Thursday, December 31, 2009

Hawaii Kai Locations Need Volunteers for Whale Census

The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary is seeking volunteers to help with its annual count of humpback whales. The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary lies within the shallow warm waters surrounding the main Hawaiian Islands and constitutes one of the world's most important humpback whale habitats. Through education, research, and resource protection activities, the sanctuary strives to protect humpback whales and their habitat in Hawai`i.

Volunteers will count humpback whales around the islands over a four-hour period and record their behavior. This year, the Sanctuary Ocean Count will be conducted at more than 60 different shore sites around O'ahu, Kaua'i, and the Big Island.

Counts will be held on the last Saturday of January, February, and March, from 8 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. For O'ahu, call 397-2651 ext. 253. Online registration for the islands of Hawai'i and O'ahu is available at

Locations in Hawaii Kai include Makapu'u Lighthouse Trail, Halona Blowhole, and Palea Point in Hanauma Bay.

Visit Hawaii Humpback Whale at NOAA to learn more.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Organic Beer comes to Hawaii Kai

Kona Brewing Company is set to tap up Oceanic Organic Saison, Hawaii’s first certified organic beer. The brewery received organic certification for the beer from Hawaii Organic Farmers Association (HOFA) and brewed it last month. The beer will be served on tap at Kona Brewing Company’s two pubs in Kailua-Kona and Hawaii Kai and at a few select Hawaii restaurants locations, by early January. Soon after, the beer will be available in 22-ounce bottles.

“We are ecstatic to be brewing the first certified organic beer in the state of Hawaii,” said president and CEO Mattson Davis. “We strive to be environmentally conscious in all that we do – from serving locally grown organic produce whenever possible to feeding Big Island cattle the spent grain from our brewing process. We’re proud that both our pubs recently became Certified Green Restaurants by the Green Restaurant Association. We have improved our efficiencies here in Hawaii and beyond in order to minimize our carbon footprint.”

According to the press release, Oceanic Organic Saison is a Belgian-style ale that was brewed with all organic malt, fermented with a custom blend of Belgian yeast strains and spiced with an abundance of organic hops, organic coriander and grains of paradise. The straw-colored unfiltered beer has a crisp, dry, quenching flavor and distinctive spicy aroma with notes of lemon peel, clove, white pepper, coriander and fresh hops complemented by pleasant cellar-like notes. The complex aroma is balanced by rustic hop flavor.

Kona Brewing Company chose to obtain its certification through HOFA, thereby supporting a local nonprofit organization and keeping business in Hawaii. HOFA is accredited by the USDA National Organic Program to certify organic crop, livestock and processing / handling operations. It is the only accredited organic certification agency based in Hawaii. Brewing this organic beer is roughly six times more expensive than most of Kona Brewing Company’s more conventional beers, which are already approximately 50 percent more expensive to brew in Hawaii than on the mainland.

The beer ompany was started in the spring of 1994 by a father and son team who had a dream to create fresh, local island brews made with spirit, passion and quality. It is a Hawaii-born and Hawaii-based craft brewery that prides itself on brewing the freshest beer of exceptional quality, closest to market. This helps to minimize its carbon footprint by reducing shipping of raw materials, finished beer and wasteful packaging materials.

The Kona Brewing Company pub in Hawaii Kai is a very popular local gathering place. Stop by next year and try the new beer, and look around at our real estate buying opportunities while you visit Hawaii Kai. Contact me when you are ready to preview properties or want information on Hawaii Kai homes for sale.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

(resource: press release, Hawaii 24/7)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Click for a Cause in Hawaii Kai

The holiday season makes me think of less fortunate folks who need our help. Use your computer and make a difference with a click of a mouse at these sites (no purchase necessary): the site donates about a penny per search to any one of 83,000 nonprofits you choose. partners with more than 1,000 retailers, donating up to 30% of the purchase price to the cause of your choice. the site feeds the hungry as you build your vocabulary. For every word you define correctly, this UN-World Food Programme site donates 10 grains of rice to countries coping with hunger. This has amounted to 68 billion grains of rice so far. the site gives food to dogs in shelters when you correctly answer a daily trivia question. same for kitties.

Breast Cancer site: click to give a free mammogram.

I put the icons on my desktop and click throughout the day - put it right on top or next to one you use every day, then you won't forget. If there are others I should add to this list, please comment on the blog or email me so we can spread the aloha around the world.

Happy Holidays,

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Island Dog Supports Hawaii Kai Dogs

Island Dog, a quarterly print magazine which just celebrated two years of publishing, supports dogs island-wide, but is a great resource for Hawaii Kai dog owners. Their online version only hints at the great information inside the magazine, which you can find at these locations.

The publication has "gone green" - recycled paper and soy-based ink help create a smaller carbon footprint.

In case you are out walking your pet in our beautiful holiday weather (remember, it's snowing in a large part of the rest of the country), here is a list from Island Dog of Oahu Dog Parks:

Bark Park
Diamond Head Road and 18th Avenue
Open daily during daylight hours

Hawaii Kai Dog Park
Next to Hawaii Kai Park & Ride
Open daily daylight hours

McInerny Dog Park
Hawaiian Humane Society
2700 Waialae Ave.

Mililani Dog Park
Mililani Mauka District Park at Park & Ride
95-1069 Ukuwai Street
Open daily during daylight hours
Closed Wednesday mornings for maintenance

Moanalua Dog Park
Moanalua Community Park, off Pu'uloa Rd.
Open daily during daylight hours
Closed Tuesday mornings until noon for maintenance

Visit the pet page on my web site for Hawaii Kai and island pet news and links. See you at the Hawaii Kai dog park -

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Thursday, December 10, 2009

FHA 203K Program can Help You Buy a Home in Hawaii Kai

Have you found a home in Hawaii Kai you'd love to buy but didn't have the finances to purchase and renovate? Consider the 203K Program. The FHA Section 203K program is specifically designed to rehabilitate and repair single-family homes, 1-4 unit multi-family properties, and mixed-use real estate with funds used for the residential portion . The 203K is a single mortgage loan that provides funds to purchase a home and make repairs and improvements.

In many cases, homes that would qualify for the 203K loan are in nice areas but have aesthetic problems. This program—because the home improvements are built into the loan—opens the whole market to the average home buyer.

From Lowe's (a 203K Home Improvement Specialist) web site, here are some of the 203K benefits:
  • Only 31/2% down payment required, which can be gifted by family members
  • More flexible qualification requirements allow those with less than perfect credit to purchase a home at competitive rates
  • A single loan for both purchase and improvement of your home means you make only one loan application and pay one set of closing costs – saving you time and money
  • FHA loans are assumable and there are no prepayment penalties
  • An FHA Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM) can allow you to qualify for a larger mortgage to add additional improvements that will lower your utility expenses
  • By including cost of renovation in your home mortgage, you pay for these improvements over time at a much lower interest expense than conventional alternatives
  • Rather than paying a premium for a home in “perfect” condition, take advantage of the great prices available on foreclosures or other homes on the market that are in need of repair or remodeling
  • Instead of paying for a previous owners improvements you may not desire, invest instead in exactly the features, colors, styles, etc. that suit your tastes and needs
  • Enjoy the opportunity to live in an up-to-date home in a great location closer to work, shopping, cultural activities and more

Visit Lowe's page of FAQs to learn how easy it is to get started with the 203K program.

Contact me to introduce you to a lender who can guide you through the mortgage process. I'll help you find the property. If you want a project - you don't have to do the work yourself - and see the great values available now in Hawaii Kai - contact me and let's get started.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Thursday, December 3, 2009

New Rules will Help Short Sale Process in Hawaii Kai

The Treasury Department has announced sweeping new rules which will help financially troubled homeowners who need to sell but can't get a price high enough to pay off their mortgages (a short sale). Homeowners will even get $1,500 to help cover their moving costs.

