Friday, December 31, 2010

Census Shifts Affected by Economy

The first set of data from the 2010 Census, released earlier this month, underscored the big role economic forces can play in driving population shifts.  While the movement of people—and political power—from the Northeast and Midwest to the South and West continued, there were significant changes within that pattern, including a dramatic slowdown in what had long been some of the nation’s fastest growing states.  And those same forces are likely to shape the current decade, at least the first part of it.

“Over time, the population numbers will reflect the rate of job growth,” said Stephen Levy, director of the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy in Palo Alto, Calif.  Many Americans want to move but can’t, because they can’t sell their homes. Others owe more than their homes are worth. And many young people, who account for the bulk of the moves, are stuck living at home, delaying marriage and having children as they contend with the sluggish economy.

Overall, the nation’s population increased 9.7% between 2000 and 2010, the smallest 10-year growth rate since the decade of the Great Depression. As in the 1930s, the latest slowdown was due to fewer immigrant arrivals and a shrinking of the nation’s birth rate, in part because of the economic downturn and the hardships inflicted on many families.

William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution, says there’s little in the latest Census head-counts, or other statistics for that matter, to suggest that the multi-decade trend of migration to the South and West won’t continue.  But the pace of movement has been restrained—and redirected within the region—by the sagging employing and housing markets. And that pattern has yet to change.

Barbara Abe

Exterior Projects Have the Best Remodeling Value

As part of the 2010-11 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report, REALTORS® recently rated exterior replacement projects among the most cost-effective home improvement projects, demonstrating that curb appeal remains one of the most important aspects of a home at resale time.  These are especially important projects in Hawaii homes, because of the time spent outdoors.

“This year’s Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report highlights the importance of exterior projects, which not only provide the most value, but also are among the least expensive improvements for a home,” said National Association of REALTORS® President Ron Phipps. Nine of the top 10 most cost-effective projects nationally in terms of value recouped are exterior replacement projects. The steel entry door replacement returned the most money, with an estimated 102.1% of cost recouped upon resale; it is also the only project in this year’s report that is expected to return more than the cost. The midrange garage door replacement, a new addition to the report this year, is expected to recoup 83.9% of costs.

The 2010-11 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report compares construction costs with resale values for 35 midrange and upscale remodeling projects comprising additions, remodels and replacements in 80 markets across the country. Data are grouped in nine U.S. regions, following the divisions established by the U.S. Census Bureau. This is the 13th consecutive year that the report, which is produced by Remodeling magazine publisher Hanley Wood LLC, was completed in cooperation with REALTOR® Magazine.  REALTORS® provided their insight into local markets and buyer home preferences within those markets. Overall, REALTORS® estimated that home owners would recoup an average of 60% of their investment in 35 different improvement projects, down from an average of 63.8% last year. Remodeling projects, particularly higher cost upscale projects, have been losing resale value in recent years because of weak economic conditions.

According to the report, replacement projects usually outperform remodel and addition projects in resale value because they are among the least expensive and contribute to curb appeal. Various types of siding and window replacement projects were expected to return more than 70% of costs. Upscale fiber-cement siding replacement was judged by REALTORS® the most cost effective among siding projects, recouping 80% of costs.   A wood deck addition, tied with a minor kitchen remodel, would return an estimated 72.8% of costs.

The top interior projects for resale value included an attic bedroom and a basement remodel. Improvement projects are expected to return the least are a midrange home office remodel, recouping an estimated 45.8%; a backup power generator, recouping 48.5%; and a sunroom addition, recouping 48.6% of costs.

Although most regions followed the national trends, the regions that consistently were estimated to return a higher percentage of remodeling costs upon resale were the Pacific region of Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington; the West South Central region of Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas; the East South Central region of Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee; and the South Atlantic region of the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.

Call or email me to discuss what remodeling you might want to do to get your home ready to sell in 2011.

Barbara Abe
Source: NAR

Friday, December 17, 2010

Hawaii Kai is a Perfect Example of the Growing Real Estate Trend of the Importance of Community

A shift is occuring in American housing, away from the supersized developments that dominated the industry leading up to the recession. Developers built under the mantra “the bigger the better”—from the size of homes to the number they could fit on plots in outer-ring suburbs where land was plentiful. Developers couldn’t pave streets fast enough to satisfy the demand. They offered sports courts, nature trails, wine-tasting community rooms, and huge master suites.

No more.  Now, it's about restraint. “It’s a total shift in people’s perception of what they feel is important,” market analyst Ryan Jones said. “In the 2000s, it was excess on every scale. Now people have reorganized and reassessed what’s important.”  What’s important today, according to several developers, is living close to work, knowing your neighbors, and feeling a sense of security about the community.

During the boom, buyers wanted to be the 1st to buy in a new neighborhood, because prices were assumed to rise as the community developed.  Now consumers want - and builders are listening - a small number of lots per development so they don't have to wait long for new neighbors. 

The shift has been driven by many economic factors, such as land prices, building prices, and the scarcity of money for developers from banks.  Developers are trying to reduce exposure to big losses that come with investing in big projects. Some developers simply don’t have the capital to invest in larger pieces of land that might take years to sell out.  And smaller projects provide less risk from changing market conditions.

This tenent is true for buyers as well, who want less risk, and ways to save money, such as lower gas usage for a commute or to take the kids to school, and energy-efficienct homes.  And they want a stronger sense of community.

One of the many reasons Hawaii Kai has held its market value the last few years is because of this sense of community, the very real Sense of Place.  There is nowhere else in the Islands like it, developed around ocean access, with a marina, and all the shopping and recreational amenities you want close to home in Hawaii.  Plus it is only 15 minutes to cultural events in Honolulu, the outdoor concerts in Kapiolani Park, the schools of Punahou, Iolani, and UH, shopping at Ala Moana, and so much more. 

East Oahu has very little buildable land left, and what has been developed in the last few years has definitely followed the national trend toward smaller, more cohesive, neighborhoods.  Add that to the overall sense of community in Hawaii Kai, and our part of Paradise becomes a truly remarkable place to live.

Call or email me to find out how you can enjoy our Hawaii Kai lifestyle.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Hawaii Ranked 5th Healthiest State in US

America's Health Rankings®-2010 Edition shows Vermont at the top of the list of healthiest states again this year.  But if you don't want cold weather and snow, think Hawaii.  Our state placed 5th!

To give you an idea of what factors make up the rankings, Vermont rose from 20th in 1991 to the top position, with sustained improvement in the last decade.  The state's strengths include its number one position for all health determinants combined, which includes ranking in the top 10 states for a high rate of high school graduation, a low violent crime rate, a low percentage of children in poverty, high per capita public health funding, a low rate of uninsured population and ready availability of primary care physicians.

The top 10 states shown in order were:
New Hampshire
Rhode Island

The last 5, in order, were:

46 - Oklahoma
47 - Nevada
48 - Arkansas
49 - Louisiana
50 - Mississippi

Unfortunately, Mississippi ranks 50th for all health determinants combined, so its overall ranking is unlikely to change significantly in the near future.


We all knew how healthy it is to live in Hawaii.  The study just provides a little extra incentive.  Contact me for a free copy of my Relocation Package to Hawaii Kai.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Look for These Trends in Hawaii Kai Housing in 2011 has published their list of the 7 trends which will have the biggest impact on housing next year.

1. Big builders are wringing the extras out of construction costs and dropping the national average cost-to-build 36% to $52 per square foot.

2. Starting in 2011, Energy Star will ramp up its efficient design and quality installation standards. To get Energy Star certification, builders will have to install the right insulation, HVAC systems, and other features related to energy efficiency correctly every time.

3. Sheds are the next evolution. As homes get smaller, a separate shed will become a popular home addition.

4. There are 81 million "Echo Boomers" who were born from 1981 to 1999, compared to just 78 million Baby Boomers born from 1946 to 1964. These children and grandchildren of Boomers will drive home-building for years.

5. By 2015, demographers say, more than two out of every five households occupied by Generation Y people born between 1981 and 1999 will be WINKs (women with incomes and no kids).

