcels still pending. I would say luxury home building should be on the upswing here shortly with that much land changing hands and primarily from developers to end users.

Economic News…
  • Time for a bit of good news… visitor arrivals were up 2.4% for December ’09 when compared to ‘08 for the state and we were only off 4.5% in overall arrivals from ‘08 with 6.5 million.
  • As of November ’09 Japanese tourism was up 7.9%. With the yen still strong against the dollar, Hawaii was too good to pass up!
  • Forbes has named Bank of Hawaii the top performing bank in the nation… how great is that!
  • Hawaii’s credit card delinquency rate is less than 1% and the delinquency rate on all mortgage types is less than 5%.

Notes from Gretchen

You may recall I was concerned awhile back about the increase in timeshares in Waikoloa Resort with Hilton’s new huge Grand Vacations project. I was worried it would make a big dent in the vacation rentals already there. Well anecdotally it may have… timeshare stays increased 5% in the state in ‘09 and condo stays decreased 7%.

The market is still going strong with the first time and repeat buyers who want to take advantage of the federal tax credit being offered on contracts written by April and closed by June. The problem is that we don’t have enough houses for them to buy that can close by then. Short sales have ’iffy’ closing dates so all other properties are in big demand.


My wife and I were interested in buying a house and I thought I could do it on my own… wrong! The moment I called Gretchen she began giving us incredible service, jumping through seemingly endless hoops in the very challenging $300,000 market. She took the time to find us the perfect house and she always remained positive when the going got tough. We could not have done it without her, she is a blessing!!!

D&A Zepf

Market Snapshot


Closed in January 2010
For Sale in February 2010
s p a c e
23 Homes
10 Homes
396 Homes
197 Homes
10 Condos
6 Condos
300 Condos
264 Condos
7 Land
5 Land
292 Land
110 Land