Kauai Newsletter Summer 2012

Joseph “Joe” Williams, RA
Century 21 All Islands
Princeville, HI 96722
Cell: 808 652 2984 
Fax: 808 826 9884



Are you on your way to Kauai? Visitors are arriving on the island in record numbers.  The average daily visitor count in the second quarter of 2012 is expected to be a 14 percent increase over last year.  The third quarter count will exceed the peak visitor numbers of 2007 according to the Office of Economic Development.  The boom in tourism is restoring jobs lost during the recession.  Retail sales are up by 9 percent in the second quarter and personal income is projected to be up 22 percent.  All of these indicators are positive for our island.

Thanks to these gains in tourism and its popularity as a Hollywood movie locale, Kauai is gaining more national recognition.  Barron’s just added Kauai as #2 in its 20 best places for vacation or second homes. The description of Kauai was that it “is quainter than Oahu, Maui, or The Big Island, and is the least developed of the major islands and the most reminiscent of South Pacific”.

New air service is making it easier to get to here.    Hawaiian Air just inaugurated its daily nonstop flight from Honolulu to JFK with code sharing by Jet Blue to other eastern cities. United has started a nonstop flight from Washington, DC to Honolulu.  Allegiant Air will soon inaugurate service to Honolulu from Las Vegas and seven mid-market cities in California, Washington and Oregon. Connecting flights to Kauai have never been easier. In fact over half of our visitors are spending all of their Hawaii vacation right here on the Garden Island.

Visitors to Kauai are unique in that most stay in condos (vacation rentals or timeshares rather than hotels) resulting in longer stays. Because of vacationers we have more restaurants and other amenities than most destinations of 65,000 people. Clients always ask for the best restaurants.  Just for fun, I researched what a variety of critics thought and came up with the following lists: Zagat’s – Kauai Grill (St. Regis), Merrriman’s, Roy’s, Red Salt, and Bar Acuda.  AOL Travel Guide – Duke’s, Hukilau, Roy’s, Hanalei Gourmet, and Kauai Pasta. Local writers – Hanalei Dolphin, Roy’s, Pomodoro, Postcards, and Kintaro’s.  My conclusion is that best restaurants are in the eye of the beholder.  Try some of these on your next visit.

Golf courses are all open for business.  Hanalei Bay Resort is upgrading its tennis program and has hired professionals to manage it. A new pro from Turtle Bay will oversee a tennis school, tournaments, and youth programs for guests and the local community.  Planning continues for a new exercise facility on the North Shore. Stay tuned on that one.

For those who like statistics, data from Hawaii Information Service reveals a continuing pattern of market improvement for Kauai real estate. Through May 31, the number of home sales on the island increased by 16% over the same period in 2011. Condo sales remained the same; however, in tourist areas the number of sales increased dramatically.   The median sales price for a home on Kauai was $452,000 while island wide condo prices averaged $285,000. There were variations in prices in various land districts with higher prices in the Visitor Destination Areas that allow vacation rentals.  Median selling prices in the Hanalei district showed a 15% increase in homes and a 23% increase in condos.

Market forecasters predict an 8% increase in real estate sales for the year and another similar increase for next year. For those who are looking for the bottom of the market, you just missed it!  However, prices are still low and land sales have lagged way behind, leaving a number of “best buys” out there.   At the moment, our Kauai real estate inventory is a little over 4 months compared with over 20 months just a short time ago.

With 30 year fixed mortgage rates now less than 3.75% Kauai housing is actually more affordable than in 2004 when prices were similar. Rates then averaged around 7%. Remember a 1% increase in interest rates is roughly equal to a 10% price hike.

If you are coming out this summer, let’s get in touch and “talk story’’ about Kauai. As an old coach once said to his players before a big game, “Where else would you rather be than right here, right now?”