The plan is designed to help homeowners who don't have the income or debt levels to qualify for a loan modification under the Obama administration's $75 billion Making Home Affordable program. The plan establishes timelines, a standard process and documents, and cash incentives for participation, and is designed to accelerate the necessary agreements between lenders, real estate agents, buyers and sellers.

Short sales reduce the damage to the borrowers' credit record and save the lenders the cost of foreclosure. Short sales also help neighboring property values because the sales price is usually higher than what the house would fetch in a foreclosure auction.

About one in 10 home sales this year was a short sale, or an estimated 500,000 sales, according to the National Association of Realtors. About one in 10 home sales this year was a short sale, or an estimated 500,000 sales, according to the National Association of Realtors. In areas like Las Vegas, southern Florida and California, the ratio is far higher.

To qualify under the new guidelines:
• The property must be the homeowner's principal residence.
• The homeowner is delinquent on the mortgage or default looks likely.
• The loan was made before Jan. 1 this year and is less than $729,750.
• The borrowers' total monthly mortgage payment exceeds 31 percent of their before-tax income.

Mortgage companies don't have to launch the program until April 5, 2010, which may not help borrowers who are in default now. The program is also voluntary for lenders who hold second mortgages, such as home equity loans or piggyback loans. The Treasury Department has estimated that about half of homeowners in default have more than one loan on their properties.
While those other secondary debt holders can receive up to $3,000 to release their claims on the property, that may not be enough for larger creditors who would rather go after the borrower.

Even with its drawbacks, the new rules should substantially streamline the process and provide a lifeline to many sellers struggling with mortgage payments. Our Hawaii Kai foreclosure rate is lower than most areas of the island, but we have our share of sellers who do need help.

Contact me if you want to sell and find out how the short sale process works, and what you can reasonably expect for your property. Remember, you do have options to foreclosure.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Hawaii Kai Condo Market may face challenges

Proposed changes to a federal mortgage loan program that now accounts for a substantial number of all new home loans have Hawai'i lenders concerned that many condominiums in the state could become ineligible for such lending. The proposed changes stem from an effort by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to reduce fraud and risk in lending through the Federal Housing Administration.

The Mortgage Bankers Association of Hawaii fears that 545 Hawai'i condo projects will automatically lose their eligibility for FHA lending next year under revised rules proposed by the agency.

FHA loans are available for single-family home and condo purchases. For condos, the loans are limited to projects that meet certain requirements, such as those with no less than 50 percent of units occupied by owners, no more than 15 percent of units delinquent on association fees and no more than 10 percent of units owned by one investor. But in some cases these requirements haven't been reviewed after condos obtained initial FHA lending approval years or decades ago.

Under proposed rule changes, all condos automatically would be removed from FHA's approved lending list two years after a project was placed on the list. In Hawai'i, that would mean virtually every condo project on FHA's approved list, or 545 projects, would be removed.

The Mortgage Bankers Association of Hawaii had asked that previously approved condos in the state remain on the FHA's approved list for two years to allow time for more orderly reapprovals. Initially, the removal was slated to take effect Dec. 7 upon implementation of the new rules. However, recently the agency granted a grace period of one year before condos with old approvals will become ineligible for FHA loans unless they are reapproved.

Contact me for more information on how this proposed change may affect your purchase or sale of a Hawaii Kai condo.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

(resource: Honolulu Advertiser)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Hawaii Kai Real Estate Outlook for 2010

Home sales will increase 15 percent to about 5.7 million units and REALTOR® income will be up 20 percent in 2010, predicts NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. He credited the home buyer tax credit with stimulating sales on the lower-end of the housing market this year, bringing up to 400,000 first-time buyers into the market who wouldn't have bought otherwise. That influx tightened inventories of starter homes, shored up prices, and helped reduce households' fear over continuing price drops.

This cycle will continue now that the federal government has extended the credit to mid-2010 and expanded it to make a smaller credit available to repeat buyers and to households with higher incomes. “The key is stabilizing prices and preserving household wealth,” he says.

More applicable to Hawaii home prices, Yun predicts the supply of homes to stabilize at the historic norm of six to seven months. Homes above $500,000 will remain elevated in the near-term, but that weakness will be offset by a hefty drop in starter-home inventories, which are running at about a five months supply. The tightening inventory at all price points will help improve market performance by bringing supply into better balance with demand, but the added sales, particularly on the higher end, will also increase the number and quality of the market comparables used by appraisers to assign valuations. Once appraisals improve, foreclosures will ease, blunting their drag on the market and making it less likely that Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and even FHA will need help from the taxpayer.

The good news is that the 1st Time Buyer Tax Credit has been extended, and a Homeowner Tax Credit is now available. Contact me for details.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Real Estate Sales for October, 2009 in Hawaii Kai and Oahu

Plenty of homeowners and economists are happy with the news about October, as sales reached a 19-month high island-wide, as reported by our Honolulu Board of Realtors (HBR). Still fewer in number than the recent hooming years, volume continues to build from the low levels of late 2008 and early 2009. Condo sales as well as single family home sales increased.

The current rate of sales for both single-family homes and condominiums were both slightly up in October, which is truly encouraging in light of the current economy," said Sandra "Sam" Bangerter, president of the Honolulu Board of Realtors. "The median prices for single-family homes were up a bit and down for condominiums, but still within relatively stable price ranges. The first-time homebuyers federal tax credit has been helpful in raising buyer awareness."

There were 281 sales of single-family homes during October, or almost 16 percent more than a year earlier. It was the highest volume since March 2008, or 19 months.

  • The median price of single-family homes was $605,000. Although that was down from last October's median of $625,000, it marked a high point for this year. The median is the point where half of the prices are below and half are above.
  • There were 381 sales of condominiums, the most since May 2008, or 17 months.
  • The median condominium price was $295,000. That compared with the year earlier median of $325,000.

Kapahulu/Diamond Head, Kahala and Hawaii Kai posted their highest single-family home sales of the year.

In October, months of remaining inventory for single-family homes fell to 4.6 from the prior year's 9.8, according to the HBR. Likewise, remaining condominium inventory fell to 4.8 months from the year-ago 8.7 months, HBR said.

The Board publishes very extensive statistics for every community on Oahu. Contact me for your free copy.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Lunalilo Home in Hawaii Kai gets a MakeOver

Trustees, administrators, physicians and staff from The Queen's Medical Center spent last Saturday beautifying Lunalilo Home, the state's oldest elder-care facility. In keeping with the medical center's 150th anniversary, 150 volunteers painted interiors and exteriors, and did landscaping duties at the Hawaii Kai property.

"We do a lot of community service projects, but this was by far the most rewarding," said Queen's volunteer manager Beverly Parker. "I can't wait to see (the residents') faces when they see what we've done. Today was such a joy."

Medical director Dr. Gerard Akaka, who spent his morning stacking mulch and transporting it by wheelbarrow to landscapers, said he appreciated the chance to get his hands dirty.
"It was hard labor but it was very gratifying," he said. "Personally, I really enjoyed being able to give back to our kupuna and to support what this home stands for."

Organizers noted that it was King Lunalilo's bequeathal of lands (including the property on which the International Market Place now stands) to Queen Emma that enabled the queen to found and maintain The Queen's Medical Center.

Located at 501 Kekauluohi Street, King Lunalilo Home was established in 1883 as an adult residential care home facility by the will of King William Charles Lunalilo for native Hawaiian elderly. It was renovated in 2001 to house 42 residents. In 2004, Lunalilo Home expanded its services to include adult day care, temporary respite care and dietary services to senior citizens of all ethnic backgrounds. The King Lunalilo Adult Day Care Center is licensed for 44 participants.

In the spirit of Hawaii Kai Aloha, Lunalilo Home belongs to all residents. We are lucky to have an elder care facility so close.