6. Make room for the "Sandwich Generation" – Baby Boomers living with both their kids and their parents. These families like having two master suites, a second cooking area, and lots of storage.  (Read my blog on the forecast for the multifamily housing industry in 2011.)

7. Baby Boomers want to keep working and continue to live where they have always lived. They want a first-floor master bedroom near the washer and dryer and lots of convenient storage.

Look for these trends in Hawaii Kai housing.  While we don't have much new construction (#1) and our square foot building prices will be higher than the national average, we fit the movement toward smaller, more energy efficient housing.  And Hawaii Kai - in fact, island wide - because of the culture's commitment to revering our elders, will most certainly follow the trend to more multi-family housing.

Contact me to look at some homes to satisfy what needs you will have next year, or to modify your housing to accommodate the changing needs of your family members.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Friday, November 19, 2010

Update on Lease Negotiations for Kamilonui Farmers of Hawaii Kai

After a demonstration on Kalanianaole Highway and several articles and blogs locally, regarding the price increase proposed for the leases of the farmers in the upper Kamilonui Valley of Hawaii Kai, the Kamehameha Schools, formerly known as Bishop Estate, has agreed to turn the issue over to arbitration.  Arbitration allows Kamehameha Schools and the farmers' group to each pick one appraiser, and the two appraisers mutually agree on a third.  The process could take 3-4 months.

The charitable trust broke off negotiations with the 10 farmers, and said it will settle the issue of resetting rents for the last 15 years of the farmers' leases on their 87 acres by arbitration.  The Trust also stated it is committed to keeping the land in agriculture for the next 15 years.  One would have to wonder if that means development after that time, since even now the farmers cannot pay to keep the land in its present use.

Many of the farmers are in their 80s and have farmed the land for 40 years or more.  They were relocated to the Kamilonui Valley when Henry Kaiser developed Hawaii Kai.  While rents haven't changed since they were established in the early 1970's, the farmers cannot necessarily pay more just because it is time to renegotiate.  The parcels run from 3 to 10 acres, and the farmers now pay an average of $185/acre/year.  The Trust wants to raise that to $5,200 = 28-fold increase. 

The Trust feels the farmers should have planned ahead for the adjustment to current market lease rates.  The farmers say they are willing to pay more but not beyond what they reasonably make from farming.  The small group commissioned a study from an agricultural economist, who negotiated successfully for about 200 Kona Coffee farmers on the Big Island, to assess what they could reasonably pay based on what they produce.  It found a reasonable rent would be about $1,000/year/acre, about 5 times more than current lease rent, but nowhere near the price the Trust set.  Kamehameha Schools rejected the report, and moved to arbitration.

Two tenants who opted not to be part of the small group have renewed their leases, according to the Trust.  It also said it has negotiated similar rents with several farmers who lease land not far from Kamilo Nui Valley behind Kaiser High School.

The farmers fear that such a big rent hike will put them out of business. "What else are we going to do? That's all we know, farming," said farmer Richard Higa.  Added Judy Nii, of R & S Nursery, "I don't think they realize how difficult farming is, and how small our profit margin is.  Basically they're asking us to work and give them whatever we make."

If you want to help the farmers' efforts, contact Rep. Gene Ward (R-Hawaii Kai – Kalama Valley).  He has said that he is keenly interested in keeping the Kamilonui Valley farmers on their agriculture lots, and that the Trust has not negotiated in good faith. He is calling upon the community to support the farmers.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Saturday, November 13, 2010

New Videos for Hawaii Kai Home Buyers Released by HUD

To help consumers navigate the home buying process, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) have announced three how-to videos to help prospective homeowners find a home they can afford, shop for a mortgage they can sustain, and what to expect when they go to closing.  With this background, prospective home buyers will feel more comfortable contacting a realtor and selecting homes to preview.

David H. Stevens, HUD’s assistant secretary for Housing and Federal Housing Commissioner said, “The process for buying a home can appear complicated and overwhelming for many consumers. These videos will help answer the fundamental questions most people have—from shopping for their home to signing on the dotted line.”

He added, “These videos go a long way in identifying key aspects of the homebuying process that a consumer should be aware of. Our goal is to help make the process more transparent through educating consumers who in turn can make informed choices about their home purchase.”

HUD’s videos are easily accessible from both HUD’s website as well as from HUD’s YouTube channel. They include:

1.  Shopping for your Home – The home-buying process obviously starts with finding a place you’ll want to call home. This short video will instruct viewers on assessing how much of a home you can afford, working with a real estate agent and what happens once you find the home you want to buy. Housing counselors can assist home buyers and home owners on issues such as home buying, fair housing, credit issues, and foreclosure prevention.

2.  Shopping for your Loan – Once you’ve found the home of your dreams, the next step is to shop for a mortgage loan. This video will help consumers use the good faith estimate (GFE), which is a form that spells out the terms of a loan offer, to shop for the best loan for them. Consumers will learn how to use the GFE to determine how long an interest rate is available for a particular loan and how to identify key loan terms and costs of a particular loan offer. HUD suggests consumers shop and compare GFEs from multiple mortgage brokers and/or lenders in order to get the best loan for their situation.

3.  Closing the Deal – Finally, this video walks consumers through the actual closing process including how to make sure the loan they were offered closely matches what they encounter at the settlement table. In particular, HUD will walk the viewer through the HUD-1 Settlement Statement and demonstrate ways consumers can compare their actual costs with those reflected on their good faith estimate.

I can answer your questions about buying in any community on Oahu, but do specialize in Hawaii Kai real estate.  Call or email me to talk about how you get qualified and start the process to buy a home in Hawaii.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

October Real Estate Statistics - Hawaii Kai & Oahu

Here is an overview of the real estate sales data for Hawaii Kai and Oahu during October, 2011.  

Hawaii Kai
Single Family - October
2010 - 21 sales; median sales price $836,000; median days on market 25; inventory at month end 82
2009 - 24 sales; median sales price $839,000; median days on market 57; inventory at month end 87
Single Family - Year to Date
2010 - 165 sales; median sales price $833,000; median days on market 26
2009 - 154 sales; median sales price $795,000; median days on market 56

Condos - October
2010 - 18 sales; median sales price $508,500;median days on market 19; inventory at month end 65
2009 - 14 sales; median sales price $485,000;median days on market 84; inventory at month end 52
Condos - Year to Date
2010 - 173 sales; median sales price $525,000; median days on market 19
2009 - 146 sales; median sales price $490,000; median days on market 69

Single Family - October
2010 - 241 sales; median sales price $595,750; median days on market 35; inventory at month end 1,472
2009 - 290 sales; median sales price $604,500; median days on market 52; inventory at month end 1,660
Single Family - Year to Date
2010 - 2,496 sales; median sales price $598,000; median days on market 33
2009 - 2,160 sales; median sales price $580,000; median days on market 52

Condos - October
2010 - 310 sales; median sales price $300,000; median days on market 34; inventory at month end 2,070
2009 - 394 sales; median sales price $300,000; median days on market 54; inventory at month end 2,188
Condos - Year to Date
2010 - 3,273 sales; median sales price $305,000; median days on market 32
2009 - 2,814 sales; median sales price $304,000; median days on market 53

While the trends shown here are positive, there are 2 other statistics which are very telling for our Oahu real estate market.

Months Supply of Inventory
Single Family- October
2010 - 6.2; 2009 - 7.8; 2008 - 10.0
Condos - October
2010 - 6.4; 2009 - 7.8; 2008 - 8.1

Housing Affordability Index (the higher the #, the more affordable housing is relative to income)
Single Family - October
2010 - 66; 2009 - 61; 2008 - 51
Single Family - Year to Date
2010 - 66; 2009 - 63; 2008 - 50
Condos - October
2010 - 124; 2009 - 116; 2008 - 92
Condos - Year to Date
2010 - 123; 2009 - 115; 2008 - 92

Summary:  the forces of supply and demand are definitely at work here.  As inventory decreases, there are fewer homes and condos for buyers to consider.  Those who do choose to purchase, and many can now buy Oahu housing because it is more affordable, decide more quickly and are more qualified, so days on market have decreased.  This causes the month-end inventory to be reduced, continuing the cycle and putting pressure on sales prices.  Prices in Hawaii Kai have increased for both single family and condos year-to-date, and island-wide are holding steady.  Hawaii Kai has not been affected as much as some Oahu areas by the distressed property "glut" which has driven prices down, and these areas are reflected in the island-wide sales price statistics.

