More Important Things than Real Estate
September 17, 2006
These Updates have been focusing on real estate prices, because about two years ago Hawaii Island (and the whole State, as well) has been experiencing a rather dramatic escalation in the prices of homes and land. As I explained in my last Update, the prices have pretty much stabilized now, so we can lighten up on the whole issue.
In a nutshell, prices Statewide have dropped from the peak a few months ago, but an explanation is in order. Prices of premium properties (like oceanfront, killer-ocean-view) remain high, but the prices in the Big Island subdivisions have dropped quite a bit. This is due in part to the spec-house builders who got on a roll and didn't pay attention to what was going on. They kept on building all these nearly identical tract houses and now there's a huge inventory of brand-new houses with few buyers. Now is a very good time to pick up a real bargain in these properties. Don't be afraid to make seriously low offers on a number of properties, because some of the sellers are very seriously in need to moving inventory.
Hilo prices dropped a little from their peak, but they remain stable now because there isn't that much inventory. Some Realtors like to tell us that there's lots of inventory, and there are quite a few homes listed for sale in Hilo. But careful observation will show that most of them have been for sale for some time now, and there's always a good reason. One reason is that some sellers haven't gotten up to speed with what's happening and still think they're going to get peak-time prices for their homes. NOT!
The other reasons are location, condition, overpricing, or other circumstances. Any Hilo homes that go on the market priced reasonably sell quickly.
One more thing and we're done with real estate prices. If you're interested in Hamakua Coast properties, now is a good time to buy. Those properties doubled - and even tripled - in price during the frenzy, and we're seeing them back down reasonable levels again.
And now, again, we're back to the subject of LIVING ALOHA.
Things are changing fast here. Exponentially. So fast that even those of us who live right here in the middle of it can see it happen on a daily basis.
When a population expands rapidly for any reason, change is inevitable. In our Island culture, the change goes beyond just adding people. We're adding people from a different culture: Mainland Culture.
This is not in itself a bad thing, but what it is doing is diluting our Island Culture. Used to be, we'd see some of the new Mainland folks struggling with the way things are done here and trying in vain to make things happen mainland style.
With more and more Mainland people arriving every day, it's only a matter of time before we reach that critical mass -- when there will be enough pressure to move to mainland ways that it actually starts to happen.
So what, you ask, is my point? Just this: Please, please, please, do not bring those mainland ways to Hawaii! If you feel you must move to Hawaii but you need to live a mainland lifestyle, Honolulu might suit your needs.
The Big Island is a place of peaceful co-existence. It is a slow-moving place, where things happen at their own pace and any effort to ramp things up to mainland speed will in most cases bring only frustration and ill feelings from everyone involved.
On the other hand, if you are one of those who is already "living aloha" no matter where you live, and if you can come here and fully embrace the Hawaiian Culture and recognize that the local folks here are your hosts, this might just be your paradise.
It is certainly ours!
Live Aloha!
Mahalo for "listening."
Skip Thomsen & Ohana
Updated 1/20/2006