If you have questions about other elder services available in Hawaii Kai or on Oahu, contact me for information on our lifestyle and resources.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

(resource: Honolulu Advertiser)

Hawaii Kai Falling Rocks not a Threat to Homes

There was quite a bit of concern among residents whose homes border the bottom slopes of Koko Crater after a large boulder sheared off a ridge on Feb. 6 of this year.

However, a consultant's geotechnical engineering report sent to the city Department of Design and Construction concluded that that boulder and associated smaller boulders that may have sheared off at the same time "do not present a hazard to downslope residences."

The consultant also looked at a boulder that tumbled down in 2003, and concluded that a ravine and roadway cut would prevent boulders from moving down to the homes. Many of you may remember the damage to homes in Lalea at that time, and the months spent building remediation measures. The real estate values in Lalea were not affected, however.

"The report does much to dispel the community fears about the rockslide," said Greg Knudsen, chairman of the Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board.

We live on a volcano, basically, on lava rock, so Pele and the forces shaping the island chain make themselves felt now and then. If you are concerned, contact me for a thorough analysis of real estate historical values in Hawaii Kai.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Hawaii Kai Foundation Offers Scholarships

The Maunalua Bay Foundation is offering college scholarships to East Honolulu high school students planning to attend a Hawaii college.

Students must be a senior from Kaiser or Kalani high schools, Honolulu Waldorf or a homeschool student to apply. The student must attend a Hawai university, community college or trade school. Applicants must submit a 500-word essay on "What Does It Mean To Care For Your Community." Winners will be announced at a Hawaii Kai Fourth of July fundraising event at Blue Water Grill on Nov. 20.

Independence Day at Maunalua Bay Foundation puts on its annual fireworks show and celebration at Maunalua Bay, which spans from Koko Head to Diamond Head. The annual event in Hawaii Kai is presented with the help of the community, for the community. It brings East Oahu’s restaurants, businesses and families out for a get-together with music for the soul in live entertainment, activities for keiki, good grindz and a booming, 20-minute pyrotechnic show that can be seen from Hawaii Kai to Black Point and beyond.

Independence Day at Maunalua Bay Foundation uses the event as a vehicle to raise money to assist students with the financial costs of college. The more money raised, the more scholarships the Foundation can give. So, come and celebrate with us and help a local student achieve his/her college dreams.

For more information write to, , get an application at one of the East Honolulu schools, or visit their website.

This is one more example of our Hawaii Kai Ohana. Contact me about enjoying our lifestyle as a resident or investor.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

New Survey Confirms how Healthy it is to Live in Hawaii Kai

Self magazine has ranked the "Top 100 Healthiest Cities For Women" in its most recent issue. The survey looks at 50 things like crime rate, air quality and access to health care, among other things that affect a woman's ability to live healthy.

Honolulu (and of course Hawaii Kai) ranked 3 out of 100 in 2008, and 6 out of 100 this year. Honolulu women have the list's lowest chance of dying of breast cancer and the second lowest for skin cancer—despite living in a place with 271 sunny days a year. Lung, colon and ovarian cancer deaths are also relatively rare.

The magazine quotes Tiffany Coke, 32, a high school math and physics teacher in Honolulu. "We eat tons of seafood and very little red meat, and instead of chips and salsa, our standard party snack is poke, a Hawaiian raw tuna dish."

Also, women in Hawaii get plenty of disease-preventing exercise, and walk and bike to work twice as often as the national average.

What's healthy in Honolulu is even better in Hawaii Kai - less traffic, less noise, easier access to bike riding, running, and water sports. Come visit our healthy island - you will want to stay and invest in one of the real bargains available now for buyers. Contact me for a free Relocation Package for Hawaii Kai.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Disney Resort at Ko Olina on West Oahu under Construction

Yes, Hawaii's first Disney Resort is under way, as the 3rd floor starts to take shape. The company has made a $800 million commitment to the islands, planning to complete the 1st phase in 2011 and eventually employ 1,000 people at the 21-acre oceanfront resort.

Hawaii's tourism industry has suffered with the global economic slump, so the investment certainly offers hope for increased visitor arrivals and dollars.

Disney plans to blend Hawaiian culture into its magical kingdom. A big part of the job for Disney's top man in Hawai'i, Djuan Rivers, is building community ties and spending time learning more about Hawai'i's native culture. In the past several weeks, Rivers and his assistant, Johnlyn Doi, took two sessions of professional training in Hawaiian hospitality at Kapi'olani Community College. Michael Yee, graduate of St Louis High School with a MBA from UH, is the new project manager for facilities and operation services.

Rivers said he expects Disney to work with cultural experts and the people of Hawai'i in telling the stories. He has moved permanently to Hawai'i and will be a part of the team that remains and operates the resort.

Contact me for a free Relocation Package for Oahu, and market information on any community on our island.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

(photo and resource courtesy of Honolulu Advertiser)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Spend a Day Down on the Farm - Update on Kamilo Nui Valley

Somewhat of a secret to many Hawaii Kai residents are the farms at the head of Kamilo Nui Valley mauka of Mariners Cove. Have you shopped at one of the flower growers for fresh cut flowers? Have you realized how much open space and undeveloped land we still have in this one scenic "corner" of Hawaii Kai? And how close it may be to development?

A "Day on the Farm" sponsored by the Kamilo Nui Farmers Cooperative and supported by Representative Gene Ward and staff, is an effort to educate Hawaii Kai residents on the beauty and value of this agricultural land.

Livable Hawaii Kai Hui was originally formed over 5 years ago to help protect the valley from development, maintain the open-space, promote the valley's agriculture component and natural watershed qualities. They will participate in the festivities along with Aloha 'Aina 'O Kamilo Nui. They hope to introduce the mission and visions of the non-profits and enlist more volunteers and sponsors for their work.

The event will be headquartered at R&S Nii Nursery (Richard & Judy Nii) October 10, this Saturday, from 10 AM - 2 PM, starting with a blessing, then fun, games, drawings, and a "Teach In" about the history and importance of keeping our farmers in Hawaii Kai, and the dangers of overdevelopment. A children's' bouncing house and food vendors will also be onsite. Additional community organizations participating include: Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board, Malama Maunalua,, Kaiser High School Interact Group Rotary, Maunalua Fishpond & Heritage Center, and 'Aina in the Schools. Governor Linda Lingle will join the festivities from 11:45pm to 12:15pm.

The farmers of Kamilonui Valley are just a few months away from lease renegotiations with Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate, and many fear steep rent increases will shut down their operations and make staying in Kamilonui Valley unaffordable. Judy Nii, owner of R&S Nii Farms said, "We hope the more people understand our farms and what we mean for the community, the more they will support us."

Rep. Ward adds, "Hawaii Kai is already over-developed, and to lose our farmers in Kamilonui Valley is a clear and present danger to all of us who live in this community."

At least drive up to the Valley this Saturday and take a look this beautiful resource, at what is endangered - not just land but a lifestyle for many. Contact Rep. Ward or your representative on our Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board for more information.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Hawaii Kai Library will Benefit from First Book Prize

We were thrilled to find out Hawaii won the First Book prize, and will receive 50,000 new books for children in need! We won through all the votes cast online by readers like yourselves. North Carolina was 2nd, and Kentucky 3rd.

Because of the state budget shortfall, many state services have been scaled back, libraries included. But folks around the state are working together to help keep the libraries open and find other funding sources.

The Friends of the Hawai'i Kai Library will hold its biannual book sale Oct. 10 and 11.

The event at the library will feature used books, CDs and DVDs, with most items under $2. Proceeds will help fund library programs and purchase equipment.

The Hawaii Kai library is at 249 Lunalilo Home Road. For more information, call 808-397-5833.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Lunalilo Lighting Project in Hawaii Kai Changed by Resident Protest

For several months, Hawaii Kai residents have been scrutinizing the county lighting project on Lunalilo Home Road, questioning cost benefits and the need for the extra illumination. The resident involvement has paid dividends, as Mayor Hannemann announced this week that the city has modified plans to replace street lights, will address community concerns, thereby saving electricity and money.