How else can I explain that buyers should start looking for homes now?!  If these figures represented one month, then you could wait and watch.  But this is 10 months' worth of activity.  It's time for you to call or email me and talk about how you can purchase that home you've always wanted in Hawaii, for permanent residency, 2nd home, or investment.  Our market trends are affecting prices for all buyers.  So Search our MLS to look at areas of interest to you, and then let's start looking at properties.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Friday, November 5, 2010

More News on Purchase of Cultural Site in Hawaii Kai from Developer (of Hale Alii)

After I wrote last week about the developer of Hale Alii (Hale Kalai) in talks with 2 local groups to purchase some of the land by the proposed 300-unit luxury condo project at the corner of Keahole Street and Hawaii Kai Drive, the StarAdvertiser ran a story confirming the developer has agreed to sell.

The article stated that the developer "agreed to sell part of the land at the heart of the controversy to a community group for preservation...If completed, the sale will help advance the long-delayed project, which enjoyed early support from the Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board before trouble over the cultural site erupted.

"Under the agreement, the nonprofit Livable Hawaii Kai Hui would buy five acres of the 8-acre project site for $650,000.  The 5-acre parcel is zoned for preservation use and contains ancient Hawaiian petroglyphs and other historical features connected with a pre-contact Hawaiian village.

"The condominium would still be built on the three acres as previously planned, though it is being redesigned. Construction is anticipated to begin early next year, according to the developer.

"'It's a huge turnaround,' said Ann Marie Kirk, a Livable Hawaii Kai Hui member. 'We went from being threatened with being arrested and threatened with lawsuits to a place where the community has a chance to acquire this sacred place in perpetuity. It's pretty amazing. This is so great.'"

The nonprofit hui has partnered with another nonprofit, the Trust for Public Land, to help facilitate the purchase.  The Trust has submitted applications for two $325,000 grants from the state Legacy Land Conservation Program and the city Clean Water and Natural Lands Fund.

The paper quotes Laura Hokunani Ka'akua, native lands coordinator for the trust, who said,  "the site has a rich cultural value given the presence of a heiau complex, ancient dwelling sites, petroglyphs, agricultural terraces, a coconut grove, remnants of a spring-fed well and a wetland that is home to the endangered alae ula, or Hawaiian moorhen.  'This site is really like a treasure,' Ka'akua said. 'It's in the middle of Hawaii Kai, one of the most built-out communities on Oahu. This little 5-acre property, which is walking distance from a Costco, is a reminder of our ancestral past.'

"A stewardship plan will be created to restore and preserve the site, which could include rebuilding parts of the Hawea Heiau complex some historians believe was on the site.  Though state officials believe Hawea Heiau was not located on the site, many other archeological features on the property have been well documented by surveys over the last few decades. Other features are believed to have been destroyed by previous owners of the property."

Read more at (Photo above from the article.)

I'll stay in touch with the project so if you are interested in eventually purchasing in this development, call or email and I'll be sure to keep you up to date.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Friday, October 29, 2010

Sacred Land Adjoining Hale Alii (Hale Kalai) Project in Hawaii Kai May be Sold published a story on the possibilities of the Trust for Public Land and Livable Hawaii Kai Hui purchasing land that has been part of the proposed Hale Alii condo development, at the corner of Hawaii Kai Drive and Keahole Street.  I only know what I read on the post, so will reprint it here as an update to my readers.  If you go to their news page, there is also a video of the Hawaii Kai neighborhood board meeting.

"A Hawaii Kai neighborhood board meeting turned out to be the venue for an update about the future of development near the corner of Hawaii Kai drive and Keahole Street.

“'There is an opportunity here and the Trust for Public Land and the Livable Hawaii Kai Hui are taking steps to purchase the land,' said neighborhood board chairman Greg Knudsen.

"The groups are asking for the board’s support as it negotiates with the owners of the land over the five acre parcel.

"The Hale Alii project was envisioned as a luxury project with some 133 units. But work crews doing initially site work damaged an area considered sacred by some.

“'Parts of the archeological complex were bulldozed and portions of the wetland which is habitat to the endangered alaula bird were filled in, but this new management is apologetic and is looking forward to working with the community group and public,' said Laura Hokunani Ka’akua of the Trust For Public Land.

"The groups say talks are very preliminary and they hope to get the money to buy the land from the state and county. They are encouraged by the turn of events that could keep the land protected for future generations.

“'I think the developers are finally realizing that to have something sacred next to their development actually improves their site,' said cultural practitioner Kaleo Paik."

If you are interested in learning more about the status of Hale Kalai, call or email me and I'll try to get an update for you.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Saturday, October 23, 2010

ReUse Hawaii - a New Way to Recycle

Re-Use Hawaii has the goal of reducing waste in the state, through building material reuse and recycling. The non-profit performs deconstruction projects and offers the materials cheaply to the public.

They stock doors, windows, lighting fixtures, hardware, lumber, and more. Many are leftovers from large construction projects, like Waikiki hotels, which have been donated. For instance, Trump Tower gave them many marble backsplashes which ReUse Hawaii sells for $10 each. Donations are tax-deductible.

Visit or visit the warehouse, 30 Forrest Avenue in Kaka'ako Makai, a neighborhood of downtown. To get there, take Punchbowl towards the ocean, all the way down to Ala Moana Boulevard. When you reach Ala Moana Blvd. turn left onto Ala Moana, and stay in the far right lane. You will be taking your second RIGHT, towards the ocean, onto Forrest Avenue. You'll see signs for the Ports 1&2 as you turn. Take Forrest towards the ocean until you see a giant, grey warehouse with the Re-use Hawai’i logo, in the distance. The port has guard gates, but don't enter through their gates. You'll see two green painted Re-use Hawai'i signs on the chain link fence on either side of the long driveway, leading to the warehouse. Hours are Monday-Friday 8-6, Saturday 9-4.

Re-use Hawai’i has been turning waste into a resource since 2007. They’ve performed over 100 deconstruction projects and kept over 1000 tons of material from entering Oahu’s landfills. Next time you remodel and take away, or want to remodel and find materials, visit the warehouse, call 808-953-5538, or email

They offer a great alternative to filling up the space in our limited landfills.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Roy Yamaguchi Selected for 2010 Hall of Fame, Hawaii Restaurant Assn

Roy Yamaguchi, who started his successful career in his Hawaii Kai restaurant, Roy's, in 1988, now operates more than 30 restaurants worldwide. His reputation for outstanding quality and service has long been established in the Islands. This year, he was selected, among many awards he has won in the last 20 years, for the 4th Annual Hall of Fame of the Hawaii Restaurant Assn.

His web site explains, "In Hawaii, there are two things of equal importance—food and the 'aloha' spirit. The blending of these two dynamic principles is how Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion® Cuisine was born. European techniques and Asian cuisine meet Hawaiian hospitality to create a fine dining experience unlike any other." Anyone who has eaten at one of the 6 Hawaiian Roy's, or 23 on the mainland, or Guam or Japan, will agree.

The presentation of the food, the exceptional service, and Roy's signature exhibition kitchen, in full view, make an evening you will remember and recommend.

Congratulations to Hawaii Kai's own Roy Yamaguchi!

Barbara Abe, Realtor

(photo from archives of Roy's Restaurant)

Buy Local Eggs at our Local Hawaii Kai Farmers's Market

In the 1980s, there were 21 commercial egg farms in the Islands, which supplied 85% of the eggs consumed. Now, there are 4 egg farms. One is Maili Moa in Wai'anae.

They collect approximately 5,000 eggs a day, which they bathe and scrub, sort by hand, place into delivery trays, load in cases, and refrigerate. This process takes about 6 hours.

Until this year, the state had been providing a feed subsidy up to 50% to help support local farmers, but it was cut in 2010. The subsidies had helped not only pay for the feed but also the shipping costs (Hawaii doesn't have a feed mill).

