Note: I am helping the West Hawaii Association of Realtors with information about the housing market in West Hawaii. I wrote this story for the Association and wanted to share it here for my readers. I think part of living in Hawaii is understanding the local housing market. I hope you find it useful!
The Kailua-Kona housing market showed another year of gains in 2011. After the dismal losses from 2007-2009, the market gained in 2010 and 2011 and seems to be on a slow upswing.
Lance Owens, Aloha Kona Realty, compiled the year-end statistics for Kailua-Kona, which covers Hualalai to Kainaliu. “Single family home sales were up 8.9% for the year and condo sales were up 6.21% for the year. Interesting to note, condo home sales were up 85% in 2010 up from -9.84% in 2009”, Owens noted. “The median price for a single family home in North Kona in December was $371,000, in South Kona it was $315,000, in South Kohala $335,000 and in North Kohala the median price was $497,000”, he stated.
“We have to go back to 2006 to find a better year for single family and condo sales in Kona for number of units sold.” Mr. Owens stated.
In terms of who is buying the homes right now in Kona, Mr. Owens pulled up home sales for November and found that out of 32 homes sold, 15 were Kailua Kona residents, six were from California and the remainder were mixed among the mainland residents.
Overall for 2011, the local housing market performed well, with a healthy market with an 8.9% gain in home sales, compared to national average of 12.2%.
Owens noted that we had a moderate increase in 2011 and projects the market to behave similarly in 2012. “The current affordability is at a very high level in Kona proper. I have seen newly built homes in the $370k range, which is a great deal for families looking to get into the market. This year, look for short sales to continue, so there will be deals to be found, and the foreclosure market is still tied up in the courts due to Act 48.”
Katie Minkus, Broker for Hawaii Life Real Estate and 2012 President of the West Hawaii Association of Realtors, said, “I know for certain we’ve passed the bottom of the market in places such as the resorts, especially in projects with limited inventory such as Hali’i Kai, the Villages at Mauna Lani, etc.”
Speaking on the foreclosure market, Minkus said, “Act 48, which is holding up all the foreclosures in court, has contributed to a huge increase in short sales over the past six months, and an equal decline in REO sales. In the areas with decreased inventory, we have already seen prices rise especially as the distressed property is being sold through. Sellers have no need to sell at “distressed property prices.”
Personally, at Hawaii Life, we’ve put 24 transaction sides into escrow since Thanksgiving, which is by far the most I’ve seen this time of year in forever. Last year it was less than 10 in the same time frame”, she stated. Asked about the near future of the local housing market, Minkus said, “I’m feeling VERY bullish about the 1st half of 2012.”
Altos Research, a real estate data company, shows the median price trend of homes in the Kona area declined in July and have trended back up to $556,300 as of January 3, 2012.