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West Hawaii Real Estate Update: February, 2012

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Buying a condo in Hawaii had been a goal of ours for the last year, but navigating the options was overwhelming. HOA fees, leased land, short sales and more made it seem like a very big risk to know which one to buy. Having Gretchen guide us and hone our options down to the ones that worked, it made the final choice obvious and certain.The Whitcombs (read more)

West Hawaii Real Estate Update

February, 2012: Volume 9, Issue 2

Sluggish Kona sales are back with 52 overall after December’s pop up to 77. The silver lining is that pending sales are high at 186. The thinking is that this was an anomaly and that in February we will see unusually high sales to make up for it… let’s hope so!

Out of those measly sales, 32 or 57% were paid for with all cash… wow!!! They ranged from a tiny leasehold condo for $23,000 to two huge resort homes for $13+ million each.

Inventories increased by an overall 20, 10 houses, 6 condos and 4 lots… but pendings went up by 14 houses, 8 condos, and down 1 lot, so that means there had to be twice as much added to the inventory for it to increase since we absorbed 21 more in pendings… a good sign that maybe we will start to see a wider selection.

Currently our inventory in lower end houses and condos is severely limited and buyers are waiting for more to come on the market. This will lead to competition for quality properties and that will lead to price increases down the road. But in the meantime it could lead to slower sales as well.

Email or call today to find out what this means to your plans!

Luxury Real Estate

Kona luxury sales were off to a roaring start in January! There were not one but two sales for over $13 million! They would have qualified in the top 5 sales for 2011 if they had closed last year. As it is, they are now the top sales for 2012 for everyone to beat.

Not only did we have the two whoppers but there were two other luxury listings that sold outside the resorts. Both were in gated communities, one oceanfront for $1.4 million and the other closing at $925,000 in Bayview.

Here is a classic tale of the trials of selling luxury properties in a down market. The oceanfront house mentioned above sold with 38 days on the market… but that isn’t the whole story. The house was actually originally listed in 2008 at $3.2 million… after several price reductions and 1,298 days on the market the listing expired at $1.9 million in August of 2011. The brave owners and their intrepid agent relisted it in November of 2011 for $1.6 million and went under contract in December for $1.4 million.

Now that takes resolve and dedication to selling and knowing that it is often ‘all about the price’ for the buyers. So if your luxury property isn’t selling, you might want to consider how your pricing is affecting that result.

To discuss the luxury market, give me a call or drop me an email about your particular interest. There is a lot you can’t see without a knowledgeable agent!

Tourism Update

    If you are a ‘picture is worth a thousand words’ person click on the link I’ve provided to see the most awesome graphs that the Hawaii Tourism Authority created on visitor counts for 2011.

    View Hawaii Tourism Graphs

    If you don’t like pictures here are some of the best parts:

    • The West Coast of the US provided almost 3 million visitors. They predict we will have roughly 400,000 more visitors overall in 2012 putting us back to our highs of 2007.
    • West coast visitors spent more by multiple billions and our overall is at $12 billion a year, the same as our peak in 2007.
    • The Japanese per day spending was far and above higher than any other group by almost $100 a day over the $182 average.
    • Almost 66% were returning visitors and they weren’t using package tours.
    • 17.5% of them plan to stay in a vacation rental… yeah!

    Notes From Gretchen

    January was a busy month for us considering the overall market. My office closed 3 buyer sales and opened 2 buyer and 2 seller escrows. Right now we have more buyer’s than sellers, another testament to our changing market. Sellers don’t want to list their properties unless they can get what they want for them and sometimes the market isn’t ready for that yet.

    On another good note, the largest escrow company in the state is hiring for the first time in years and thinks 2012 will be exceptionally busy year… you heard it here first!

    If you are wondering if now might be the time for you to sell or buy, email or call me today to get a free market analysis that you can use to make that decision.

    Distressed Market Update

    Startling statistics jumped out at me as I reviewed this January to last. The inventory in the foreclosure market in Kona has dropped a whopping 77% leaving only 15 foreclosure properties available to buy. Pending sales are down 67%, to 17, from last January, but sales interestingly enough are up 1 with 15 sales but well off of their highs of mid-20’s each month.

    Short sales did not pick up all of the slack since so many houses are stuck in the foreclosure process in the court system. Short sale inventory in Kona increased 17% and pending sales increased 22% to 68, the highest we have seen since 2010 in Kona. Sales, however, were down 2 for a total of 5.

    Seahorse Farm

    These photos are from a very fun, conservation oriented visit to Oceanrider Farms in Kona. They are “inspiring ocean awareness by saving the endangered seahorse and sea dragons around the world from extinction through conservation, research, propagation, and education.” You can find out more at their website: .

    Market Snapshot

    Closed in
    January, 2012
    For Sale in
    February, 2012

    26 Homes
    20 Condos
    6 Land


    13 Homes
    14 Condo
    4  Land

    303  Homes
    208  Condos
    240  Land

    For Sale

    180  Homes
    174  Condos
    98  Land

    Gretchen L. Lambeth
    Hawaiian Isle Real Estate, LLC
    Principal Broker/ Owner

    Broker of the Year – 2010
    Direct (808) 329-5667

    75-170 Hualalai Road, D-115
    Kailua-Kona, Hawaii 96740

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