As an alternative, owners of Maili Moa formed a partnership with the public through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). For $22.25/month, consumers can pick up 60 eggs, in various increments, at 4 locations on the island of Oahu, and directly at the farm. One of these is the Hawaii Kai Farmer's Market held at Kaiser High School.

To order, contact Juanita Kawamoto, CSA coordinator, 808-330-6224 or email

For more information on this Farmer's Market (there are several held in Hawaii Kai), visit Makeke O Maunalua Market is open Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Kaiser High School, 511 Lunalilo Home Road, Hawaii Kai. Admission is free.

Let's support our local farmers and shop at these Farmers' Markets. Here's a good blog about other markets in Hawaii Kai.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

(resource: Honolulu Magazine)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Hawaii #2 Top Spot to Live

Where would you like to live?

The Harris Poll has asked this question every year since 1997. While California tops the list of most popular states to live in among Echo Boomers (now ages 18 to 33) and Gen Xers (ages 34 to 45), Hawaii is the top pick for Baby Boomers (ages 46 to 64) and Matures (ages 65 and over). Among Echo Boomers, Hawaii drops out of the top five (they just haven't discovered the Isles yet.)

Here are the top-10 states across age groups:

1. California
2. Hawaii
3. Florida
4. Colorado
5. Arizona
6. North Carolina
7. Oregon
8. Texas
9. New York
10. Washington

Source: Harris Interactive (10/19/2010)

Contact me for a free Relocation Package and to discuss ways you can live the island lifestyle, not just think about it.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Tips on Getting Rid of Mold in your Hawaii Kai Home

Charles Furlough, of Pillar to Post Home Inspections, wrote a very thorough article for RISMedia titled "Breathe Easier: 10 Tips to Banish Mold from the Home." You may think you only have a spot between the shower curtain and tub, and instead could have a more problematic "infestation" hiding behind walls and in floorboards.

Here are some highlights of his post, but read the entire article for a good look at a common scourge of living in the tropics, mold.

"What causes mold? Surprisingly, advanced building materials are one of the main culprits. In the last few decades, buildings have increasingly been made to prevent the infiltration and exfiltration of air, leading to higher humidity levels. The insulation materials used in this type of construction contain cellulose and other materials that lock in moisture. Adding to the problem, many wall cavities are wrapped in plastic, allowing for even more moisture. An aging home is at even greater risk, as normal occurrences like window and roof leaks bring in even more moisture—and moisture is a direct cause of mold. Limited ventilation or sunlight only makes the problem worse, and things can get bad fast—one square foot of moldy drywall can harbor more than 300 million mold spores.

"How do you find the mold in your home? Sometimes it’s easy—it may be right in front of you, or you’ll find it by its distinctly musty smell. Though it’s harder to find hidden mold, you can do so by looking behind and beneath fixed materials and appliances: refrigerators, dishwashers, sink cabinets, washer/dryers, carpets, vinyl flooring—anywhere near where water flows or where air doesn’t penetrate readily. Also, look for signs of discoloration on walls and ceilings; this can denote a moisture buildup behind which mold may lurk.

"Once you find the mold, remove it with a store-bought anti-fungal solution, or get rid of it with a weak bleach solution—1 cup bleach in 1 gallon of water. (If mold exists in an area over 2 square feet, call a professional to have it removed). But even more important than removing it is eliminating as many of its causes and sources as possible.

"Follow these 10 tips to drastically reduce the mold in your home:

1. Call in a home inspection professional to assess water-damaged areas.

2. Keep humidity low. Humidity levels should be under 40% in order for mold to stop its forward march.

3. Replace any carpets and furniture that have ever been significantly damaged (i.e., saturated in water), even if they look OK on the outside.

4. Carpet in the bathroom? Don’t even think about it. And if you have it, get rid of it.

5. Use an air-conditioner during the summer. We know it’s not cheap to run the A/C, but if it’s in the budget, even setting it to 80 degrees when it’s 90-plus outside, will help. Use fans to circulate A/C most effectively. (Or, if you don't have A/C which many Hawaii Kai homes don't, use your fans to circulate air away from moist areas, like the bath.)

6. Dust and clean furniture regularly, and vacuum carpets at least once a week (make sure your vacuum has a HEPA filter).

7. Provide adequate ventilation in hot areas. The kitchen and bath are two of the highest-risk rooms for mold. Install exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathroom.

8. When you’re shopping for house paint for big or small painting projects, ask the sales rep about mold inhibitors you can add before painting.

9. Does your central air system have a fan from the Ford Pinto era? If so, replace it with a high-performance electrostatic air filter. Your local HVAC technician can help withy this.

10. Don’t neglect areas underneath the house—have a professional drain and ventilate all sub-basement areas, especially crawl spaces."

There are 2 kinds of mold. Allergenic mold is found in most homes in some amount, and can cause unpleasant - but not serious - symptoms. Toxic - or black - mold causes many of the same symptoms, but can produce serious symptoms in people with preexisting conditions or compromised immune systems.

So buy some bleach, keep watch for new spores, and follow Furlough's ideas for prevention. If you are trying to sell your Hawaii Kai home, it is even more critical that you remove mold before the buyer's inspection. This will save you money and a possible loss of the sale, when they investigate the extent of mold in your home.

Call or email me with your questions on finding a qualified mold inspector.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Housing Still Perceived as Safe Investment

Fannie Mae’s latest national housing survey finds that most Americans believe the housing market has reached the bottom, but they are more cautious about owning a home. Respondents to the Fannie Mae National Housing Survey believe that home prices will hold steady (47%) or increase (31%) over the next year, and that rental prices will stay the same (46%) or go up (39%). Across the general population, the average expected rise in rental prices is four times that of home prices (3.6% versus 0.9%).

Seventy percent of Americans think it is a good time to buy a house, compared with 64% in a similar survey conducted in January 2010. But 33%—up from 30%—of all respondents said they would be more likely to rent their next home if they were to move.

“Our survey shows that consumers see a mixed outlook for housing and homeownership,” said Doug Duncan, vice president and chief economist, Fannie Mae. “These findings indicate a return to a more balanced and realistic approach toward housing. While this will likely weigh on the housing recovery in the near-term, it should, over time, help to build a stronger and healthier market focused on sustainable homeownership.”

A majority of Americans (67%) continue to believe that housing is a safe investment; however, that number is down 16 percentage points from a similar survey conducted in 2003—the largest drop by far among all investment types tracked since then. Delinquent borrowers and renters are notably more discouraged than mortgage borrowers and underwater borrowers about a home’s safety as an investment and the appeal of buying versus renting. More than 70% of all respondents believe it will be harder for the next generation to buy a home, up three points from the beginning of the year.

Our Hawaii Kai real estate market - and that of Hawaii in general - is somewhat an exception to the national real estate trends. We have a finite amount of land on which to build housing, and goods and services will always be more expensive because of the distances involved. These factors add their own pressures to our housing market. But as the numbers suggest for sales so far this year (read the Sept figures on my Active Rain blog), Oahu and Hawaii Kai real estate sales are already improving. Even as prices fluctuate, buyers still see the value in owning a home in Hawaii Kai or somewhere in the islands.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Friday, October 8, 2010

Hawaii Kai September Real Estate News

It looks like the downward spiral of the last 2 years for real estate prices is in full reversal, which is good news for sellers. Buyers should start looking and get preapproved for a loan.

Hawaii Kai Real Estate Statistics

Single Family (2009 numbers in brackets)
September - 20 closed sales (24), $930,000 median price ($832,500), 39 median days on market (57), 83 homes on market month-end (89)
Year to Date - 144 closed sales (130), $830,000 median price ($780,000), 26 median days on market (56)

Condos (2009 numbers in brackets)
September - 16 closed sales (19), $550,000 median price ($525,000), 40 median days on market (60), 58 homes on market month-end (56)
Year to Date - 155 closed sales (132), $525,000 media price ($490,000), 19 median days on market (69)

Visit the Hawaii Kai Market News page on my web site for details on specific communities and the high and low sales for the month.

As reported in an interview with the StarAdvertiser, a recent Hawaii Kai buyer said, "To me the time is now to buy if you can. Interest rates are at a phenomenal low, and prices are starting to creep up from the two-year trough. It's an opportune time."

