West Hawaii Real Estate Update: January 2023


Kona ended the year with 1,003 sales in houses, condos and land. That was 519 fewer than last year, a 34% drop.

If you looked at just residential in the fourth quarter you would find a telling tale. When compared to Q4 in 2021, we had 277 sales then and only 141 now, or a 49% decrease. Average prices dropped 15% to just less than $1.1 million and days on the market increased from 20 to 34.

The overall sales dollar volume that transacted in Q4 in residential corresponds with the trend, down over 50%… something like $200 million less in sales.  That is huge for lenders, escrow/title companies and agents who all make a living based on a percentage of those “missing” dollars.  Multiply that across the nation, and you have a huge swath of people who can’t pay their mortgages.

The overall stats are starting to return to more normal patterns as you can see in the graph this month. We have more available than pending and sales are less than pending… this was how it worked before COVID, and it is returning to “normal” it would appear… the party is over and all that is left is the hangover.

This story is unfortunately far from over and will get worse before it gets better. The good news is Kona is an awesome place to live while we ride out these changes!


I have been on both sides on a transaction (both buying and selling) with Gretchen, and she did a wonderful job each time. She is very honest, sharp, hard working and her assessments on each particular situation was spot on. I would highly recommend her and look forward to working with her again. Thank you for everything you did for us.

D. Pritchard

Kona Houses and Condos All Price Points

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

It’s official, my newsletter is 20 years old — I can hardly believe it. A huge MAHALO to all of my readers!

So much time and effort goes into creating this newsletter each month. I collect and distill information, watch and read local news, gather statistics, and write the content. I get a lot of help from my team…  Sandi: editor extraordinaire, Monica: all the techie stuff, Claudia: beautiful graphics and commercial printing, Shirley: a final read and in-house printing/mailing.    

I run all the stats manually and my spreadsheet has never changed. It would probably run the length of Kona these days… LOL!

Feel free to share with family and friends… mahalo and aloha!

TAR (Formerly STVR)

Rentals in Kona

Available Soon — March 2023

Alii Cove 2BD/2BA Furnished, Ground Floor, No Stairs, AC, Peek of Ocean View
Alii Cove 2BD/2BA Furnished, Ground Floor, No Stairs, AC, Peek of Ocean View

Thought for the Day

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”

~ Aesop

Out on the Town

Randy and Gretchen, on the Pride of America cruise
Randy and Gretchen, on the Pride of America cruise

Well this month we really did it up! We took the Pride of America around all the Hawaiian Islands the first week of 2023 and what a grand time we had!  

We didn’t have to park the car, or find a place to eat, or the best part… drag our luggage from place to place. We loved the ease of staying on the boat all day at the pool and then dining at any one of their great restaurants, and seeing a show most nights. The height of luxury for us, guessing we will do this again in some other fun location, it is now officially our favorite style of travel.

gretchen and randy selfie in atv on kauai
Having some fun on Kauai!

We did take one side trip on Kauai. We had done this ATV ride years ago and loved it, so we thought we would go back… three hours in a dune buggy style of vehicle called a Polaris. We will remember that for the rest of our lives… the photo was taken just as we were taking off.  

The bow of the boat photo was us pulling out of Kauai and headed to Honolulu our last night on the ship.

view of ocean and kauai from Pride ship
On the cruise, departing Kauai

West Hawaii Real Estate Market Snapshot



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