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