I agree completely. Call or email me to talk strategy and start previewing homes.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Friday, October 1, 2010

Hawaii Real Estate Taxes are a Great Bargain

As reported by, Hawaii's real estate taxes, as compared to other states, rank 2nd compared to values.

Using U.S. Census data, the nonprofit Tax Foundation has uncovered where the highest property taxes in the country are paid relative to the median value of the homes. Some of the locales may surprise you.

New Jersey came in first, and New Hampshire, which has no state income tax, had the next-highest real estate taxes as a percentage of home values.

Louisiana had the lowest median taxes compared to property values. The second-lowest taxes compared to values are in Hawaii.

Here’s the list of the top 10 states with the highest median real estate taxes as a percentage of median home value as well as the ranking of states with the lowest.

States with the highest taxes:
1. New Jersey (1.89 percent of property value)
2. New Hampshire (1.86 percent)
3. Texas (1.81 percent)
4. (tie) Wisconsin (1.76 percent)
4. (tie) Nebraska (1.76 percent)
6. Illinois (1.73 percent)
7. Connecticut (1.63 percent)
8. Michigan (1.62 percent)
9. Vermont (1.59 percent)
10. North Dakota (1.42 percent)

States with the lowest taxes:
1. Louisiana (0.18 percent)
2. Hawaii (0.26 percent)
3. Alabama (0.33 percent)
4. Delaware (0.43 percent)
5. West Virginia (0.49 percent)
6. South Carolina (0.50 percent)
7. (tie) Arkansas (0.52 percent)
7. (tie) Mississippi (0.52 percent)
9. New Mexico (0.55 percent)
10. Wyoming (0.58 percent)

Another reason to live Hawai Kai!

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Source: 2009 U.S. Census Data and Tax Foundation calculations

Finding a Rental with your Pet in Hawaii Kai

I'm often asked about rentals, both by folks relocating from the mainland and locals. Many people think all Realtors handle property management (very few do) and that if you are an experienced and knowledgeable Realtor in a specific community, like Hawaii Kai, you should be able to suggest rental resources (we should). Often people relocate here, rent for a year or two to learn the areas, and then buy a home. So being up-to-date on the rental market is an advantage both for me and for new residents.

Finding a rental you want and a property owner who wants you is complicated by having pets. I offer extensive information on my web site for Hawaii pet owners (For Pet Lovers), and the Hawaii Humane Society offers an online guide to all the pet-friendly condo complexes. In addition, here is a recent blog post in Honolulu Magazine's Real Estate Blog, by Jenny Quill, which offers excellent tips for renters with pets.

From someone who should know - Jenny has a dog - she states, "Honolulu is not a particularly pet-friendly place for would-be renters, which is odd given the fact that, according to the Hawaii Humane Society, more than 60% of Oahu households have pets. For every 15 [rental} listings, there’s only one that allows pets, and it’s either cost prohibitive or comes with a myriad of restrictions (size limit, breed limit, outside-pets only)."

Two web resources she suggest are
1. Hawaii Humane Society has a service to connect landlords with pet owners, its Pets in Housing Program
2. Pets OK is a local matchmaking fee-for service that looks for pet-friendly rentals and emails the homes to would-be renters

After her own frustrating search, she developed some proactive steps you can take to find a pet-friendly home to rent:
  • "Try contacting a property manager or realtor who may be able to point you in the right direction.

  • Demonstrate Fido’s or Fifi’s good temperament by obtaining references from previous landlords, neighbors or homeowners’ associations, as well as your pet’s trainer, day care or kennel.

  • Provide a certificate of health from your veterinarian that shows your pet is up to date on vaccinations and flea and tick prevention.

  • Put everything in writing. A verbal agreement that pets are allowed on the premises is not enough.

  • Offer to sign a pet addendum that states that you will be held responsible for any damage, pest infestation or injury to others. The Pets in Housing page has an easy-to-use template form.

  • Offer to allow the landlord to meet your pet, ideally in your current, sparkling-clean rental."

I hope this helps, and that you will consider buying a home in Hawaii Kai when you and your pet have experienced our lifestyle and decide our community is the place for both of you.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Friday, September 24, 2010

US Home Sales Rise in August

According to the National Association of Realtors, existing-home sales rose in August following a big correction in July. Existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 7.6% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.13 million in August from an upwardly revised 3.84 million in July, but remain 19.0% below the 5.10 million-unit pace in August 2009.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said home sales still remain below expectations. "The housing market is trying to recover on its own power without the home buyer tax credit. Despite very attractive affordability conditions, a housing market recovery will likely be slow and gradual because of lingering economic uncertainty," Yun said. He added, "Home values have shown stabilizing trends over the past year, even as the economy shed millions of jobs, because of the home buyer tax credit stimulus. Now that the economy is adding some jobs, the housing market needs to steadily improve and eventually stand on its own."

First-time buyers purchased 31% of homes in August, down from 38% in July. Investors rose to a 21% market share in August from 19% in July; the balance of purchases were by repeat buyers. All-cash sales slipped to 28% in August from 30 percent in July.

Figures for the Hawaii Kai real estate market in August were very positive. Call or email me to look at some properties, while the rates remain at historic lows.

Barbara Abe, Realtor


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Hawaii Kai Planned Development in Kalama Valley

On my web site in July, Hawaii Kai Local News, I reported on the proposed development in Kalama Valley, just over the hill from the main center of Hawaii Kai, of 26 duplex units near the Hawaii Kai Golf Course.

The Honolulu Dept. of Planning and Permitting this last week approved a cluster housing permit for the 26 homes. As designed, the homes would be 1,600 - 1,900 SF constructed in one duplex and 6 4-plex buildings up to 24' high. On an included half acre, developers would build a recreational facility with a pool.

The developer is Pololei Partners LLC, a company formed in 2007 and managed by James McWhorter of Orem, UT. The 2.9 acres of land is owned by Plate Lunch Properties LLC, managed by Bob Gerell and Bill McCorriston. According to the Staradvertiser, Gerell has developed other Oahu projects, including Aloha Tower Marketplace, Enchanted Lake Center, and Maunakea Marketplace.

The paper reports, "In recent years much of Gerell's work has been in Hawaii Kai, sometimes acquiring land and obtaining entitlements then selling the project to another developer for completion. The 60-home Kaluanui subdivision and 35 homes across from Safeway in Hawaii Kai were built this way. Gerell, along with McCorriston, was also involved with a now-stalled plan for a Hawaii Kai cemetery, and a derailed plan to build 180 vacation cabins and recreational facilities on the hills above Hawaii Kai Golf Course and Kalama Valley."

Not all Hawaii Kai residents are enthusiastic about the increased density. Community opposition to any development there dates back to the 1980s, when the land was scheduled as an extension of Hawaii Kai Drive running by Queen's Beach and including hotel and condos in addition to the golf course. This uproar eventually led to the preservation of Queen's Beach and the Ka Iwi Coast, recently confirmed by Gov. Lingle. The proposed project borders 9+ homes which have enjoyed scenic views of the golf course for many years, and which would loose that view.

In its decision, the Dept. of Planning and Permitting branch showed no concern over the development, regarding it as "in-fill development encouraged by the city's East Honolulu Sustainable Communities Plan. The city in its approval subjected the project to several conditions, including increasing the space between buildings to better maintain the character of the neighborhood and provide more mauka-makai views," as explained by the Staradvertiser (see their article for a map of the area.)

If you have an opinion on this development, contact your Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board representative, or the Department, or even the mayor's office to find out what will be the next step in the approval process.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Monday, September 6, 2010

Hawaii Kai Home Sales, August, 2010

Real Estate sales in Hawaii Kai in August continued the upward price trend of the last few months. Nothing is really more graphic than this chart provided by Altos Research (on my web site, Market News page) showing Honolulu:

Prices for HONOLULU


In August, 2009, 18 condo sales ranged from $378,000 (9th Floor, Commodore, 2/2) to $740,000 (3/2, waterfront, Kala Kai Marina).

