The picture is changing
fast, and now it's no longer just oceanfront and ocean-view properties
that are going up in price. About the only East Hawai'i properties
that haven't joined the race are the really rural ones, and in
the small communities like Mountain View and Kurtistown (farming
areas on the way up to Volcano). Volcano area prices are staying
fairly stable, too, and this is mostly due to the distance from
Hilo and the cold weather. For sure, there are lots of folks
who love the Volcano area-and the cold weather-and for them this
price stability is a blessing.
- Other stable areas
are most of the rest of the tracts of lots all over lower Puna.
Hawai'ian Paradise Park (HPP) prices are staying reasonable for
the most part, unless you get really close to the ocean. Leilani
Estates is an exception, as it is farther from Hilo than HPP,
yet the prices are going up. This is probably due to the lush,
well-kept appearance of the community. It is one of the most
attractive developments of its kind on the Island, and in spite
of the reputation for lots of rain, the nicer properties in Leilani
are selling well.
- The most dramatic price
increases are seen in Hilo homes and in properties north of Hilo
on the Hamakua Coast. On the Hamakua Coast, the closer you are
to Hilo, the higher the price. Other factors that influence Hamakua
prices are accessibility, paved roads, nearby utilities, and
of course the lay of the land and the view. Vacant land parcels
with killer ocean views are bringing huge prices now, and if
such a property has a paved road right to it and utilities available,
it really is a seller's market. A typical eight- to ten-acre
parcel of bare land with a good ocean view will bring a minimum
of $150,000. If there's an exceptional view, good access and
perhaps utilities at the lot, we've seen prices of $240,000.
And they're selling like hotcakes at those prices.
- Right now, more often
than not, if you find a place listed on the Multiple Listing
Service (MLS) on your computer, it is already sold. The reason
is that as soon as a realtor gets a desirable listing, all s/he
need to is make a few calls and that property is gone. So by
the time most properties get up onto the MLS, they are history.
- At this point, it is
safe to say that any property that appears to be a terrific deal
but has been on the market for more than a few days is a dud.
We've looked at a lot of them, always hoping for that "sleeper"
that somehow slipped through the cracks. There's always a reason
why it is still available. Maybe it's because there's not even
enough level land on ten acres to build one house. Or you finally
find the property only to discover its downwind from a smelly
hog farm. We found one beautiful parcel that we felt was priced
well but there was a really exciting ten-minute four-wheel-drive
adventure getting up to it. That one is still a possibility,
although we figure it would cost about $25,000 to put in a road
to the property. And that would be a basic, rough gravel road.
A steep, rough, basic gravel road.
- Our search for a small
house in Hilo to use as a rental is bringing the same results.
Any house that is still available two or three days after it
is listed has serious problems or it would be sold already. The
problem might just be that the property is seriously overpriced.
On these, if we like the property, we will put in an offer of
what we feel the place is worth. You never know, maybe the owner
is getting anxious because there have been no offers in this
hot market and will now get real about the price. But we've also
had our offers rejected with a certain amount of gusto, too.
You never know until you try.
- We're also looking
for a place on the Hamakua coast for ourselves. We have been
diligently searching for some time now, and every time we see
what appears to be an attractive parcel, we call immediately
on the new listing and are told that there is already a full-price
offer and a backup or two.
- Bottom line: The days
of super bargains on Big Island desirable properties are over.
We have been discovered. Big time. Big Island prices are beginning
to compare to prices on the other Islands now, where prices have
always been thought to be out of reach for all but the wealthy.
- If you happen to seek
something other than what the majority feels is "desirable,"
you're in luck. There are still lots of inexpensive homes and
lots out there in the rural areas and in areas that do not offer
the great views so important to most buyers these days. Our original
promise of homes for less than $100,000 still stands, at least
for now. And yes, you can even still find livable homes for half
- I would like to close
this update with my usual recommendation to all folks seeking
property in Hawai'i: Please don't even think about it if all
you are trying to do is cash in on escalating real estate values.
In Hawai'i, we practice a lifestyle called "aloha,"
and a huge part of this way of life is based in giving back to
the community. Coming to Hawai'i for the purpose of extracting
profit from others at the expense of the entire Island community
is the antithesis of aloha. We have personally observed a number
of people who have ventured into the Islands for no other reason
than to make a fast buck, and they never survive for long.
- Hawai'i has her way
of expelling people who are here for the wrong reasons, and those
are the folks with all the horror stories to tell their mainland
friends about how inhospitable it is here, and how they couldn't
make it here because of how the locals all hate haoles.
- If you feel called
here, if in your heart you know you must live here, if you already
live a life of aloha where you are now and are prepared to bring
that with you, welcome to Hawai'i!
- A hui hou!
- Skip Thomsen