I wrote a post about current real estate conditions on the Big Island of Hawaii, and specifically West Hawaii this week and I posted it on my 365 Things to Do in Kona page. Lots of fans enjoyed the helpful information. Except for one person. And maybe that one person may speak for quite a few.
That person basically said, “Stop encouraging people to move here. We don’t want to end up like Oahu!” I have heard this sentiment repeated after each time I do any publicity online for my book, about how to move to Kona. And now with my real estate update posts. Today hit a chord.
Living in Silicon Valley for quite a few years, I was involved in something called the Greenline Initiative. It basically stopped housing from being built on the hills to preserve the skyline for future generations. I am NOT pro-development. A Realtor friend of mine, who knew how anti-development I was, said, “Oh, I see. You move here and shut the door to everyone behind you. Is that fair?” I saw his point.
The interesting thing about West Hawaii in particular, is that they are not building that many new homes. They just aren’t. The recession took its toll on developers and construction costs have ballooned. This has led to a very tight housing supply, both to own and to rent. Prices are increasing because the supply and demand are off. This is happening all over the country right now, but on an island, our island, you feel it even more. I checked the rental availability this week on CraigsList. Dismal.
However, people continue to leave the island, and new people fill up those spaces. We don’t have new high rises going up. We don’t have acres and acres of land being turned into high density housing. Which brings me to my point.
Should We Allow Others To Live on The Big Island?
We are not going to be like Oahu, or even Maui. There is a plan for this island and that plan says 70% will remain undeveloped. I wrote a post about it. Of course, having large parts of the island covered in fresh lava, kept for open ranch land, some on national park land and large parcels forever to be used as farming, there is not much left for housing. So, telling people that you have your spot on the sand, with your beach umbrella and your dreams fulfilled, but no one else gets to dip their toes in the water nearby, is not fair.
I recently had a woman reach out to me and say that the call to the Big Island has become a constant hum in her life. She can’t figure out how to make moving to the island work and yet the call persists. She doesn’t have an idea of how she will make it work, but she wants to bring her healing techniques to the island. These are the kinds of people that want to live here. Sure, there may be second home owners, who can only sample life here, but they make it possible for others to come and enjoy the island, boost the economy and lend their energy to the island, too.
Note: the Auntie who posted on Facebook clarified that what she meant was that new people always want to change things, for instance, widen the roads so they can go faster. I get it! However, many people just don’t want more people on the island. When we say, “YOU DON’T GET TO HAVE SOME OF WHAT I HAVE” it just creates a negative energy circle. An older gentleman in his 80s shared with me a story about how the Hawaiians welcomed everyone who came to Hawaii onto their beaches. They said the land was not theirs. It did not belong to anyone. It belonged to Pele and was for the enjoyment of this generation and all the generations forward who respected the Aina. Private property rights brought about in the Great Mehele changed much of that, but the spirit of sharing the land to those who respect it still remain.
As many of you are aware, there is a large amount of turnover on this island. People come, and for a myriad of reasons, can’t stay. They had their adventure and they leave space for someone else to taste what we have here. It’s part of life on the island. Let’s remember our Aloha and yes, be vigilant that the quality of life is not diminished here, but to still be open to allowing new people to experience life here.