“Lack of inventory” was not a phrase heard with respect to the Kohala Coast resort market during the 15 years I have been selling resort condos on the Big Island. Even during the mid-2000ʻs boom, there were new projects like the Haliʻi Kai and Kolea condos I sold for the developer in Waikoloa Beach Resort and competing projects such as Ka Milo and Kulalani at Mauna Lani Resort, and Waiʻulaʻula at Mauna Kea Resort.
A year ago, prospective buyers told me they were waiting for the “deals” they predicted when resort condo owners who had suffered during the months when the restrictions on travel to Hawaiʻi prohibited owners from renting to vacationers started dumping their condos. I doubted we would see many buying opportunities, but I thought the recovery in the medium term would be modest.
My prediction of a modest recovery proved wrong. Prices are climbing dramatically as bidding wars ensue. I have buyer clients coming to town week after week with nothing to sell them. Other clients are taking a break, exhausted after submitting multiple unsuccessful offers. Just to memorialize this unique moment, here are some statistics.
Condo Listing Statistics: Active, In Escrow, Sold Year-to-Date
As I write this in the last week of April 2021, the statistics make me blink twice. You might first read my post with statistics from two months ago, and envision how quickly we are hitting a wall for sales.
- Waikoloa Beach Resort. Fifteen active listings priced from $467,000 for a one-bedroom condo at the Shores to $2.2 million for a penthouse Kolea condo. 23 in escrow. 62 sales YTD, almost as many as the 68 condos sold in all of 2020.
- Mauna Lani Resort. Three active listings priced from $1,445,000 to a jaw-dropping ask of $$4.5 million for a 3-bedroom at Mauna Lani Point. 21 in escrow, 40 sales to date. Already the market is constrained by lack of inventory as there were 85 sales in 2020 with an average price point of less than $1 million.
- Mauna Kea Resort. Zero active listings. Zero. Three contingent, 13 sold to date. Total sales in 2020: 20 condos.
What Happens Next for the Resort Real Estate Market
While there will always be a trickle of new listings as owners decide to sell for “the usual reasons,” given the level of unmet demand for that trickle, the second half of the year looks like it will be a slow in volume, strong in pricing scenario. Exhausted agents will start planning vacations as they get vaccinated and travel options open up again.
Prospective Sellers – If you arenʻt quite ready to sell now but might be in the next year or so, take your time as even the expected rise in interest rates is not likely to have much impact on demand in the resort markets.
Prospective Buyers – If you donʻt already have a relationship with an agent or broker who is truly knowledgeable and well connected in the resort markets, this is a great time to develop one. Be polite and respectful of your relationship and donʻt stop communicating. Be sure you also have a relationship with a local lender if you plan to finance your purchase. You want to be top of mind and ready to strike when something comes along that fits your criteria.