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Kohala (Hawi) Real Estate Market Improves in 2013

Since I live in Hawi, I sell both homes and vacant land in the neighborhood, broadly defined from the end of the road at Polulu, through the towns of Kapaau and Hawi, to the gated communities of lower North Kohala.  

In analyzing the real estate market, I tend to think of the gated communities just around the corner from Hawi at Puakea as still in the “Kohala” market, and the lower North Kohala communities as fitting in the Kohala Coast market. This blog post covers 2013 sales from Puakea east through Hawi and Kapaau, to Niuli’i near Pololu.

Sunrise at Pololu Valley

Sunrise at Pololu Valley – the most popular destination for first time visitors to Kohala

Healthy Pace of Sales in 2013 Portends Inventory Shortage in 2014

The number of homes sold in 2013 in Kohala was 50% higher than in 2012. From Puakea Bay Ranch to Niulii there were 48 residential sales, compared with 32 residential properties sold in 2012.

At the affordable end of the market, 29 out of the 48 home sales in Kohala in 2013 were under $350,000 – and 6 of these sold for less than $202,000. These are typically single wall construction, plantation-era homes on 15,000 square foot lots. In the middle range of the market, six homes were sold at prices above $350,000 but below $500,000.

Honomakau Rd House for Sale

Newer home on half-acre lot listed for $549,000, the median price for active listings (MLS# 269794)

The Kohala real estate picture already looks dramatically different at the start of 2014. While 35 homes sold below $500,000 in 2013, there are currently only 12 active listings in this price range. Only one is under $200,000; the new median price is $549,000.  

As in many markets across the U.S., North Kohala is experiencing a shortage of housing for sale. A four-month inventory of active listings means that prices are likely to trend upward, at least for the lower half of the price spectrum.

The market for homes in the $500,000 – $900,000 price range was up slightly, with 12 sales in 2013 compared with 10 in 2012. Typically, these are homes on smaller acreage. Two homes sold in Niulii in this price range. In the more rural neighborhoods above Hawi town, where lots are one to five-acres, two homes sold on Beers Rd., and one in neighboring Maliu Ridge.

The only sale in the Hawi area over $1 million in 2013 was a home at Puakea Bay Ranch that sold for $1,450,000.

Plantation House B&B for sale in Hawi

Back on the market for $1,848,000: authentic Plantation Manager’s House is a licensed B&B (MLS# 269488)

Distressed properties – either “short sales”or “REOs” (bank-owned after foreclosure) – represented a significant segment of the residential real estate market in Kohala in recent years. In 2011-2012 about two out of every five Kohala home sales involved a bank. In 2013, that dropped to only one out of five. There is not a single short sale or REO on the market at the present time!

Kohala Vacant Land Sales Continue to Climb

Sales of vacant land – from 15,000 sq. ft. residential building lots to larger ag-zoned acreage – were the big story in 2012, and an even bigger story in 2013. A total of 26 lots sold in 2013, versus 17 in 2012 and only 10 in 2011.

The price range was much narrower in 2013, from $139,000 to $725,000, whereas in 2012 the highest sale was an oceanfront parcel for $3.2 million!

New offerings proved popular. Three more lots sold in the new Kapua subdivision next to Takata Store; there is only one lot still available. Surety Kohala released 7 lots at the top of Kapaau Rd. (Waterworks) in December 2012. All seven sold quickly at prices from $180,000 for 1 acre to $600,000 for 44 acres. Many of the buyers were local; Mainland buyers could not get here quickly enough for these deals.

The other change in vacant land sales in 2013 was the renewed interest in gated communities. Two 20-acre lots sold in Puuepa Ranch (Lincoln Avenue Makai) for $460,000 each. Three 10-acre lots sold in Puakea Bay Ranch for under $300,000 each. And a 20-acre lot sold at Ranch at Puakea for $646,000.

The highest priced sale of raw land in 2013 was actually a bank-owned property, 66 acres entered via Maliu Ridge, for $750,000.

Of the three vacant lots in escrow at the start of 2014, two of them are small, foreclosed properties – one on Omachi Road and one in Maliu Ridge. The other is a regular sale of the last developer lot at Puuepa Ranch.

Ocean Maui view from Maliu RIdge lot for sale

View from lowest priced lot at Maliu Ridge, 1 acre for $260,000 (MLS# 259467)

There are 34 active land listings in Kohala, but with a distribution very different than last year’s sales. The median price of land sold last year was only $299,000, while the median price of active listings is $795,000. In fact, the only listings below last year’s average are the remaining Kapua lot, a Hawi town lot, 2 acres on Kahei Road, and a Maliu Ridge lot.

Two new subdivisions are pending final subdivision approval. The Hawi Nani subdivision will have 5 lots, 20 acres and more, priced in the $600-700,000 range. The Mahi’ai subdivision, makai of the new library, will have 10 lots of 2-3 acres, priced from $285,000.

Halaula 100 acres for sale with ocean view

New listing of 100 acres between Akoni Pule Highway and Pratt Road (MLS# 265298)

Other new offerings on the market include very large parcels for the rancher, farmer, or a family compound, such as my listing of 485 acres in historic Makapala (MLS# 263044) for $3.5 million, and a 100-acre parcel of rolling pasture in the Halaula area past Kapaau town (MLS# 265298) listed for $1,675,000.

Happy New Year!

Beth Thoma Robinson, R(B)
Direct: 808.443.4588
Email: beth@hawaiilife.com

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