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Monthly Newsletter Archive: November 2009

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West Hawaii

Real Estate Update


Volume 6 • Issue 11
November 2009



Another good month! House sales in Kona surpassed 2008’s year-to-date totals in October, and sales of houses and condos were up against October 2008’s sales… yeah!

Inventories at the end of October were the lowest since 2007, and down 17% from the highs of this past March. House inventories were under 400 for the second straight month… last time was a year ago… condo inventories are at their lowest levels since 2006… all great news!

Our elevated sales are continuing with October closing with 48 overall… houses, condos, and land. The amazing story is that 46% of those paid all cash… wow! The sixth straight month with cash sales totaling double digit millions… very good for our community when strong buyers like these want to buy and live here.

Escrows also remain high at 137, up 25% from September, their highest level since 2007. By now you are noticing recurring mentions of ‘07 and earlier levels and that is very good news that most categories are returning to pre-foreclosure and pre-financial melt-down quantities… we are recovering! Call me today to get in before it is too late to catch the bottom!

Hawaiian Eye

Ever wanted to have someone check on your place when you are away… but don’t know who to call? Well now that peace of mind is available!

We have a new service just to fill that need…

Hawaiian Eye “Overseeing Your Island Property” has just welcomed its first client. We will provide twice a month check-ins at your property and email you with the results of that inspection. The inspection will include checking for leaks, sweeping the front lanai, flushing toilets, etc.

The inspection fees start at $65 and go up by property size. A full list of services is available. We look forward to filling this much needed niche for clients… do you need us?

Luxury Real Estate

In October I reported the great new interest in super luxury out at Hualalai Resort with their 7 sales totaling $35 million in September… well they are at it again and this month Kukio is in on the action. Hualalai had 3 closings, 1 condo and 2 houses totaling $12.6 million. Kukio chimed in with 2 lot sales totaling $4.7 million but that is deceptive since one sold for under a million and the other for $4 million.

With 11 pending sales in Kona at the close of October, luxury is really picking up some steam after a super slow start in 2009. Hualalai has 4, Kukio has 3, and the other 4 are outside the resorts.

Kohala is a little slower with only 3 total luxury sales this past month… but one was a foreclosure! An almost 3,000 sf house with a pool at the Mauna Kea sold for $1.2 million… wow! An oceanfront condo in Waikoloa listed for almost $2 million sold for $875,000… double wow!

The real story in this market segment is the huge deals to be had by those willing to wade back into a slow market. The average reduction off of the asking price was 31% in Kona and 24% in Kohala. Now what’s not to like about that if you are a buyer? Out of the 9 total sales, 7 were for all cash, that tells you that the conservative luxury buyers are out shopping for the deals… are you priced to sell? If not call me today for an expert opinion!

Economic News

Trivia: One year ago interest rates were at 6%… Today they are floating around 5%… huge difference in your monthly payments!

Hawaii County now has a mediation process for foreclosures if you want to use it… the judge, you and the lender all sit down and discuss other options… wow, haven’t heard of that anywhere else.

SmartMoney magazine’s James Stewart says “I can’t imagine a better time to buy than right now.”

Tourism arrivals, after dropping for 17 months, held steady in July and August with increases from the West coast for four consecutive months… offsetting the drop in arrivals from other locations… yippie!

Hawaii’s first 4-D theater is opening at the Mauna Lani in November!

Notes from Gretchen

First time home buyers and sellers with short sales (where you owe more than the house is worth) make up the majority of my business these days.

With interest rates still around 5% and houses 50% less than in 2007 now is one of those rare times that buying is less expensive overall than renting. And when you buy you don’t have to worry about an owner raising your rent, you can have that adorable pet you’ve only dreamed of… and you can paint the walls any color that suits you!

Short sales have become something that is definitely do-able. If there is only one mortgage on the property and the seller is truly in distress most banks are approving the sales… and in a timely manner! Call or email me for more details!


“We can’t thank you enough for your dedication, determination and attention to detail that you put forth during the sale of our home. I have used a number for Realtors in the past and you outshined them all in every direction! I say this because as dark and gloomy as I thought the market was, you proved to be our shining light. Skeptical as I was I should have ‘never underestimated the power of a redhead!’”

The Skidmores

Market Snapshot

Closed in October 2009
For Sale in November 2009
s p a c e
31 Homes
14 Homes
360 Homes
195 Homes
12 Condos
12 Condos
319 Condos
290 Condos
5 Land
5 Land
281 Land
112 Land