Lights on Lunalilo Home Road will be replaced from Kalanianaole Highway to Wailua Street, using 100-watt high pressure sodium fixtures with flat lenses, rather than 150-watt fixtures as originally planned. This is expected to save $63 per light each year. Wiring will be installed under ground, as originally planned. This will improve visibility and safety in a mixed-use area that includes Kaiser High School, a fire station, churches, a library and the Koko Marina shopping center. Trees will also be trimmed in the area to optimize street lighting effectiveness.

The planned replacement of additional lights in the mainly residential portion of Lunalilo Home Road, from Wailua Street to Hawaii Kai Drive, has been deferred until such time as the City can no longer properly maintain the existing street lighting system there. The existing overhead wiring will be retained. Also deferred is the planned replacement of lights on Wailua Street, from Lunalilo Home Road to Keahole Street; on Keahole Street, from Wailua Street to Kalanianaole Highway; and on Hawaii Kai Drive, from Keahole Street to Kalanianaole Highway.

This is at least the 2nd time this year that Hawaii Kai residents felt strongly about our community, and worked together to effect a change in government policy. (The first was to oppose shark tours in Maunalua Bay.)

We value our lifestyle and the beauty found here, and have a very deep sense of place for Hawaii Kai. Contact me to find out what is so special about living in Hawaii Kai, and how to take advantage of our buyer's market.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Assaggio's (also in Hawaii Kai) opens in Kahala

Husband and wife team, Thomas and Siri Ky, first opened Assaggio in Kailua, and have since opened in Hawaii Kai, Ala Moana, Mililani and Kapolei. The newest addition, the Assaggio Bistro Kahala, will be owned and operated by long time employees.

To give back to the community in thanks for their support over the years, the grand opening event, Good Living, Good Giving, donated all proceeds to Aloha United Way from the sales Sept. 14 and 15.

The new location is on 4346 Waialae Avenue across from Kahala Mall next to 'Umeke Market. Like all Assaggio restaurants, it is beautifully designed with a mix of colors and has a contemporary flair.

Assaggio, which means "to taste," offers Italian cuisine with a friendly, neighborhood ambience. The company mission statement is, "What you eat, no one can take away from you. So Assaggio makes sure that what you take away from us is only the best." Their restaurant (my favorite) in Hawaii Kai certainly upholds this tradition. It is located at 7192 Kalanianaole Hwy, in the Koko Marina Center, phone 808-396-0756.

The story of Thomas Ky is a feel-good saga of an immigrant from Vietnam, who came to this country with little to his name in 1978 at the age of 13. The company web site tells how he got here from there: "Thomas moved to Hawaii in 1984 and worked day and night at local restaurants such as Hee Hing and Dynasty washing dishes and cleaning tables, often pushing himself to work harder so that he could support his family, as well as save enough for his own restaurant. In 1987, Thomas’ dream of opening his own restaurant became a reality when he and a few partners opened Salerno’s in McCully. An Italian restaurant with a steady flow of customers, Salerno’s did well for Thomas and his partners, but he sold his share in the business in 1989 and decided to open his own restaurant in the Kailua Business Center. He called the restaurant 'Assaggio' and today, Thomas owns five of the award-winning restaurants throughout Oahu."

Assaggio's is one of many fine restaurants in Hawaii Kai, part of the lifestyle we enjoy with fine eating just a few minutes away from any home, many with outdoor seating to enjoy our tropical weather. My Relocation Package gives information about these attractions, and more to do in our oasis on Oahu, Hawaii Kai. Contact me for real estate information about homes for sale in Hawaii Kai, and buying opportunities.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Carbon Footprint for Hawaii Kai Pets

Families everywhere are trying to do their bit for the environment but we often forget the environmental impact of our furry family members. Pets are wonderful companions but the waste that Fido and Fluffy generate affects the environment in a huge way. We want to keep our Hawaii Kai home beautiful for future generations.

Here are some tips that will reduce your pets' carbon paw print:
1. Rescue Me - There are thousands of pets in need of a good home. Adopting an animal from a shelter is the ultimate form of recycling.
2. Fix Me - We're faced with a huge pet overpopulation problem that results in daily euthanizations so ensure your pets are fixed.
3. Play With Me - Purchase earth friendly products such as toys made with chemical free plastics. If you have a cat, make them a toy by tying up an old sock full of catnip!
4. Pamper Me - In addition to using earth friendly cleaning products around your home for Fido’s sake, invest in some environmentally friendly, natural products for cleaning and grooming your pets.
5. Scoop My Poop - Scoop doo doo into biodegradable bags instead of plastic bags. Cat owners should use plant based litters as clay litter comes from strip mining which isn’t environmentally friendly.

Help take environmental action on behalf of your pet by greening up its Hawaii Kai lifestyle. Consumers spend billions of dollars each year on their four legged friends. With such a huge industry, a few eco-friendly choices here and there will end up making a big difference to our island home.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Hawaii Kai Animal Sanctuary needs your help

In a subject near and dear to my heart, and many other residents of Hawaii Kai I've met during my real estate years, our pets need your help.

There's a fundraiser to be held this Saturday, Sept. 12, 8 AM - 2 PM, for the Hawaii Animal Sanctuary, 603 Hahaione.

Proceeds will buy supplies for the animals. Especially needed are a washer/dryer, cat and dog crunchies and canned pet food, dish detergent, bleach, dish sponges, trash bags and the services of a carpenter. Call 808-294-0205.

Visit the pet page on my web site for resources to care for your pet in Hawaii and to move your pet to our Islands.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Hawaii Kai Resident Ventures to Kaimuki for Himalayan Food

Recently we left the great choices in Hawaii Kai and drove the short distance to Kaimuki,, to try the Himalayan Kitchen:

(808) 735-1122
Kaimuki 1137 11th Ave
Honolulu, HI 96816

The restaurant is tucked away in the lot behind Kaimuk├»’s Big City Diner. The outside deck eating area leads to an elevated gazebo draped with a string of lights and colorful Tibetan prayer flags.

The staff was attentive and energetic, eager to please. We found the owner to be charming and helpful. Some people may have to wait, but when you have a bottle of wine (it's BYOB) to help pass the time it goes quite quickly. Also, we went early and there were not too many people. By the time we left, it filled up and that was on a Thursday.

As described by Honolulu Weekly, "The best time to eat here is arguably at dusk, as the fading orange-pink rays of the sun contrast with the wood interior, being further illuminated by muted ceiling lamps. One feels relaxed, ending the day along with the setting sun and a rich meal."

The menu presents Himalayan dishes, ranging from seafood to meat to biryani (rice-based) dishes. There are also offerings of more general Nepali cuisine, curries, vegetarian dishes, tandoori dishes, breads, as well as a trio of “Himalayan Favorites with a Touch of Aloha!” Entrees range from $9.95 to $16.95. Read more about the food and menu at Honolulu Weekly.

Sounds good doesn't it? This is just a sample of the great restaurants available within minutes of Hawaii Kai. Contact me for more information about our lifestyle, and to request a free Relocation Package.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

New Property Tax Bill will Affect Hawaii Kai Homeowners

O'ahu property owners who provide housing to low-income families would get substantial tax breaks under a bill approved by the Honolulu City Council. Councilman Donovan Dela Cruz said he proposed the measure as a companion bill to a plan by Mayor Mufi Hannemann to create a new property tax category for people who live in the homes they own. Dela Cruz said both owner-occupants and low-income renters need to be sheltered from the possibility of high property tax rates.

Opponents say the measure gives city officials a more politically convenient way to pass property tax increases on to businesses and property owners in other classifications.

City budget director Rix Maurer III said the city is anticipating a deficit in the operating budget of between $145 million and $150 million. Mayor Mufi Hannemann has said he is committed to ensuring that owner-occupants need not pay more next year despite falling property values and revenues.

