Greetings from warm and sunny Kauai. The good weather that greeted
holiday visitors has continued well into January, warm clear
days and cool nights
Kauai and all of the islands are enjoying record visitor arrivals. The
first week of the year brought a 41% increase to the Garden
Island from 2011. The Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau
reports that Hawaii finished 2011 with the most crowded planes
to and from North America in history. The trend is likely to
continue with seats being added in many markets. Hawaiian
Airlines has announced a new non-stop morning flight from JFK to
Honolulu that will get travelers to Kauai on connecting flights
well before dark. The International market is also expected to
show a 16% percent increase in passenger capacity with newly
added flights from Asian and Australian cities. Canada will see
additional flights. Last year 152,000 Canadians visited the
islands, almost as many as U.S. visitors from the East Coast.
Have you seen “The Descendants” starring George Clooney that was filmed
on Kauai and on Oahu? Frequent visitors will recognize some old
haunts and familiar sites. One of my clients said he nearly fell
out of his theater seat when the camera panned his condo complex
in Princeville. Hopefully, the award winning movie will
encourage even more visitors to come to Kauai.
On the restaurant scene, the new restaurant RED SALT in Poipu has
caught on to rave reviews. It has even attracted some regular N.
Shore golfers who think they know a thing or two about good
eating. Tahiti Nui in Hanalei was featured in “The Descendants”.
One actor noted in his lines that the Nui with its good eating
and entertainment was his all-time favorite.
The Prince Golf Course has scheduled its reopening for early March,
about nine months behind schedule. Management stated in a press
release that it wanted the new greens to “season” before
commencing play. In other news, the lagoon pool at the Hanalei
Bay Resort is set to reopen after having been closed for repairs
and upgrades. Repairs are soon underway on the restaurants.
On the real estate front, sales are up and prices are down. The Kauai
Board of Realtors reported that in 2011, 352 homes were sold on
the island at an average price of $556,000. This represents an
18% decrease in sales price from the previous year. Currently
the local MLS documents 502 homes on the market giving the
island an absorption rate of about a year and a half. The condo
market also showed an increase in volume with 255 units sold at
an average price of $316,000, a 9% price drop over 2011.
These price reductions can, of course, be attributed to the economy in
general, an abundance of short sales and a few
foreclosures primarily on newer properties that were first sold
in 2005 and 2006. Many of these were picked up by bargain
hunters. Although there are fewer of these distressed
properties still on the market, their presence has kept market
prices lower. Economists anticipate that we will see both an
increase in volume as and a small upward movement in prices in
2012. We are already seeing some of this now with buyers
here for the winter moving into the market.
Comparables over the years show that we are selling at about 2004
prices. For those who take a mortgage, rates are now being
locked at 4% for a primary residence on a fixed rate 30 year
note. Vacation and second home rates are a little higher. The
purchase of land is also lower here on Kauai. With the cost of
new construction exceeding that of existing homes, land sales
have lagged; however, one can now purchase a beautiful
residential lot in Princeville for under $300,000. Some forested
ten acre estate parcels in rural areas have sold for less than a
half million. With these low prices and contractors now
willing to discount their work, a new home may not be out of
sight for those who want to design and build their own place.
It can be confusing and daunting for visitors from the mainland or
elsewhere to understand our history, figure out the nuances of
the local real estate market, and locate that property that is
right for them. As your realtor, this is where I come in. I
will help you understand our market, find that property that
meets your wants and needs and help you negotiate a good price.
To get started, check out my website where you can search the
Kauai MLS. Click on
www.joewilliamshawaii.com. Please call or e-mail before you
come over so we can get to work for you before you arrive.
A belated Happy New Year and may 2012 be your best ever.