Update for September, 2009
September 19, 2009
Not much new to report for September, 2009. The "recession" appears to be easing here as across the rest of the country, housing prices are still dropping in some areas, but as usual in Hawaii, this is dictated largely by the local supply and demand. In the huge subdivisions where there are many homes and lots for sale, the prices are still dropping smoewhat and the sales are slow. High inventory and low demand are not a good combination.
Hilo home prices seem to have stabilized and there are very few homes on the market. Some of this is no doubt because even those who would like to sell are hanging in for a while longer hoping for a higher price. All indications are that they will be rewarded in this way come next summer.
Which means it's still a good time to buy, no matter where you wish to be here, as prices are low and mortgage interest is again coming down. The caveat is that you need an excellent credit rating, and unless you know some terrific tricks, 100% mortgages are a thing of the past. Plan on having a minimum of 10% down, and know that very low down payments normally result in higher mortgage interest and/or "points."
Another (old) issue that is ongoing and getting worse is the coqui infestation. The rate at which these infestations spread is nothing short of astounding. There are no coqui predators, so the rule the environment. Places where we would hear one or two a few months ago are now thoroughly infested.
Some communities are keeping them under control and doing a good job of it. But this takes a community effort, and even one or two residents who don't care can make thing very difficult for everyone else. We are fortunate in that all of our immediate neighbors are willing to either put in the effort to do the control themselves or to have someone else do it for them. But "control" means an ongoing effort to take care of each infestation as it occurs.
The methods include hand-capturing, hand spraying every time a new frog makes its presence known, or volume spraying a whole area if there are more frogs than can be dealt with one-at-a-time.
Used to be, we all thought that the other Islands would do a better job of keeping the coqui out, but they are now everywhere. All of the Islands have so much inaccessible area that is perfect breeding grounds for coqui that it is impossible to get rid of them now. Short of some kind of miracle, or perhaps some creative scientist coming up with a way to sterilize them, they are now a permanent part of the scene.
An interesting note is that some the coqui drive some people nuts, yet others claim they either don't hear them anymore or some even say they enjoy the "tropical night sounds." We have a rental house that is surrounded by coqui "tropical night sounds," and our tenants there are among those who like the coqui.
So again and as with all other aspects of Island Living as applies to Hawaii, you need to feel it all for yourself. If you think you would like to live here, rent a home for a while and explore all the very different micro-climates, cultural and weather differences, and take the time to really feel what it will be like to live with all you experience.
The Fourth Edition of Affordable Paradise is now shipping. Updated to all the current Island data and still only $12.95! Or get it at a discount on Amazon! Please make sure that wherever you order the book, they are shipping the Fourth Edition.
The Third Edition is sold out, but there are still some around at many of the venues that sell books, online and otherwise.
Today is another beautiful, warm and sunny day in Hilo!
Much Aloha!
You are also welcome to check in to the Affordable Paradise Blog and talk story about your concerns. You can read some of the many postings there and learn from the conversations of others, too. You can also go on konaweb.com and punaweb.org and either participate in the discussions or just eavesdrop for a while!
We wish you all the best, and never forget to
Please Live Aloha!
Mahalo for "listening."
Skip Thomsen & Ohana
Updated 7/5/09