Several council members asked why the city needs to have both an exemption and a separate classification for owner-occupants. Noting that the other three Hawai'i counties have a tax classification for owner-occupants, Maurer said, "I think it's prudent that we have as many tools as we can."

The measure now goes back to the Budget Committee. At the Wednesday meeting, the council gave the first of three approvals for what's being called a companion bill that would give tax exemptions to owners of affordable rental properties.If you have an opinion about this tax measure, contact your council member now.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Foodland Farms Coming to a Store Near Hawaii Kai

Although we have a successful and pleasant Foodland in Hawaii Kai, they are going to remodel their Aina Haina store into the first "Foodland Farms" store in Oahu, after about five months and a multi-million dollar remodel.

With a planned reopening in February, the 25,000-square-foot Foodland Farms will offer an expanded selection of high-quality perishables and prepared foods, along with traditional full-service meat, seafood, deli, bakery and produce departments. The new store also will include a larger selection of of natural, organic and specialty items and an R. Field Wine Co. outlet, offering stiff competition to Down to Earth and Whole Foods in Kahala.

The renovated 'Aina Haina store will be modeled after the company's 10,000-square-foot Foodland Farms store at the Mauna Lani Resort on the Big Island. The Big Island store opened in December 2007.

It's great to have choices and this new store will just add to the ambience and quality of life in Hawaii Kai. Contact me for a free Relocation Package.

Malama Maunalua in Hawaii Kai

Malama Maunalua is a nonprofit group of neighbors, scientists, government officials, and environmentalists who have been working together for several years to restore the health of the East Honolulu resource, Maunalua Bay. They are using their expertise and energy to solve the complex problems degrading the reef and nearshore ecosystem of the bay.

Causes of the degredation come from excessive sedimentation, invasive species, overfishing, and other human threats. If Malama Maunalua succeeds, however, the project is expected to serve as a general framework for other Hawai'i communities trying to stem the deterioration of their coastal marine environments. "This is just a microcosm of what needs to happen statewide," said Alyssa Miller, coordinator for Malama Maunalua. Other marine conservation efforts across the state have concentrated on fishery resources in rural or less populated areas, but Malama Maunalua is focusing on the large suburban area of Hawaii Kai that is home to more than 60,000 people.

As funding for nonprofits has decreased substantially, both from the public and private sectors, neighborhood volunteers have teamed with scientists, nonprofit organizations and government agencies to leverage resources, gather empirical data and develop possible solutions that must be maneuvered through a potentially divisive political process.

More than 5,000 have participated in the Malama Maunalua project, removing algae, cleaning beaches, putting on education forums. At last count, 200 volunteers have removed 25 tons of invasive algae, or seaweed, over the last 18 months. The group has partnered with nearly 50 government agencies, environmental organizations, businesses and other entities to address a problem that experts acknowledge has no easy solutions.

Recently, the group has partnered with The Nature Conservancy, and secured more than $3 million in federal economic stimulus funding to hire dozens of full-time workers to pull invasive algae from the bay. Volunteers also are trying to bring changes to the mostly concrete-lined stream system that channels huge volumes of rain runoff and sedimentation from the mountains and valleys into the bay, further degrading conditions along the reef flat.

Bob Richmond, a University of Hawaii marine biologist and volunteer in Malama Maunalua, is establishing benchmarks to measure reforestation efforts. The biological markers being developed are intended to measure changes in months, not years, so Hawaii Kai can quickly learn what works and what doesn't.

Supporters of the group's efforts emphasize that if the marine environment benefits, Hawaii Kai residents and ocean users ultimately benefit from nicer beaches, higher property values, increased recreational opportunities, more abundant marine life and better quality of life. And Hawaii Kai residents likely will pay greater attention to protecting the environment and encourage others to do likewise.

I wholeheartedly support the efforts of Malama Maunalua and urge residents and tourists alike to help with their work to protect our spectacular Maunalua Bay. Read more at the Honolulu Advertiser.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Waldorf School opens a High School near Hawaii Kai

Waldorf School has opened its high school campus in a new location, after years of legal battles with the residents of Niu Valley. The high school, which serves about 80 students, was moved over the summer from a renovated house in Kahala to the old Trans Pacific College building on Kalaniana'ole Highway. The school acquired the remaining 30 years on the lease of the building after the college closed in December.

The school had been looking for an alternative site for its high school ever since it opened in 1994. Originally, the school rented two classrooms from the Japan America Institute of Management Science in Hawai'i Kai for two years. Then the school moved to a remodeled house in Kahala. The school's new building is a more ideal location for the high school, near the lower-grades campus in Niu Valley, and much larger — 22,000 square feet compared to 8,000 square feet at the previous location. There's now enough space for a dedicated music room, two science labs, wood- and metalwork rooms, and study areas.

The Honolulu Advertiser explains the history of the search for a place to site the school: "Waldorf had originally planned to build a two-story, 10,000-square-foot high school building on its Niu Valley campus. When its conditional use permit was approved in January 2007, some Niu Valley residents petitioned the Zoning Board of Appeals. The school then filed a lawsuit against the city and the residents, asking a judge to deny the residents' appeal. BonnieOzaki-James [chairwoman of the Honolulu Waldorf School's lower school] said that the school dropped its plans for a new building and reached an amicable agreement with the neighbors in Niu Valley."

This location for a private high school will give Hawaii Kai residents an alternative to the drive to Punahou or Kamehameha, and other private schools closer to Honolulu. Visit Waldorf School Directory for all their locations.

Contact me for information on all our schools, and request my free Relocation package.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Hanauma Bay Closure in Hawaii Kai from - yes, Jellyfish

On Friday, park officials closed Hanauma Bay in Hawaii Kai from a high number of Portuguese Man-of-War on the beach and in near-shore waters. Lifeguards counted more than 2,000 Man-of-War in Hanauma Bay.

The monthly box jellyfish arrival, due today, is a different phenomenon. They arrive with the tides, about 10 days after every full moon. Jellyfish stings can be very painful, and for some, quite serious if you are allergic to the poison.

Hanauma Bay and Kailua Bay have both been closed in the past for jellyfish "invasions." Waikiki often posts warnings for beachgoers. So what do you do when you get stung? If lifeguards are present, they should have white vinegar to wash out the sting, otherwise you might have to get your own. Make sure you wash out the stinger with lots and lots of white vinegar. If the stinger has wrapped around your arm, don’t touch the stinger to rip it off. Instead, grab the jellyfish by the body and slowly unwrap it.

For information on ocean conditions, advisories, and warnings, the Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services Division provides a recorded report at 922-3888, extension 51. People may also see conditions at

This just reminds me that we share our paradise with creatures that were here long before us and deserve our respect. They don't lessen the beauty of our islands, or the desirability of living here. Contact me for a relocation package.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Roy's in Hawaii Kai Hosting Wine Night

Roy’s Restaurant will present 20 leading winemakers from across the country at Roy’s in Hawaii Kai on Wednesday, August 12, 2009 from 6:30 – 8:30 pm.

The industry-style wine tasting will feature 90 wines from 20 different winemakers. This is a special opportunity for wine enthusiasts to experience some really great American labels. Roy’s chefs will be creating special pupus for the occassion to pair with the wines.

Here is a list of the wineries and vineyards participating in this special event:

Karma Fine Beverages – Patrick S. Wilson
Babcock Vineyards – Alan Jahns
Handley Cellars – Milla Handley
Saintsbury – David Graves
Selby Winery – Susie Selby
Dark Horse – Mike Lokaysek
Honig Vineyard & Winery – Patti Hawker
Diamond Terrace – Maureen Taylor
Domaine Serene – Eleni Papadakis
Bonaccorsi – Jenne Lee Bonaccorsi
L’Ecole No. 41 – Debbi Frol
Merry Edwards Winery – Cheryl-Lynn Mattos
Kaena – Michael Sigouin
Beckman – Michael Sigouin
Rombauer Vineyards – James Heinemann
Duckhorn Wine Company – Michelle Watkins
Landmark Vineyards – Andy Wolfe
Miner – Samantha Kasper
Plumpjack & CADE Winery – John Conover
Longboard – Oded Shaked

Price per person is $60 including tax & tip.

