Top Menu

Monthly Newsletter Archives: May, 2011

To receive our monthly newsletter, please Click Here to enter your mailing address.

View our Archived Articles Here



When it comes to knowing the real estate market, Gretchen is the person you want to be working with! She was able to guide us through this journey to find the perfect home for our family. She is very patient and encouraging and always available for our questions! She is very confident and truly loves what she does!Alister & Jade (read more)

West Hawaii Real Estate Update

May, 2011: Volume 8, Issue 5

Sales in Kona this month were back to ‘normal’ with 67 after an eye-popping 88 in March. The lower number is a more consistent amount for this market, but let’s look at what might be holding up the closings since pending sales are still running high at 191.

Condo closings were a lean 18 this month but when I check what the 79 pending sales represent I find that 34 are short sales and 22 are foreclosures. This is a super high volume level for distressed condo sales at almost 70%, but both types take longer to close than regular ones typically so they get backlogged. Look for the backlog to begin recording about 60-90 days after they go to pending.

In houses in Kona, there are 93 pending sales with 29 foreclosures and 23 short sales, so this volume is a much lower percentage at 56% of the whole but almost the same quantity at 50+ as the condos.

Land sales were the only category with more sales than in March and this was the second time this year that they closed in double digits with 12. Pending sales are holding strong at 19 and only 4 of those are distressed.

Overall I think the market is holding for now… aloha!

Luxury Real Estate

April proved to be fairly ‘skinny’ with only 3 luxury sales in Kona but what it missed in volume it made up for in dollars! Hualalai Resort saw a $14.4 million oceanfront closing of a 4,000+ SF house on under 1/2 acre… and it only qualifies for 2nd place on the ‘11 list.

It was on the market for just over 500 days, most likely because it had limited exposure by not being in the MLS until it recorded. The buyer got about 7% off of the asking price… or over $1 million. That works out to $3,456 per SF if you just use the living area… wow!

The other sales pale in comparison… one also at Hualalai… for $6.3 million with over 4,600 SF of living area on over half an acre and not oceanfront. Can you say… location, location, location!

The final sale in Kona was a home in Kona Plantation for $1 million. It has been for sale off and on for years… great that these types of properties are finally selling!

Kohala has a celebrity property for sale and I got a chance to preview it the other day. The Presley estate (yes, those Presleys) is listed for a cool $12 million. With over 8,000 SF of living area it is one of only two luxury properties in West Hawaii of this size. Its finishes and design are fabulous, so if you were looking for a unique property, we have one for you!

If you need an expert, call me today to discuss your luxury real estate needs!

Economic News…

  • The price point overall for Big Island house sales in April was up 8% to $260,000, but that is for the whole island. But at least the trend is right even if the price isn’t!
  • Hawaii bankruptcy filings are down 12.5% from the same time in ‘10… yeah!
  • Hawaii foreclosures continued to fall for the 5th consecutive month, there were 237 filings for the whole island. This drop follows the national trend. They think it will increase again as banks work through their backlogs… let’s hope not!
  • Hotels report gains in occupancy, with West Coast travelers and Canadians offsetting the loss we experienced from the Japan earthquake. Waikiki was almost 80% with a 3+% increase.

Notes From Gretchen

Hula Dancer

I was recently selected as one of only 6 agents to serve on the Advisory Board of Leaders in Luxury (LIL), an invitation-only educational and networking event for real estate agents who work in the million and multi-million dollar home and estate market in the U.S. and Canada. Wow… that was a surprise and an honor! It is in Laguna Niguel this year and since I spent many years in that area, I can’t wait… what fun!

We also made the list of top-50 real estate offices in the state again this year… wahoo!

Thank you to all of you who never fail to mention me to their friends! Please have them drop your name when they call, since I will give them priority as a referral from you… mahalo!

Some of My Favorite…

Since so many clients are new to West Hawaii I regularly get asked for my favorite places to eat. I LOVE Ahi so here are my favorite haunts:

Da Poke Shack—Bali Kai commercial section on Alii Drive—I didn’t know there were so many flavors of Ahi poki! They have LOTS of others as well… and lunch is just $10!!!

Carol’s Café—in the health food store by Safeway—wow… $12 plate lunch with a huge filet of Ahi!!! Ask for the Gretchen special the next time you are there…

Jackie Rey’s—Pottery Terrace—can’t beat this place for sit down service and some of the most creative Ahi dishes in town… lunch or dinner… thanks to chef Muzzy!

Market Snapshot

Closed in
April, 2011
For Sale in
May, 2011

37 Homes
18 Condos
12 Land


13 Homes
16 Condos
6 Land

311 Homes
239 Condos
232 Land

For Sale

167 Homes
168 Condos
91 Land

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

Broker of the Year – 2000
Direct (808) 329-5667

75-170 Hualalai Road, D-115

Kailua-Kona, Hawaii 96740

This newsletter is available via monthly email. Visit my website to subscribe.

Search all available Big Island homes online at