In August, 2010, 15 condo sales posted a low of $365,000 (16th Floor, Heritage House, 2/2) to $1,030,000 (marinafront, Kalele Kai, 3/2.5).

Kalele Kai, the prestigious complex in West Marina, has not seen a sale over $870,000 in the last year. This complex routinely commands the highest sales prices of condos in Hawaii Kai. So it is significant that this home - oversized at 2210 SF interior with 674 SF wrap-around lanai - broke the million mark again.

Single Family home sales also show significant price increases.

15 sales in August, 2009 ranged from $550,000 in Koko Head Terrace (4/2/2, 1904 SF) to $1,135,000 in Triangle (4/3, 2,005 SF, lot 10,822 SF).

This year, in August, 2010, 21 sales ran from $517,000 in Kalama Valley (attached home, 3/2, 3,914 SF lot, 1,252 SF home) to 2 sales at $2,700,000. One was a beautiful view home in Koko Kai, 5 bedrooms/4.5 baths, 4,859 SF interior, 21,818 SF lot. The other was an oceanfront in Portlock, on a 17,515 SF lot, built 1944.

With the economy still struggling, no Realtor can say with assurance that we've turned the corner. But prices have undeniably increased in the last 12 months in Hawaii Kai. Good news for sellers - if you are a buyer, contact me now to start looking at homes for sale in Hawaii Kai.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Hawaii Kai Golf

In the words of a blog on golf vacations in Hawaii, "The problem with playing golf in Hawaii is distraction. Not too many people can concentrate on their backswings with the crystal blue waters of the Pacific to their right, a palm-lined fairway in front, a brilliant azure sky above, and a steady, relaxing breeze all around." If you want to play a few holes even with the "distractions," our Hawaii Kai Golf Course is the perfect location.

The Hawaii Kai Golf Course, a short drive around the base of Koko Head and past Sandy Beach, actually offers you two courses. Opened in 1973, the Championship course measures 6500 yards from the championship tee and features wide fairways, large greens with well placed bunkers and beautiful scenery. The course boasts the largest greens in the state with deep bunkers surrounding the greens. The coastline along this area of Oahu is probably the most beautiful on the island.

Every tee on the Championship Course offers a view of the Makapuu Cliffs, Pacific Ocean and the rugged eastern Oahu coastline. Wind is a significant factor and the gusts can take the spin off downwind shots and create a club selection problem on those holes where the golfer is playing into the wind. For most golfers who are not accustomed to playing the course, there is a tendency to under club on the ten holes which play into the wind.

Take a look at the course layout and scorecard on the course page.

The Executive Course, designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr., was opened in 1962. It is a 2223 yards , 54 par 3 layout that is characterized by small, undulating and sloping greens. The design requires emphasis on the golfer's putting and chipping skills, providing a challenge for even the most advanced player.

This course snakes up the base of the Makapuu Cliffs, offering views from every hole of the extinct Koko Head Volcano and one the most picturesque panoramas on Oahu. The greens are always in excellent condition at Hawaii Kai and tend to be fast especially in the summer months. Of course , tradewinds are always a factor, because the courses are close to the water and face the direction of the trades.

Take a look at the course layout and scorecard on the Executive Course page.

Hawaii Kai Golf Course also offers a pro shop, restaurant, driving range, and lessons. Details:
8902 Kalanianaole Hwy
Honolulu HI 96825
T: 808-395-2358
F: 808-395-7726

Here are their directions:
"Take H1 East which leads to Kalanianaole Highway ( Route 72). Continue on passing Hanauma Bay, Halona Blowhole and Sandy Beach on your right. About a mile past Sandy Beach, you will see a two-story building, the Hawaii Kai Club House on your left. A sign indicates the entrance to the golf course. Should you proceed beyond Hawaii Kai Golf Course, you will soon come to Sea Life Park on your left, famous for their dolphin and seal shows."

(note - Sea Life Park isn't quite that close. You have to go around Makapuu Point first, where you will often see whales in the winter months.)

There are many golf courses on Oahu. Visit for a complete list with site links.

As you drive through Hawaii Kai on your way to the golf course, be sure and take a look at our homes and community. Hawaii Kai is unique in the Islands and you can find real bargains now in condos or waterfront properties. Request my free Relocation Package, and call or email with your questions on how to live close to our Hawaii Kai Golf Course.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Friday, August 20, 2010

Enjoy Kona Brewing Company in Hawaii Kai

Next month, the Kona Brewing Company releases its annual Pipeline Porter, a dark ale mixed with local Kona coffee. With 2% of the average amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee, you won't have to worry about the beer keeping you awake. The brew is available September-March.

Their web site describes the beer: "Pipeline Porter is smooth and dark with a distinctive roasty aroma and earthy complexity from its diverse blends of premium malted barley. This celebration of malt unites with freshly roasted 100% Kona coffee grown at Cornwell Estate on Hawaii’s Big Island, lending a unique roasted aroma and flavor. A delicate blend of hops rounds out this palate-pleasing brew."

The company believes in sustainability and green business practices. It has reduced its bottle weight by 11% this year, employs a sustainability coordinator, and produces the certified-organic Oceanic Organic Saison.

Rich Tucciarone is the brewmaster at Kona Brewing Company. He is a judge at the Great American Beer Festival, to be held this year in Denver, and World Beer Cup, the world's largest-ever commercial beer competition.

Enjoy the variety of beers offered at the Hawaii Kai location of the Kona Brewing Company, in the Koko Marina Center, enroute to Hanauma Bay, 7192 Kalaniana'ole Hwy. This is a full-service restaurant on the Hawaii Kai marina, and features a state-of-the-art beer delivery system with 24 taps.

Yes, we have an enviable lifestyle in Hawaii Kai. Request my free Relocation Package, and call or email me for information on Hawaii Kai real estate.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Friday, August 13, 2010

Hawaii Kai Forum for Mayor and City Council Candidates

Aug. 31, at the regular meeting of the Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board, Hahaione Elementary School, Mayoral and City Council District 4 Candidates will participate in a forum for the public. The Board will hold its meeting from 7 - 7:30 PM, and then open the forum until 8:30 PM. The public is invited to arrive at 6:30 to meet and talk with the candidates before the forum.

All 8 candidates for mayor and 7 for City Council have been invited. The election for both is Sept. 18.

Beth-Ann Kozlovich, host and producer of Hawaii Public Radio’s “Town Square,” will serve as moderator.

The Board is asking the public to submit questions for the candidates in advance. Questions may be sent to by August 27.

The Board will hold another candidates forum at its September 28 meeting. That forum will include state legislative candidates in Senate Districts 8 and 25 and House District 18, and Board of Education candidates in all Oahu races.

This is an important election, so do try to attend.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Kamilo Nui Farmers in Hawaii Kai Face Steep Lease Increase

We've been wondering for a couple of years how the lease negotiations for the 13 farmers in upper Kamilo Nui Valley would resolve. Now we know.

Kamehameha Schools recently notified its farm tenants that it is seeking a roughly 25-fold increase in rent. The trust, Hawaii's largest private landowner, believes the offer is fair because the farmers have been paying rent set in the early 1970s. The farm leases call for rent to be reset now for the 15 years remaining on the leases. Kamehameha Schools spokesman Kekoa Paulsen said the trust wants farming to continue on the land, but also wants to receive fair market rent based on agricultural use. "We feel we're presenting fair values for the time and the area," he said. "They've been paying 1970s rents for 40 years."

While the farmers have been paying a rent set many years ago, that doesn't mean they can now afford such a large increase to keep their land. Many of the farmers, some of whom are in their 80s, say they cannot handle such a drastic hike, especially at their age and with the economy the way it is. They now face a rent increase from around $200 an acre per year to around $5,000 an acre per year, according to tenant and landlord representatives. The old rental rate expired July 1, so the revised rate will be retroactive.

Not only will the new lease price change the lives of many of the farmers, but if they leave or retire, this will no doubt influence the future use of the last undeveloped valley in Hawaii Kai. 40 years ago, the farmers were moved to Kamilo Nui Valley from other locations in Hawaii Kai, and they formed a coop to pay for the infrastructure of roads and water.

