West Hawaii Real Estate Update: November 2022


Kona overall sales are down 33% year-to-date. In checking houses, they are down also 33%. The average price is exactly the same as October 2021 for all ranges, $1.8 million. The mean or middle was slightly higher by $100,000 this year at $1.07 million. If we cap it at a million, sales are down 43% and prices are almost the same as last year.

Condo sales are down year-to-date 30% in all price ranges and 33% under a million. The average sales price is still up about $100,000 from 2021’s average under a million. And an extra $100,000 for those listed over a million.

Land sales are down a whopping 47% compared to the first 10 months of 2021. Average sales prices under a million are close to the same, up just slightly from 2021 at $492,000 average. For all price points, if you take out the huge $33 million land sale, the average is up about $200,000 to $1.3 million from $1.1 million in 2021.

So to recap, houses sales are down and prices are falling back to 2021. Condo sales are down and prices are still up, land sales are falling fast and most prices are the same as 2021… and this is only five months after they started raising interest rates, the catalyst for these changes… wow, that was fast! What is still ahead? Feel free to reach out if you have questions!


I am very thankful that I had Gretchen as my Realtor. She suggested that I renovate my condo before putting it on the market and she helped to make that happen. As a result we were able to get top dollar and cash offers on the first day it was on the market. Gretchen is very knowledgeable and efficient. I recommend her if you wish to do real estate business in Hawaii.

L. Johnson

Kona House Sales Last Twenty-Four Months

north kona sales stats november 2022

Economic News

  • Fannie Mae economists believe house sales will bottom out next year, a common theme amongst economists these days. They expect them to drop to the lowest levels since 2008!!! In 2008, Kona saw only 481 houses, condo, and land sales, a third of what we had in 2021.
  • Fannie Mae is also predicting price declines starting in 2023. However, they do admit they are happening now, eroding the gains from earlier in the year but still showing an increase from 2021. They expect almost 10% decline between 2023 through 2024, but if houses aren’t selling, this could increase, it is all about supply and demand.
  • Fannie Mae says almost 80% of all homeowners with mortgages are paying 2% less than current market rates, creating a locked-in effect, a disincentive to take on a higher-rate mortgage to change houses.
  • Hawaii Island hotel occupancy rate for October was 75%, a 1% increase from October 2019.  Luxury hotels across the state saw their occupancy drop by almost 19%, and budget properties saw high occupancy at 78% — certain proof that all-time high roommate’s are having an effect on occupancy.
  • Big Island vacation rental occupancy however is dropping fast, now at 51.6%, down from the 70’s last summer.
  • Less seats to Hawaii these days, down 12% from LAX, but also almost 10% from SFO, PHX, and San Jose. Less seats means higher prices… for now.

Notes from Gretchen

Mortgage lenders in the state of Hawaii are suffering. Total home loans issued through the end of October dropped 38% from same period last year. In October alone they dropped over 55% from October 2021, including refinances, second mortgages and purchases.  

But the number of originations has been falling since before they started raising interest rates… the peak was December of 2020 at just over 7,000 loans statewide. October of 2022 that number was 2,491… holy cow! That is a 64% drop in 22-months.

This market is changing fast. No one can predict where it will land but I think it is safe to say “what goes up, must come down” at some point!

Interest Rates

Buyers using a mortgage typically make a finite amount of money.  When they go to buy a house, they are really asking how much can I afford a month. So when interest rates are low, they can afford a higher-priced house. When rates go up, they can afford less house. One of two things happen: they stop looking and wait till their income increases or house prices drop or they buy something less expensive.

The good news for buyers is that both industries are supply and demand and both go up and down.

When you get a loan with a high interest rate there is a chance you can refinance that later to a lower rate. When you buy a house and then prices drop you may have to wait possibly years for them to return to the level you purchased at.

Rentals in Kona

Kona Sea Ridge 2BD/2BA Furnished, Ocean View, Vaulted Ceilings, AC
Kona Sea Ridge 2BD/2BA Furnished, Ocean View, Vaulted Ceilings, AC
Kona Alii 1BD/2BA Fabulous downtown location, completely renovated, beautifully furnished
Kona Alii 1BD/2BA Fabulous downtown location, completely renovated, beautifully furnished
Kona Sea Ridge 2BD/2BA Furnished, Ocean View, Vaulted Ceilings, AC
(Another) Kona Sea Ridge 2BD/2BA Furnished, Ocean View, Vaulted Ceilings, AC

Thought for the Day

Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted. And experience is often the most valuable thing you have to offer.

~ Randy Pausch, Ph.D., The Last Lecture 

Out on the Town

Taking in the sunset and view, from Thanksgiving dinner at Huggo’s.

Thanksgiving oceanfront… and boy was it a pretty one! They had storm warnings everywhere in the islands but we caught a break and it was just perfect!

Huggo’s now takes reservations for Thanksgiving and Christmas… they don’t take reservations the rest of the year and we lucked out when Randy randomly asked one day in our search for a new Thanksgiving place. Food and service were both terrific, you could have the regular menu or the turkey prix fixe… we opted for the regular.

I heard later that Jackie Rey’s was also open that night which isn’t typical for them after their big Thanksgiving Day Lunch give-away earlier that day but they squeezed both in. We will have to try that the next time. And of course Fishhopper provided their support for Salvation Army and did takeout boxes for families in need as well, the owners are huge supporters on the mainland as well, and like Jackie Rey’s it is an annual event for them.

I love that it is so much about giving back… we need more of that in this world!

On a side note, I promised a long time reader and client I would mention a huge accomplishment by Kona Commons, the shopping center that has Ross and other stores, reached 100% lease-out recently. No small feat when you consider how difficult retail is these days after COVID… great job! It sits on 10 acres and has 27 tenants and is locally owned and for the last 11 years in operation, and has been voted the Best Shopping Center in West Hawaii!

West Hawaii Real Estate Market Snapshot



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