Kauai Newsletter Winter 2012

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


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.