West Hawaii Real Estate Update: October 2022


The dramatic news in Kona sales for September is the extreme drop-off in cash closings. Only 31% compared to 49% last month and that was low against previous months that had been running in the 50’s. Cash is a trailing indicator of a market that is losing confidence.

In the first quarter, we did not have one sale between $900k and a million. We did have 15 sales between $1 million and $1.2 million. In the third quarter things had changed. We had 15 sales in the $900K to $1 million range, and only 8 sales in the $1 million to $1.2 million range… so a significant shift to back under a million, at least in houses of this caliber. 

House listings in Kona show 99 total available and only 21 of those are listed at a million or under. Out of 38 total condo listings, only 6 are over a million but 38 is still a really low number. We need double or more like triple that to have any sort of selection for buyers.
For houses January through September, days on the market averaged 22, and the price per square foot averaged $550. For condos they averaged 19 days on the market and $625 a square foot… that’s interesting!

House sales for the year are at 188 total compared to 315 this time last year, a 42% drop! Condos are down in sales by 32%.


I was impressed with Gretchen’s experience and meticulous approach. Throughout the process, she offered constant communication updates to ensure everything was addressed accordingly. She also provided continued guidance to explain questions I had along the way. She will go to bat for you to make sure you are well-represented as her client. I’d highly recommend Gretchen to anyone!

Lauren Choy

Third Quarter Houses Under a Million Sales

Economic News

  • The Big Island’s adjusted unemployment rate is at 3.5% as of September, this is down from 3.6% in August. The Feds want to see MORE unemployment so expect this to start increasing and not decreasing.
  • Phishing is on the rise – emails that look like they come from a reputable source but are actually trying to trick you into sharing personal information. You can report them, just forward the email to this address: .
  • Earthquakes have been increasing at and around Mauna Loa. The scientists said we don’t need to worry. Its status has not changed, and there is no imminent threat of eruption.
  • Year-to-date visitor arrivals of 6.2 million are down 13% when compared to the same period in 2019 of 7.1 million.
  • Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loan limits are increasing for 2023 in Hawaii to $1,073,000. That’s hard to believe!
  • Hawaii island vacation rentals saw an occupancy in August of 56%. That is 166,000 nights available, down 19%; nights used of 93,000, down 30%; and an increase in rates of 54% to $245 a night. Hmm, maybe that is why occupancy is dropping.
  • The state of Hawaii had a vacation rental occupancy of 64.7% and that is a 10% drop from August of 2019. Average rate was $204 in 2019, and it was up 47% to nearly $300 a night in 2022. Trivia: Waikiki is the only place Hawaii hotel rates are the same as 2019.

Notes from Gretchen

I was recently asked to be a panelist at a Keller Williams quarterly market update that is open to all agents in town. Nice affair and they tied it into the grand opening of the newest KW franchise here on the Big Island. They have been here for a few years but finally got the blessing from corporate to be their own office instead of a satellite of Maui. The managing partner is a friend and former agent at Hawaiian Isle, Dan Palomino, so we wish them the best of success!

Another fun event was Joyce Murphy, a very close friend who has rented office space from me for almost 10 years, took the top broker slot at Kohanaiki, the luxury development by the airport. We wish her the best as well on this exciting adventure!


The thieves just keep getting more creative… unfortunately. I took the scariest class on fraud a few weeks ago that makes me want to hide from the world. Unbelievable how many ways they have to “get you.” I ran right out and had every computer I own scanned by my computer expert to make sure nothing had been compromised… it hadn’t but you can’t be too careful these days!

They say on average you don’t know your computer or email or social media accounts are compromised for up to six months! So if you are planning something big, be sure to change your password to your email and social media accounts to lock them out. Not a bad choice every six months for the heck of it. It’s a scary world out there!

Rentals in Kona

kona rental Kona Sea Ridge 2BD/3BA with Office & Den Immaculately Furnished, Ocean and Sunset Views
Available 1st Week of December: Kona Sea Ridge 2BD/3BA with Office & Den Immaculately Furnished, Ocean and Sunset Views

Thought for the day

Speak softly and wear a loud shirt.
He who dies with the most toys … still dies.
No rain – no rainbows.

Out on the Town

Everything was BIG including the crowds, at Ironman this year.

West Hawaii Real Estate Market Snapshot

infographic for sold listings in kona oct 2022



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