As reported in the StarAdvertiser, "Paulsen said the proposed rent is based on appraisals for farmland in the broader area. He added that similar lease rent increases were proposed for seven farms about a mile away behind Kaiser High School and that five tenants agreed on new lease rents within the last 18 months. Two of the 13 Kamilo Nui Valley farmers have agreed to new lease rents since the trust made its opening offer in a June 9 letter, Paulsen said.
'This is not a take-it-or-leave-it proposition,' he added. 'This is the beginning of the (rent negotiation) process.'

"Other new terms being proposed by Kamehameha Schools include allowing farmers to sublease parts of their farm, which would help older farmers generate more income, and receiving half of any proceeds if farmers sell their leasehold interest in the property. The trust, however, is not offering to extend the term of the lease beyond 15 years or sell the land to its tenants.

"Paulsen said Kamehameha Schools is not trying to push farmers off the land before their lease ends. 'We want farmers to be there,' he said. 'We want farming to continue on that land.' Beyond 15 years, Paulsen said it is uncertain what the trust would see fit to do with the property."

Read more at the

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Hanauma Bay in Hawaii Kai to be a Maintenance Priority

Honolulu City and County officials say they have a plan to repair and maintain the facilities at Hanauma Bay, which are in disrepair with some projects delayed for years. The city will take a more proactive approach by creating a weekly maintenance checklist.

Acting Honolulu mayor Kirk Caldwell says the city is well underway with repairs and that starting Tuesday, a new plan is in place. "On a weekly basis, we'll be getting a checklist of all the different areas of this bay that need to be properly maintained, and so when something is not working, we will know about it more quickly, in a more timely manner and it will be addressed and fixed in real time," Caldwell said.

"We believe we need to do a better job, that's what we've done now, we've got a checklist in place, we're going to be doing it on a weekly basis, when we find things that need to be repaired, it will be repaired," Caldwell continued.

Hanauma Bay repairs are funded by $5.9-million each year in non-resident fees, parking and concession dollars.

While maintenance needs are constant, the island treasure attracts almost a million visitors a year. A lot of these folks stop in Hawaii Kai en route, so it is in our community's interest to keep the tourist facilities in good condition too. We are pleased the City will be more active in protecting this beautiful Oahu natural attraction.

Barbara Abe, Realtor


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hawaii Kai and Oahu July Real Estate Statistics

Oahu Single Family

Sales stayed flat for the month and over the last 2 years. Number of sales for July this year was 268, last year 266, 2008 - 268.

Year-to-date, the sales were higher than both of the last 2 years. Number of sales for the year was 1,747, for last year 1,377, and in 2008 - 1,670.

Median Sales Price also stayed almost flat for the last 3 years for July. Median price in July this year was $605,000, in 2009 $595,000, and in 2008 $620,000.

Year-to-date, median sales price is up from 2009, but not yet back to the levels of 2008. For the year, median price is $585,000, for 2009 $575,000, and for 2008 $625,000.

Days on Market show significant improvement, both for the month and year-to-date. For July, average DOM was 39, in 2009 - 45, and 2008 - 53.

Year-to-date, average DOM improved to 32 this year, down from 52 in 2009, and 50 in 2008.

Inventory of homes is also showing a steady and healthy decrease. At the end of July, there were 1,577 homes for sale on the island, in 2009 - 1,929, and in 2008 - 2,406.

These numbers equate to 6.3 months' supply this year, 9.6 months last year, and 9.5 in 2008.

Oahu Condos

Sales dropped from June and 2008. Number of sales for July this year was 320, last year 343, and 2008 - 471.

Year-t0-date, sales showed a healthy jump over last year. Number of sales for the year was 2,338, for last year, 1,718, and 2008 - 2,631. So condo sales are still below 2008 levels.

Median Sales Price for condos is below 2008, but recovering. Median price in July this year was $299,000, in 2009 $307,250, and in 2008 $332,750.

Year-to-date, the median price is slightly below the last 2 years. For the year, median sales price is $304,000, in 2009 $305,000, and in 2008 $330,000.

Days on Market dropped for condos also, both month-month and year-to-date. For July, average DOM was 36, in 2009 - 56, and in 2008 - 29.

Year-to-date, average DOM was 32 this year, down from 55 in 2009, and 39 in 2008.

Inventory of condos is also showing a steady decrease. At the end of July, there were 2,046 units for sale on the island, in 2009 - 2,479, and in 2008 - 3,017.

These numbers equate to 6.0 months' supply this year, 9.3 months last year, and 7.7 in 2008.

Hawaii Kai Real Estate Statistics

Single Family

July 2010 vs July 2009

New Listings - 40 vs 28
Closed Sales - 20 vs 19
Median Sales Price - $810,000 vs $799,000
DOM - 37 vs 31
Inventory of homes - 94 vs 119

Year to Date 2010 vs 2009

New Listings - 217 vs 199
Closed Sales - 103 vs 91
Median Sales Price - $812,500 vs $757,500
DOM - 25 vs 49


July 2010 vs July 2009

New Listings - 18 vs 23
Closed Sales - 25 vs 18
Median Sales Price - $559,000 vs $526,000
DOM - 28 to 81
Inventory of units - 44 vs 68

Year to Date 2010 vs 2009

New Listings 168 vs 166
Closed Sales - 125 vs 93
Median Sales Price - $525,000 vs $475,000
DOM - 18 vs 78

If you would like the full reports, just let me know and I can email them in .pdf format. The numbers through July look very encouraging, both for Oahu and Hawaii Kai homes. Don't wait until prices start rising again significantly to look for your Hawaii Kai property.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Friday, August 6, 2010

Why You Should Buy Now in Hawaii Kai

Recent government reports indicate the economy is starting to stabilize and the real estate market along with it. In Hawaii, at least in Hawaii Kai, our home prices seem to be inching up, even while rates stay at historic lows. Put together, this means a great time to buy.

As reported by RISMedia, here are some specific reasons why you should consider purchasing a home now in Hawaii Kai.

1. Low mortgage rates can absorb some fluctuations in the recovering housing market. When rates go up, buyers will realize equity with their initial investment.
2. More houses are in move-in condition. We have our share of foreclosures, where sellers have walked away and the bank stepped in with only minimal repairs. But other sellers, even in short sale situations, have kept their houses in good shape in order to compete. And they are motivated to sell.
3. Inventory remains high. In Hawaii Kai, there are waterfront and view homes on the market priced at unbelievable figures. You can make your dream - of a 2nd home or permanent residence in our Hawaii Paradise - come true for a lot less than a couple of years ago.
4. Appraisals are becoming aligned with the Hawaii housing market. Fannie Mae has adjusted its appraisal guidelines, so appraisers have more flexibility to arrive at values which reflect the current Hawaii Kai real estate market. This gives an accepted contract a higher chance of achieving a successful close.
5. There are financing programs available. Contact me for ideas on state and federal assistance for buying your new Hawaii Kai home.

If nothing else, take a look at what you can buy for the price you can afford - then you can decide if now is the right time for you to purchase in Hawaii Kai. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at what is available.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Wine Tasting Coming to Roy's Hawaii Kai Aug. 11

On Wednesday, August 11, 6:30-8:30 p.m, Roy's Restaurant presents an evening with seventeen leading wineries from across the country at the flagship Roy's Hawaii Kai.

Held last year for the first time, and a great success, Roy's has decided to make the event an annual affair. The wine tasting, which is normally only open to industry professionals, will feature more than 90 labels. This is a rare opportunity for wine enthusiasts to experience some really great American labels.

Chefs from Roy's will create pupus. As reported by Honolulu Magazine, suggested menu selections include Frying Dragon Ahi Tartare, Hiramasa Poisson Cru, Grilled Szechuan Spiced Baby Back Pork Ribs, Kulana Beef, Shiso Pesto Scallops, Balsamic Marinated Lamb Tenderloin, Yuzu Pesto Shrimp Scampi Forks, Lup Cheong Dynamite Stuffed Oysters, Truffle Hamakua Mushroom Risotto Cakes, Duck & Foie Gras Sliders, Wild Boar Sausage, Crispy Chicken Potstickers, Lobster & Waimanalo Corn Pudding, Hot Iron Seared Misoyaki Butterfish and Cheese & Paté.

