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A Kohala Girl Looks at Luxury Kona Real Estate – 2011 Edition

A year ago, I found myself with real estate clients who were not sure whether they wanted to buy in one of the residential communities along the Kohala Coast (like Kohala Ranch or Kohala by the Sea), or a similar upscale neighborhood nearer to Kailua-Kona.

I wrote a summary of how it seemed the North Kohala and Kona real estate markets compared in summer 2010. My teammate, Erik Hinshaw, R(S) was prescient in saying the price point just under a million was heating up in Kona and that the properties in it compared with what was listed for $1.1-$1.2 million up north. That price point sold strongly in Kona over the past 12 months with two dozen properties finding new owners.

This summer, there are properties in North Kohala that a year ago were for sale at prices over $1 million, now in escrow after price reductions to that $800K-$900K range…probably to buyers who lost out on the deals in Kona! We’ve seen multiple offers on properties and frustrated buyers coming to town only to find that half the homes on their shopping list have disappeared while they were en route.

Three weeks, three sets of clients, and target price points of $1-$2 million…conclusion: pickings are slim in North Kohala at the moment, but there are stand-out homes for sale in both the Kohala and Kona luxury real estate markets.

Here are my picks:

Bayview Estates

All three of my clients were attracted to this gated community next to the golf courses of the Kona Country Club with its big ocean views and convenient location near Keauhou Shopping Center. There are currently only six homes for sale at Bayview Estates (with another having gone into escrow while we looked).

Both of my favorites were built by a contractor who lives at Bayview. I always think this is a plus for buyers, who will have access to the builder if they want to make any changes to their home. Both have lots with a bit of elevation compared with parcels below, helping to maintain those fabulous ocean views.

Price just reduced on this Bayview Estates home (MLS# 245338), a real value at $1,199,000

1. My first “best buy” choice among the homes for sale in Kona’s Bayview Estates (MLS# 245338) was made even more compelling as its price was reduced $100,000 the day before our visit. My clients loved the fact that it sits at the top of a cul-de-sac with no home directly below and the neighbor on one side being a vacant lot bought by the owner above for his view-plane protection!

They also raved about the quality of materials, including the choice of limestone rather than travertine for the flooring. This residence is ideal as a low-maintenance second home with very little landscaping thanks to the 1,400 sq. ft. of lanai and pool deck.

The big ocean view is behind, this view of golf and open space to the side—Bayview Estates home for sale (MLS# 245738) at $1,695,000

2. The top-of-the-line among Bayview Estates homes for sale gets the lifestyle right: pocket doors open the home to the large lanai and pool for seamless indoor-outdoor living. The kitchen has all the bells and whistles, including that built-in espresso machine and the lanai has its own Viking “summer kitchen.” A separate fourth bedroom ‘ohana guest cottage offers privacy.

I was at Hualala Resort last night reviewing the inventory of homes for sale by brokers unaffiliated with Hualalai Realty, and in many ways, this home reminded me of a scaled down version of them.

This Kailua-Kona home (MLS# 245968) has the features and finishes the builder uses at Hualalai Resort, listed at only $1,575,000

3. Speaking of Hualalai Resort and contractors, my third pick in the Kona market is a home built by a contractor for himself who builds homes at Haulalai…although this home is just above the town of Kailua-Kona at what many consider a perfect elevation on the way up Hualalai Rd. to Holualoa.

The only thing a buyer would need to do is finish the pool. The MLS photos of this property do not do it justice, but it is easy to see in person that with a Monier tile roof, ohia posts, an outdoor kitchen, travertine throughout, Venetian plaster wall finish, and a huge media room with the house wired for sound, this home is priced below replacement cost at $1,575,000 for 3,190 sq. ft.

Two of my clients have longer visits scheduled for this coming winter and have decided to wait until then to purchase. Here’s hoping the choices are as appealing then as they are right now!

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Erik Hinshaw

August 6, 2011

Great choices Beth. It really is getting hard find great homes with the dwindling inventory. Unless a bunch of new homes come on the market this winter it will be slim pickings.

Erik Hinshaw

August 6, 2011

Great choices Beth. It really is getting hard find great homes with the dwindling inventory. Unless a bunch of new homes come on the market this winter it will be slim pickings.

Pam Deery R(B) Big Island

August 8, 2011

No surprise that the homes in Kohala Ranch and neighboring Kohala By the Sea and the Kohala Waterfront have also adjusted to lower price points of $900,000 – $1.6 ml as an average where you could not find a home on acreage 2-3 years ago for anywhere near that price! In my opinion, the difference is convenience vs. density.

Pam Deery R(B) Big Island

August 8, 2011

No surprise that the homes in Kohala Ranch and neighboring Kohala By the Sea and the Kohala Waterfront have also adjusted to lower price points of $900,000 – $1.6 ml as an average where you could not find a home on acreage 2-3 years ago for anywhere near that price! In my opinion, the difference is convenience vs. density.

Beth Thoma Robinson R(B)

August 8, 2011

@ Erik,I agree with you…and it may be just like what we’ve seen at the resorts, with the next round of sellers asking significantly more than the last sales
@ Pam, convenience vs density is exactly how the buyers define the difference too. Do you want to be 5 minutes from a movie theater? Or do you want to have no neighbors in hearing distance?

Beth Thoma Robinson R(B)

August 8, 2011

@ Erik,I agree with you…and it may be just like what we’ve seen at the resorts, with the next round of sellers asking significantly more than the last sales
@ Pam, convenience vs density is exactly how the buyers define the difference too. Do you want to be 5 minutes from a movie theater? Or do you want to have no neighbors in hearing distance?

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