West Hawaii Real Estate Update: December 2022


Kona sales are still dropping, houses, condos and land combined only closed 51 sales last month. That is 28 houses in all price points, only 13 condos and 10 pieces of land. Twenty of those were over a million, leaving only 13 houses and 12 condo sales under that range and surprisingly only 6 lots.

Sales last year in November were down to a low of 90, having hit 193 in April 2021 as the high point of this run-up. Was inventory a factor? November 2021 saw only 55 houses/condos for sale, this November we had 150 combined… hmm. Way more choice, so that just leaves us inflation and interest rates which are kissing cousins so to speak, since one typically affects the other, as the reason for the dramatic slowdown.

The last five years we have always crossed the 1,000 unit threshold for houses/condo/land sales in Kona, but it doesn’t look probable this year.

To recap, house sales slowed first, they are now down $150,000 from the top of their range in my opinion.  Residential condos restricted from vacation renting slowed a few months after houses. Sales for vacation rental condos kept going, but have recently slowed dramatically and prices are dropping there now. You won’t see this clearly in the solds for another few months.


Gretchen is an exceptional Realtor! She truly exceeded any and all expectations. From start to finish, she was professional, knowledgable, organized, and very efficient. Communication was superb and she was seemingly always available to fully answer any questions or provide updates. Her approach to having everything done prior to listing minimizes any surprises for both a seller and buyer.

Byron Unger

Kona House Sales Last Twenty-Four Months

Economic News

  • Hotel occupancy in the state overall dropped from 79.1% in November of 2019 to 70.5% this November. Luxury class had a more substantial drop from 73% to just 58%. However, before you feel sorry for them, ALL of them (except Oahu) saw startling increases in their room revenue up anywhere from 47-53% which is why I’m sure they had fewer guests.
  • Big Island hotel occupancy was down to 71.4% this year from 76% in Nov. of 2019 but their revenue was up 53%, so a drop is to be expected I would think.
  • Here is a funny… Kona airport took the #2 spot by Forbes Advisor for best airport for holiday travel nationwide. We had the highest on-time flights at 88.89% and the lowest cancellations 0.49% out of the 100 busiest airports. Hmm… maybe it’s because there are no “connecting” flights in Kona to delay their departure. We are only a destination airport, not a pass-through.
  • The Leeward Planning Commission sent the in-town Royal Vistas 69-acre development to the Cultural Resources Commission for review. There is a hue and cry about the traffic this would add to Kuakini Highway and to the surrounding subdivisions it would need to traverse to get there. They are looking for a 10-year extension to complete the project.
  • California brought the state the most guests in September at almost 250,000. Washington was second with just under 45,000… wow!

Notes from Gretchen

As 2022 comes to a close, I find it hard to believe how busy we were again this year! In 2022, my loyal clients referred friends and family and bought and sold themselves to the tune of a whopping $30 million in sales dollars and 33 resale transactions, propelling me again the number one spot! Holy cow!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

And even though the last two years have been great I think there are turbulent times ahead. With interest rates and inflation high, and sales stalling, I think it is just a matter of time for a big market shift. So like the pilot says on the plane “Fasten your seat belt, there could be turbulence ahead!”

Happy New Year to you and yours!

Fun Facts about Mauna Loa

  • It is the world’s largest volcano.
  • It extends 13,697 feet above sea level and 3,100 feet below it.
  • Its name means “long mountain.”
  • Kilauea pumps 0.2-0.5 million cubic meters a day of lava. Mauna Loa pumps 12 million per day!
  • It has erupted 34 times since 1843, including this eruption.
  • 1984 was the last eruption and that one flowed towards Hilo.
  • The last eruption north of Kona was Kiholo Bay in 1859. And, the only one that didn’t go towards South Kona or Hilo until now.
  • Mauna Loa and Kilauea stopped flowing within 24 hours of each other, earlier this month. 

Rentals in Kona

Available January 1, 2023

Kona Sea Ridge 2BD/2BA Furnished, Ocean View, Vaulted Ceilings, AC
Kona Sea Ridge 2BD/2BA Furnished, Ocean View, Vaulted Ceilings, AC


“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.”

~ Oprah Winfrey

Out on the Town

active lava flow mauna loa

Greg and Celeste Wixom have lived in Kona for many years and are avid newsletter readers. But they had never seen active lava, that is until Mauna Loa started flowing back in November.  

They jumped at the chance and were some of the first to see it from the side of Saddle Road AKA Daniel Inouye Highway. Eventually the county would open up viewing areas but on this night none existed, so they pulled off by the military training base, Pohakuloa and shot these photos of Mauna Loa looking towards Hilo from the Kona side.  

Pretty amazing stuff! Thank you Greg and Celeste for sharing these amazing photos with my other readers!

active lava flow mauna loa at night

West Hawaii Real Estate Market Snapshot



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