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