Please call Roy’s Hawaii Kai at 396-7697 or visit Roy's Events to make a reservation.

Our office of East Oahu Realty is next door to Roy's, so let me know if you want to discuss real estate before wine tasting and I'll meet you there.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Cash for Clunkers starts July 24 in Hawaii Kai

Cash for Clunkers, where owners can trade in low-mileage cars for cash, starts officially Friday, July 24 nationwide. The program gives $3,500 or $4,500 trade-in vouchers to customers who bring in their old vehicles to be junked. To qualify, cars must be 10 to 25 years old, get 18 miles per gallon or less and have been insured by the owner for at least a year.

The program, in effect since July 1, has been awaiting federal rules for implementation. Hawaii auto dealers are fervently hoping for a boost in car sales, and suggest owners visit to see if their vehicle qualifies. Car sales in Hawai'i have slipped by 31.5 percent in the first six months of 2009, compared with last year.

Most people who qualify will get at least a $3,500 voucher. Those who buy a new vehicle that gets 10 mpg or more than their clunker will receive $4,500. Dealers are required to provide proof of disposal of the clunkers at approved scrap-metal yards. So far, no scrap yards have been announced for dealers to take the cars to, nor is there any word on how to stay below the government's $1 billion allotment.

As reported by the Honolulu Advertiser, "Dave Rolf, executive director for Hawaii Automobile Dealers Association, was optimistic and complimented the speed of implementing the program since the act was signed on June 24.

"'I don't think in all my years I have seen a program come together this fast," Rolf said. "It's a great compliment to the people in federal government. When you look at how many moving parts are in a car and then how many cars there are, and then how many people are in America; and to get a program moving in 30 days?

"'That's a lot of moving parts.'"

Since we live on an island, with limited resources and disposal facilities, and our gas price is the highest in the country, hopefully this program will be a huge success on Oahu.

Contact me for relocation information for Hawaii Kai, and other innovative programs now in place to keep Hawaii Green.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Hawaii Kai Relocation Packages Just Released

I've finished the Complete Hawaii Kai Relocation Package and the Hawaii Kai Condo Relocation Package with sales data through June, 2009, and updates on new waterfront condo complexes that have sold this year.

Request your free copy at my web site,, or for condos only, the Condo Page. Or just call/email for your free copies.

If you want additional information on real estate throughout Oahu, but specifically on Hawaii Kai, just let me know. It's my home, and I've been a Realtor here for more than 20 years.


Barbara Abe, Realtor

Friday, July 10, 2009

WestJet Increases Flights to Hawaii

On Nov. 7, WestJet will launch a weekly flight every Saturday from Victoria to Honolulu, with an introductory roundtrip fare of $259.

In addition, WestJet said it will increase the frequency of its Vancouver-to-Honolulu flight to seven days a week Oct. 8, to 11 times a week Nov. 1, and 12 times a week Dec. 16. It also will boost its Vancouver-to-Maui service to seven days a week Oct. 7, 10 times a week Nov. 1 and 12 times a week Dec. 16. Lihue service will begin Dec. 16.

WestJet, headquartered in Calgary, has been operational since 1996, when it started service to 5 cities in Western Canada. It is now Canada's leading high-value low-fare airline, offering scheduled service to 55 destinations in Canada, the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean, with its fleet of 79 Boeing Next-Generation 737-series aircraft equipped with increased legroom, leather seats and live seatback television provided by Bell TV.

To book a flight and check schedules, visit WestJet Guest.

All the more reason for Canadians to visit Hawaii and Hawaii Kai, and consider a real estate investment here!

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Friday, July 3, 2009

Hawaii Kai Real Estate Market Report June, 2009


15 sales occurred in June in Hawaii Kai Condos. The low price was $349,900 for a 1 bedroom unit in the Commodore. The highest was a 3 bedroom home in Kuapa Isle, on the marina.

Complexes with sales included: Colony at the Peninsula (2), Colony Marina (1), Commodore (1), Esplanade (1), Hawaii Kai Cp (1), Heritage House (1), Kaimala Marina (1), Kuapa Isle (1), Mariners Village 3 (1), Mauna Luan (3), Moana Kai (1), and Villa Marina (1).

Days on Market ranged from 254 (Moana Kai) to 8 (Mauna Luan).

Request my reports on the condo complexes and get more sales statistics on the Condo Page of my web site.

Single Family

17 sales occurred in Hawaii Kai for single family homes. The low price was $500,000 for a 3/2 home in Kalama Valley, and the highest $2,100,000 for a magnificent view home in Koko Kai.

Neighborhoods represented included: Kalama Valley (4), Lower Hahaione Valley (1), Mariners Village (1), Laulima (1), Koko Head Terrace (1), Mariners Cove (3), Mariners Ridge (1), Queen's Gate (1), Koko Villa (1), Kamilo Nui (1), Triangle (1), and Koko Kai (1).

Days on Market ranged from 317 (Kalama Valley) to 1 (Kalama Valley, Mariners Cove).

Request reports on all the neighborhoods on my web site, and read full statistics on the Hawaii Kai Market News page.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Hawaii Kai Holds Value as a Real Estate Investment

There was a very interesting article this month in the Honolulu Magazine titled, "How Much is Your Home Worth Now?" While the appreciation in Lanikai (Kailua) and Manoa (above U of Hawaii) was not surprising, an investment in the Ewa Plain would have produced an excellent return in the last 60 years. A home in Mililani, however, would not have been as lucrative an investment if owned since 1969 (rather than 1948). Of course, the types of houses are all very different, as are their locations and sizes.

Their example in Hawaii Kai was my main interest. It shows a 3 bedroom/2 bath home, 1252 sq ft, 5,995 sq ft lot, purchased in 1968 - as adjusted for 2009 dollars - at $248,772 - offered for sale today at $599,000 (fee simple). The home shown is at the base of a hillside, and is a modest size and lot for East Oahu, and Hawaii Kai in particular. Obviously, Koko Kai, Portlock, and some marinafront communities in Hawaii Kai will have homes worth considerably more, and at better appreciation rates. But the author chose this as representative of Hawaii Kai single family homes.

Since we know Hawaii Kai has better stability than most locations on the island, and - while it is not immune to market fluctuations - recovers faster to down cycles - I wondered why this particular home had not brought the owners as large a return as some other neighborhoods on Oahu.

The article shows charts of the Hottest and Coldest Neighborhoods on Oahu during this, our Buying Paradise of 2009, for single family homes and condos. For homes, Wahiawa is the hottest, and the other 4 are (in order) Mililani, Ewa Plain, Aina Haina-Kuliouou, and Kapahulu-Diamond Head. Not Hawaii Kai.

The coolest areas are (in order): Waialae-Kahala, Pearl City-Aiea, Moanalua-Kalihi, Windward Coast, and North Shore. Not Hawaii Kai.

For Condos, hottest and coolest neighborhoods - Hawaii Kai was not included in either.

Why? In my opinion, because our market is more stable. You might not get huge appreciation (depending of course on purchase price - some folks did the last few years) but you also won't suffer huge losses (which many homeowners in other parts of the island certainly have had the last couple of years).

Bottom line: Hawaii Kai is a pretty great place to own real estate, and over the long haul, will be a great investment in one, if not the, premier location to live on Oahu.

Here's a link to the full article in Honolulu Magazine. For specific Hawaii Kai Market News, visit my web site, where you also can receive free reports on any neighborhood or condo complex in Hawaii Kai.