Participating wineries include:
Plumpjack Winery (Napa Valley)
Cade Winery (Napa Valley)
Domaine Serene (Willamette Valley, Oregon)
Duckhorn Wine Co.
Duckhorn Vineyards (Napa Valley)
Paraduxx (Napa Valley)
Goldeneye (Anderson Valley)
Miner Family Vineyards (Napa Valley)
Handley Cellars (Anderson Valley)
Selby Winery (Sonoma County)
Robert Biale Vineyards (Napa Valley)
Jeriko Estate & San Greal Winery (Mendocino County)
Bonny Doon Vineyard (“Earth”)
Paradigm (Napa Valley)
Truchard Vineyards (Carneros/Napa Valley)
MacRostie Winery & Vineyards (Sonoma County)
John Anthony (Napa Valley))
JaM Cellars (Napa Valley)
Landmark Vineyards (Sonoma Valley)
Vino del Sol

Price per person is $65, including tax and gratuity. The evening promises to be a memorable event for wine connisseurs and casual tasters alike. Call Roy’s Hawaii Kai at 808-396-7697 or e-mail for reservations.

As readers of this blog know, Roy's started in Hawaii Kai, and is one of our best-known restaurants. We have others though - plan on spending some evenings trying our eateries and looking at real estate while you are enjoying our Hawaii Kai lifestyle.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Help Literacy in Hawaii Kai

An Oahu literacy group is conducting a get-out-the-vote campaign in hopes that Hawaii can once again win a national contest and get thousands of free books for needy children.

First Book Oahu is directing people to the First Book-Cheerios Trivia Challenge at For each correct answer, the participant gets one "vote" for the state of his or her choice. The five states with the most votes will get 20,000 books to distribute in their state. (Hint - make the web site a favorite on your desktop and click it every day.)

Local residents and supporters made Hawaii the national winner of 50,000 new books for needy children last year.

This year, First Book and Cheerios have teamed up with best-selling children's author Jon Scieszka to distribute 100,000 new books to kids in need across the country.

Scieszka is also the founder of Guys Read, a nonprofit organization dedicated to motivating boys to read by connecting them with materials they will want to read, in ways they like to read, according to the First Book website.

The books will be distributed through community-based programs serving children in need. To be eligible, at least 80% of the children the programs serve must be from low-income families, and the programs must sign up with First Book at its online registration page,

The contest runs through Aug. 31, 2010. Urge families and children you know to take the Trivia Challenge so Hawaii can again be the national winner.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

(resource - StarAdvertiser)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Hawaii Kai is Finish Line for Molokai 2 Oahu Paddleboard Champtionships

This Sunday, July 25, will be the 2010 Molokai 2 Oahu Paddleboard competition, felt by most in the sport to be the World Champioship of Paddleboard Racing. The event has become the single most iconic event in the paddling community.

Both Stand Up Paddling and Paddleboarding champions from around the world will compete to test their athletic ability against the 32-mile crossing of the Ka'iwi Channel. At its deepest point, the channel is over 2300 feet deep and creates a funnel effect that shoots billions of gallons of seawater between the islands each hour. This venturi effect, combined with trade winds blowing roughly in the same direction, creates seas that can range anywhere from 8 feet to 15 feet on a average day, and upwards of 20 feet on an extreme day.

Because of the danger the Ka'iwi presents, each athlete is required to have an escort boat and support crew to accompany them across the channel. The first stand up paddleboard and prone paddleboard athletes across the channel will be crowned a World Champion, and the finish line is the Hawaii Kai beach park in Maunalua Bay.
The course begins at the north shore of Molokai and ends on the south shore of Oahu. It is the ultimate test of endurance – no engines or sails, just a paddler and the propulsion power of his/her arms. Top paddlers can ride swells for 100s of yards, and must navigate across open ocean at the same time. The record crossing time is 4:45:03, set by Jamie Mitchell in 2004.

Visit for videos and photos of this exciting race. (Photo above courtesy of this web site.)

This is an exciting event. The Hawaii Kai community always supports the racers and residents are there in large numbers to cheer the finishers. If you live on Oahu, come out and join us. If you don't - but would like to live in Hawaii Kai - call or email me and let's discuss how you can be part of our Hawaii Kai lifestyle.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Saturday, July 17, 2010

How to Downsize in Hawaii Kai

Buying a home in Hawaii Kai is not always easy to afford, and you may have to downsize in order to enjoy our Hawaii Kai lifestyle. Many of us realize only after we have bought the big house and stuffed the closets with clothing and the garage with toys that we have too much stuff and too many financial obligations. Unwinding ourselves from these habits can be challenging. Here are some ideas.

1. Make incremental changes. Look around and ask yourself what you can get rid of without regretting your decision. If you are keeping something for just sentimental reasons, and you don't use it, it can probably be given away or recycled.

2. Think about what you want, not what you’re supposed to want. Justify the decision to you, not the world, if you are selling a larger home for a smaller one. The Joneses will probably follow you.

3. Save your money. You won't make much interest right now, but you will make more than if you spent it.

4. Fewer fixed expenses equals more freedom. Just ask the sellers who got out from under a mortgage they couldn't afford or someone who has finally paid off a large credit card debt.

Hawaii Kai offers homes and prices for everyone, but that waterfront estate on Maunalua Bay may only be for some buyers. Call or email me and let's find what you can afford. Remember, rates are still at historic lows and prices and inventory still support a buyer's market. You can enjoy the Hawaii Kai lifestyle!

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Hawaii Kai Vets Offer Low-cost Microchips for Pets

Veterinarians on Oahu are partnering with the Hawaiian Humane Society to offer low cost microchipping of pets. Throughout August, participating vets from Waianae to Hawaii Kai will offer the service for just $5.

A microchip typically costs $25. Participating veterinarians are waiving the cost of the doctor's visit so that dogs and cats can receive the microchip implant at a substantial discount.

Sponsored by the Hawaiian Humane Society, which provides the microchips to islandwide clinics, the August promotion aims to reduce the number of lost pets in the community.

Participating Microchip Madness veterinary clinics are as follows:

Aina Haina Pet Hospital
Animal Clinic of Honolulu
Animal Hospital of Hawaii
Animal House Veterinary Center
Blue Cross Animal Hospital
Cat-Bird Vet Mobile Hospital
Feather and Fur Animal Clinic
Haiku Veterinary Clinic
Island Veterinary Clinic
Kailua Animal Clinic
Kalihi Pet Clinic
Kapalama Pet Hospital
King Street Pet Hospital
Kokua Pet Clinic
Makai Animal Clinic
Newtown Veterinary Clinic
Ohana Veterinary Clinic
The Cat Clinic
The Pet Doctor
VCA University Animal Hospital
Wahiawa Animal Hospital
Waianae Veterinary Clinic
Waipahu-Leeward Veterinary Clinic

Contact me with your questions about relocating to Hawaii Kai with your pets.

Barbara Abe, Realtor


Saturday, July 3, 2010

Jake Shimabukuro Performing for Hawaii Kai Fireworks Show

Jake Shimabukuro will be performing tomorrow, July 4, at Maunalua Bay, in the Fireworks Show. According to Show and Tell Hawaii, he is also offering a free download of his beautiful tribute piece to the 442nd Infantry Division’s 100th Battalion, "Go for Broke," at his website,

He composed the tune, reaching back to his small-kid-time memory of the 442nd’s Club 100 hall near his grade school, Ala Wai Elementary, to honor the most highly-decorated U.S. unit in military history.The tune will be part of Shimabukuro’s unnamed new CD, due in August.

“Go For Broke” is the trademark motto and battle cry by the Island soldiers to give it all they had to risk everything, including their lives, to honor their country amid the challenges of the wartime battlefront. The slogan was popular during post-war Hawaii, particularly to boost morale and fighting power.

The Maunalua Bay Fireworks display in Hawaii Kai has become a tradition. Be sure and enjoy it from the Bay or good vantage point in the hills.

Come join our Hawaii Kai lifestyle and use this opportunity of low rates and low prices to invest in Hawaii Kai.

Barbara Abe, Realtor