West Hawaii Real Estate Update: November 2023


October closings were exactly 60 again this month for houses, condos and land combined in Kona. Interesting the available houses were also exactly the same at 89 so the bump last month might have been an anomaly. Condo availability increased 6 units or 10%. All availability in all price points still remains under 200 overall, a very tight market.

A piece of trivia, we have closed 5 lot sales in each of the last three months… we usually vary some but this is very consistent and the month before the trend started was 6. So look for similar sales as the end of the year approaches.

Through October this year, 298 houses have been sold in Kona, 288 condos and 77 pieces of land for a grand total of 663. Since sales typically slow over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays don’t look for any big changes between now and the end of the year in volume.

There are 98 overall properties in escrow as of the end of October, mirroring September’s number of 100, so sales should be similar in November, probably around 60 or so.

I’m getting calls weekly from owners now considering switching from vacation rental to long-term, more consistent income but you don’t get to use the property as often. Some will sell… stay tuned!

kona houses – condos – land all price points

west hawaii real estate market snapshot


My wife and I recently purchased a condo through Gretchen and couldn’t have been more pleased!!! Her knowledge of the Kona real estate market is “second to none”. As promised, I spoke directly to her every time I called or emailed, and she was very thorough in answering all our questions. She also has excellent local knowledge from housing/vacation rental trends, property development (or not) and best property management practices. We can’t recommend her enough!!!

The Saalfelds

economic news

  • The County Salary Commission has recommended that the top executives get a 22.4% raise effective January 2024 and an additional 5% in July 2024. I guess there hasn’t been one since 2018, but an almost 30% increase… holy smokes! That comes out to more than $3,000 a month just for the mayor!
  • And in other front page news… a missing cat has been found! Yes, our sleepy little town still considers this “news” which is rather refreshing! I guess Loki from Kona Stories had been missing for 84 days before he was found across the road in Keauhou Estates.
  • The Waikiki Beachcomber by Outrigger was 10th in the ranking of Hawaii hotels by Condé Nast recently. It is one of our favorite places to stay!
  • A Condé Nast survey of Hawaii resort properties saw the Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection as #6, the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Autograph Collection as #12, Four Seasons Hualalai as lucky #13, the Fairmont Orchid came in at #18, and the Westin Hapuna Prince was #20… congrats to all!
  • September vacation rental occupancy dropped again in the state to 52.7%, a 6.3% drop from last September and a 15.4% drop since September of 2019. Pricing is surely playing a part in this since the average room night increased $100 in the state during that same time.
  • Visitor spending is up 19% year-to-date, visitor counts are down… this is because things cost so much more now!

notes from gretchen

Lifetime sales… as I look back on my career, that really started in 2003, I have sold 583 properties for $279 million. That is a whole heck of a lot of experience! There is only one on the list who has sold more than I have in those 20 years, and she has been in the business a good decade or so longer than I have. My hat is off to Suzanne Patterson!

Experience… that will be the big buzz word going forward for Realtors. Your expertise, knowledge, contacts, and relationships will win the day. There is a new proposed system where buyers’ agents will get paid directly by the buyers in the selling process, not like now where they are paid by listing agent. You will bring cash to closing to pay your buyer’s agent. Wow… big changes potentially!

insurance part 3

The latest and greatest with insurance is actually something I never would have guessed. Insurers in some US locations are suggesting to condo association boards that they underinsure the complex if the structure is concrete figuring it isn’t going to blow away in a hurricane and if the owners want full coverage they can pay the difference individually. Can you imagine what a mess that would be! Egads!

Recently it was discovered that many of the condo associations in Maui were underinsured on their replacement values. That is causing the insurers to get new valuations which of course will be higher for replacement costs than in years past, creating another increase. One potential number on the coconut wireless is in the 35-60% range overall insurance increase… crazy!

rentals in kona

Thought for the day

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”

~William Arthur Ward

out on the town


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