It's certainly a buyer's market now - don't lose your $8,000 tax credit or this opportunity to buy in what Harvey Shapiro (research economist for the Honolulu Board of Realtors) calls the best time to buy in a decade. Call or email me to discuss ideas.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Monk Seals in Hawaii Receive More Protection

The federal government has significantly expanded the critical habitat for endangered Hawaiian monk seals to include beaches and waters of the main Hawaiian Islands. The seals are among the most endangered of the world's marine mammals, numbering fewer than 1200.

Previously, the critical habitat was limited to the remote and largely uninhabited Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, where it was first established in 1986. Seal pups have only about a 1 in 5 chance to survive to adulthood. About 80 to 100 seals live in the main Hawaiian Islands, where they have higher survival rates.

The Hawaiian Monk Seal's Hawaiian name is Ilio holo kai. It means the dog who runs the sea.

The new habitat designation means greater protection under the Endangered Species Act, and limits federal government activities, which must undergo reviews to ensure they do not harm the seal or the habitat. "It will give this species a fighting chance," said Vicki Cornish, wildlife policy director at Ocean Conservancy. "When we protect critical habitat for monk seals, we are also protecting the larger ocean ecosystem on which we all depend."

Hawaii Kai, and our island chain, are so very lucky to have the wildlife we do. Let's do our part to preserve and protect our heritage.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

(photo courtesy of HawaiiLifeofLuxury)

Friday, June 12, 2009

How Important is our Ocean in Hawaii Kai?

The National Ocean Economic Program just released a study on the relationship between the ocean and the U.S. economy. Hawai'i's ocean-related activities accounted for 10.7 percent of the state's gross domestic product, or $5.4 billion, based on 2004 activities.

The report looked at six sectors linked to the ocean, including marine transportation, tourism and recreation, commercial fishing and other living marine resources, marine construction, ship and boat building and mineral extraction. It found these businesses employed 98,493 people, with the majority of these working in tourism and recreation. Total wages paid were $2.61 billion.

4 out of 5 US residents live in coastal states that generated 83 percent of the country's GDP in 2007. Hawaii led all states in numbers of people employed in the ocean economic sectors (15%).

Judith Kildow, director of the program, stated in a Honolulu Advertiser article, "'Our nation's economic recovery and stability depends on how we deal with the issue of climate change and what we do to protect valuable natural assets that serve to support the people and communities that live along our ocean and coastal areas as well as the entire nation.'" The group released the report to coincide with Capitol Hill Ocean Week.

We lucky folks who live in Hawaii Kai understand the importance and beauty of our ocean. Let's work to protect and preserve the treasure that we have.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

(source: Honolulu Advertiser)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Summer Concert Series in Hawaii Kai

Our first free summer concert on the Waterfront Stage at Hawaii Kai Towne Center will be June 13 at 5:30 PM. This is great free entertainment by some of the top musical talent in Hawaii today.

The first concert features 2 great performers, Paula Fuga and Hoku Zuttermeister.
Paula Fuga has earned an outstanding and dedicated fan base with her unique style of music, garnering her a Na Hoku Hanohano Award. She's collaborated with the Honolulu Symphony and was one of the first Hawaii-based artists invited to take part in Jack Johnson's Kokua Festival.

Hoku Zuttermeister has won 6 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards for his debut album, " 'Aina Kupua" released in 2007, which has made him the subject of much positive acceptance in the Hawaiian music community. He has recorded with artists such as Sean Na'auao and Raiatea Helm among many others.

Both Hoku Zuttermeister and Paula Fuga will be available after their performance for autographs, CD and DVD sales.

The next free concert will be Aug. 29 featuring the great Willie K.

The 2009 Sunset Serenade Concert Series is presented by HawaiiUSA Federal Credit Union, and is sponsored in part by SushiMan and The Honolulu Advertiser. Arrive early for best seating. For the comfort and safety of all guests, no outside beverages, coolers or pets allowed. For more information, call 808-396-0766.

Hawaii Kai offers such a wide choice of recreation and entertainment opportunities. Contact me for ideas how to enjoy our wonderful lifestyle.

Hawaii Kai Dog Walk a Great Success

To celebrate the 1st anniversary of Hawaii Kai's Dog Park, this year's Dog Walk, held June 7, was themed "Off Leash and Loving It" and attracted about 350 dogs and people. The walk was a great success and everything went really smoothly this year - we are getting much better at setting up - my volunteers in registration were great and all I had to do was put out small fires.

The dog walk, which is just over two-miles-long, begins at the makai end of the Hawaii Kai Park and Ride parking lot, then travels mauka on Keahole Street. It turns left onto Hawaii Kai Drive, heads down Hawaii Kai Drive to Kalanianaole Highway and then makes another left onto Keahole Street and returns to the Park and Ride.

A mini route, which is under a mile long for small or older dogs, starts at the makai end of the Park and Ride. It then travels down Keahole Street, turns right onto Kalanianaole Highway, with a slight turn at Hawaii Kai Drive, and returns to the Park and Ride.

Elaine Dobashi, president of non-profit Hui Ilio Hawaii, said, "The purpose of the walk is to provide an opportunity for people and their dogs to exercise and socialize with other people and dogs,” Dobashi stated. “It’s also to raise awareness of the need for dog parks, not only in our community but in all communities.”

Sponsors included Menehune Water, Island Dog, Hawaii Pet Magazine, Bark Avenue, Pet's Discount, Petland Kahala, Hawaii Kai Vet Clinic, Kale's Natural Foods, Pacific Paws Doggie Resort, and Aina Haina Pet Hospital. Proceeds from the walk were donated to support the Hawaii Kai Dog Park, and to Hui Ilio Hawaii.

According to the East Oahu Sun, "Hui Ilio Hawaii, also known as the Hawaii Dog Group, was founded to promote safe, friendly places for dogs and their owners to play, and also to promote responsible dog ownership. Its initial reason for organizing was to establish the Hawaii Kai Dog Park, which the group did through a public-private partnership with the city Department of Parks and Recreation.

"Now that the park is a reality, members continue to support the park as adoptive “park partners,” by recruiting and training volunteer park rangers, as well as sponsoring clean-up days and additional park improvements. Its ongoing goals are to help other dog groups get approval for parks in their respective districts, enhance the opportunities for dogs to receive proper exercise and socialization, and to promote the licensing, vaccination and good-behavior training of dogs."

Hope to see you and your dog at the park this year!

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Friday, June 5, 2009

Hawaii Kai May 2009 Real Estate Market Activity

Single family home sales in May decreased for another month from last year's figures, to 13 from 18, and median sales prices to $750,000 from $798,000. This represented a decrease of 27.8% in number of sales,and 6.1% in median price.

Year-to-date, there have been 55 sales in Hawaii Kai, compared to 72 last year. Median price was $750,000 compared to $869,000 in 2008. These are declines of 23.6% and 13.7% respectively.

In the Hawaii Kai Condo market, 13 homes closed in May compared to 20 last year, a decrease of 35%. Median price declined to $489,000 from $559,500, down 12.6%.

Year-to-date, there have been 62 condo sales in Hawaii Kai, compared to 91 last year. Median price was $467,500 compared to $540,000 in 2008. These are declines of 31.9% and 13.4% respectively.

Harvey Shapiro, economist for the Honolulu Board of Realtors, feels that buyers are now attracted by the low prices, and also that our inventory is not inflated - as in the glut on the mainland, and so is a stabilizing force in the real estate market.

Our Board publishes very complete monthly statistical reports. Contact me for a free copy, and read my Active Rain blog for an Oahu real estate analysis.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Hawaii Superferry files Bankruptcy

Today the Hawaii Superferry, Inc., the high-speed ferry between Oahu and Maui, and eventually Oahu and Hawaii and Kauai, filed for bankruptcy protection today. They cited a Hawaii Supreme Court ruling in March that struck down a state law permitting the company to operate before completing an environmental impact statement.

At the time of the decision, Tom Fargo, the Superferry President and CEO, said completing the EIS could take a year, and the company would dock the two ferries in Mobile, AL.

