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Kohala Ranch Homes – Real Estate Market Update 2012

In looking at residential real estate sales at the gated Kohala Ranch community, the first striking feature of the market is how consistent the pace of sales and the level of inventory has been: 9 homes sold in 2010, 10 sales in 2011, and 6 completed sales with 2 homes in escrow for 2012.  

There are currently 11 Kohala Ranch homes on the market, or just over one year’s supply. Digging a little deeper into the Kohala Ranch real estate statistics, the changing composition of the sales – both between the three sections of the Ranch and in price distribution – stands out. 

The decline of median sale price of homes makes one wonder whether we are nearing the bottom of the market. And yet, buried within those statistics is also a curiosity that the price for a particular type of home – a residence with newer construction, ocean view, and pool in the Heathers section of Kohala Ranch – could be firm to increasing.

Top of the line and top of the Ranch, 5 bedrooms on 11.8 acres offered for $2,400,000 (MLS# 256955)

Kohala Ranch Home Sales – One Market or Three?

Kohala Ranch offers at least three distinct lifestyle choices, hence in some ways is better thought of as three separate markets rather than one.

The gated Kohala Ranch subdivision covers 3,500 acres from its lower gate at an always-balmy 120′ above sea level, to its upper gate at around 3,000′ elevation on the Kohala Mountain Rd. The lower portion of the Ranch, known as the Heathers, has the highest proportion of built residences to vacant lots, and is the closest for buyers wanting the same climate as, and quick access to, the Kohala Coast resorts.  

Both the Heathers, and the upper portion of Kohala Ranch appropriately known as the Summit, have many homes built in the first wave of Kohala Ranch development in the early 1990’s. Often these homes are notable for some of the design features in vogue two decades ago, like extensive use of lava rock in interior design or a wetbar in the living room.

Ocean view riding arena already built on 12.9 acre vacant lot for sale at Kohala Ranch (MLS# 253098)

Because the Summit has the largest lots, over 10 acres in size, it boasts a number of estate-sized homes along with properties featuring equestrian facilities.

The mid-level section of known as the Meadows has mainly newer homes. This is also the windiest section of Kohala Ranch and a cooler climate than the Heathers, hence fewer of the homes in the Meadows have swimming pools, for example.

Kohala Ranch Median Sales Price Reflects Factors Other Than Market Conditions

These lifestyle and home style factors are also reflected in the price distribution of sales.

In 2011, the Kohala Ranch residential sales breakdown was as follows:

  • Heathers – 4 sales with price range of $998,000 – $1,925,000
  • Summit – 2 sales with price range of $1,060,000 (REO) – $1,250,000
  • Meadows – 4 sales with price range of $630,000 – $1,400,000

Kohala Ranch home sales for 2012 break down as follows:

  • Heathers – 6 sales with price range of $625,000 (REO) – ? (two homes in escrow with asking prices of $1,497,000 and $1,650,000)
  • Summit – No homes on the market in 2012
  • Meadows – 2 sales with price range of $550,000 – $940,000

While one can quote a median sales price decline for all of Kohala Ranch of almost 14%, from over $1.1 million to just under $1 million, it is likely that represents a shift in the mix of homes sold more than an accurate measure of decline in market value for a particular type of home.

Kohala Ranch Real Estate Market Looks Stable for Desirable, Non-distressed Properties

This home in the Heathers tucked into a 1.8 acre lot is listed for $950,000 (MLS# 255098)

The average sales price of around $1 million for an “average” Kohala Ranch home masks the big news for buyers that while it has been possible in the past two years to buy into Kohala Ranch at a price around $600,000, that era may have ended. There is only one home listed at $689,000 (MLS# 256385) and the only other listing price under $1 million is at $950,000 (MLS# 255098) –  a great buy for a home in the Heathers.

Setting aside the aggressive pricing we’ve seen from banks wanting to move their REOs (real estate owned after foreclosure), we have an excellent indicator of much more modest market price declines for non-distress sales at Kohala Ranch. A house in the Heathers that sold in 2011 came back on the market and sold again in 2012 after the previous buyer’s plans unexpectedly changed. This home sold for $1,300,000 in 2011 and $1,275,000 in 2012 – a decline of around 2%.

This home had several factors putting it in the sweet spot: newer construction (2007) so no need for renovations; swimming pool; big ocean view; private 5-acres. My prediction for 2013 is that older homes in need of updating will need to take significant price reductions to move as some of them have spent years going on and off the market. Proper pricing and staging in some cases will find buyers for these diamonds in the rough. Remember – the only thing we can’t change about a home is its location, and the Heathers has the warm elevation and views many buyers prefer.

Call me if you would like a list of Kohala Ranch homes for sale organized by location.

A hui hou,

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

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