The company, which reported more than $100 million in assets and debts in its bankruptcy petition, said it will use the bankruptcy to close its business completely and liquidate the operation.

Formed in 2002 to provide ferry service between the 4 major islands, the company began carrying passengers in August, 2007 on the Alakai, an aluminum-hulled catamaran with a capacity of 866 people and 282 cars. The service was well received by most islanders who rode the ferry, and many welcomed an alternative to high inter-island air ticket prices.

In November, 2007, the legislature passed a law to permit continued ferry service despite a series of successful state court legal challenges. The March ruling stated that the law was intended specifically to benefit the company, in violation of the state constitution.

In its filing, the company also stated business was hurt by the decline in tourism, a 2008 increase in fuel prices, and the price war between the airlines GO and Hawaiian for interisland travel.

I was fortunate to take the ferry to Maui last winter and see the humpback whales (photo above), in what was a truly enjoyable experience. I am saddened the company found no way to re-enter the market in the future, and provide an additional choice for island travelers.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Hawaii Kai Park May Charge User Fees

The DLNR (Dept. of Land & Natural Resources) is facing budget cuts, just like all other state agencies. Director Laura Thielen asked for $240 million in bond money, but lawmakers said "no" and cut the DLNR budget by more than 20%.

Thielen is going to Plan B, which will probably include charging nonresidents a fee, $1 to $5, to enter 8 high-traffic parks throughout the state, increasing slip fees at small boat harbors, and partnering with volunteer community groups to fix problems at little or no cost. Among the parks on the list is Hawaii Kai's Ka Iwi Scenic Shoreline.

Other popular parks which may start user fees include the Nu'uanu Pali wayside park on Oahu; Koke'e/Waimea parks and Ha'ena Beach on Kaua'i; Makena Beach and 'Iao State Park on Maui; and Kekaha Kai and 'Akaka Falls parks on the Big Island.

There has been no significant objection from the Hawai'i Kai Neighborhood Board to a fee at the Ka Iwi shoreline. In this time of budget restraint and lack of funding, user fees only make sense in order to keep the parks open. Charging at Diamond Head hasn't slowed the number of visitors, and the annual fee income has actually increased from 2003 to 2008.

Hawaii Kai's Ka Iwi shoreline is one of its most beautiful assets, and if nonresident fees mean the park can be maintained and kept open, it seems a small change to make. Many nonresidents purchase property here, and eventually move to our islands, so continuing to make parks available to all only makes sense.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Hawaii Kai Estates Available

Hawaii has some of the most stunning architecture and residential home locations of any place in the world. The architects have found ways to highlight the ocean, the views, and the ambience of living in our tropical paradise. Oahu, because of the density of the population, has the largest selection of beautiful oceanview homes of any of the islands.

The highest priced of the current active listings in Hawaii Kai (excepting the Kaiser Estate, in a class and price range by itself) as of May 21 are 3 homes in Koko Kai. I have always felt Koko Kai is the very best example in Hawaii Kai of our gorgeous estates. Rising on the slopes of Koko Head above Portlock Road, this magnificent subdivision with wide streets offers breathtaking views over Maunalua Bay to Diamond Head.

Most of the 187 homes were custom built in the early 1970s, and have been remodeled and highly upgraded. The lots are quite large for Hawaii, from more than 10,000 sq ft to roughly an acre and overlook rocky cliffs falling into the Pacific.

Nearly all the houses in Koko Kai have wonderful views, some 180 degrees from ocean, to the Bay, to the mountains. The area is a perfect spot to watch the migrating humpback whales in the winter.

Here are photos of the 3 top listings currently available:

Pretty spectacular aren't they? I love living here and helping buyers enjoy these beautiful homes and the lifestyle of Hawaii Kai. Contact me for a preview or more details.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Hawaii Kai's Maunalua Bay gets Much-Needed Attention

Students from Kamilo Iki Elementary spent this last school year, one afternoon a week, pulling out invasive seaweed and studying the fragile ecosystem of Maunalua Bay.

The bay is an important resource for Hawaii Kai, and a large part of the lifestyle there, providing waters for boaters, swimmers, surfers, commercial interests such as parasailers, and more. It is also a living classroom which the group Navigating Change has chosen for study through local schools.

"After 50 years of urbanization this bay is badly degraded. There is pollution, we have invasive species, and our fisheries are badly degraded," said Alyssa Miller, with Malama Maunalua. The Kamilo Iki students collected 3000 pounds of unwanted plants. "Right now the bay right here is basically dead, there is no coral living in Maunalua Bay," said 5th Grader, Alisha Tokumaru.

Students hope others in Hawaii Kai will be inspired by their efforts to help protect our resource. For information and volunteer opportunities, contact Malama Maunalua, a community-based organization aimed at preserving and restoring the health of the Maunalua region.

Hawaii Kai is such a unique and beautiful place on our island of Oahu, but needs our help and commitment to keep it this way for future generations. Contact me for information on relocation to Hawaii Kai and the lifestyle we enjoy.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Hawaii Kai Pending Home Sales Rise with Affordability

In my April market report, I noted that inventory was down and pending sales increased last month. The National Assn. of Realtors reported this week that the trend is nationwide.

The Real Estate Channel states that "pending home sales rose with many first-time buyers taking advantage of historically good housing affordability conditions." Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said it should take a few months for the market to gain momentum. "This increase could be the leading edge of first-time buyers responding to very favorable affordability conditions and an $8,000 tax credit, which increases buying power even more in areas where special programs allow buyers to use it as a downpayment," he said.

NAR President Charles McMillan, a broker with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Dallas-Fort Worth, said the increase in buying power is quite remarkable. "Compared to a year ago, the typical family can pay much less in mortgage costs for the same home, or buy a better home without necessarily increasing their monthly payment," he said. "For buyers who've been on the sidelines and have good jobs, the market has never looked more favorable. Homeownership has always offered immediate benefits and long-term value, but the advantages in today's market are unique."

Certainly our Hawaii Kai market has benefited from the first time buyer programs and low interest rates offered now for mortgage loans. It's still a buyers market and there are wonderful real estate opportunities in our part of East Oahu. Contact me for ideas.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Hawaii Kai April Real Estate Market Activity

Single Family

April home sales increased in Hawaii Kai, though prices declined. 12 single family homes sold, vs. 8 in April last year, with a median price of $707,500 vs. $994,500 last year. With so few sales, however, the statistics of median price can be easily skewed by one higher-priced home.

Year-to-date, 42 homes sold vs. 54 last year, with a median price of $740,000 vs. $917,500 in 2008.


In April, 14 condos closed vs. 19 last year. Median sales price was $450,000 vs. $523,000 last year.

Year-to-date, 49 condos have sold, vs. 71 last year. Median sales price has been $456,000 vs. $538,000 in 2008.

So far, numbers and prices in 2009 are dramatically lower than last year for both single family and condo sales.

Island-wide, single family sales are widely down, from 628 year-to-date 2009 vs. 929 sales last year, a decrease of 32.4%. The median sales price has also decreased, to $575,000 from $625,000. Condo sales on Oahu dropped to 824 through April, vs. 1,421 last year. Median sales prices decreased to $305,000 from $329,000 last year.

The island has so many distinct areas that comparing sales in Ewa Plain or North Shore to Hawaii Kai isn't very productive. We are fortunate our Honolulu Board of Realtors gives us such good statistics for each geographic neighborhood group on the island.

An example of the diversity are the numbers for new listings in April. There were 29 in Hawaii Kai, with a median list price of $879,000. This compares to 39 in Kailua-Waimanalo, at $849,000, and to 74 in Ewa Plain at $465,000.

So if you want Hawaii Kai real estate information, contact a Realtor who has lived and worked there for many years and understands our unique market.

Barbara Abe, Realtor
Hawaii Kai Real Estate Relocation Specialist