Saturday, February 26, 2011

Hale Ka Lae in Hawaii Kai Ready for Buyers

The new luxury condominium project, Hale Ka Lae, has held its public open house and broker's open, and is now accepting statements of interest from buyers.  Please let me know if you want more information.  The developer is letting buyers bring their own agents, if they are represented by the Realtor from their initial visit.

"Ka Lae" in Hawaiian means "the point" which could refer to the location, on the point of Hawaii Kai Drive, or a more symbolic meaning for the development itself.

Community features will include
  • Lap pool
  • Lagoon-style pool
  • Extra storage, big enough for surf boards
  • Private theater with stadium seating
  • Indoor golf simulator
  • Acoustically-insulated entertainment center
  • State-of-the-art fitness center
  • His and hers saunas
  • Rooftop lanai with BBQ dining pavilions
  • Outdoor lounge area with jacuzzi
  • Private dining room
  • Library
  • 3 visitor guest suites
  • Adjacent to 5-acre park
  • Concierge services
  • Gated and secure
There will be 4 individual enclaves with their own elevators, outdoor lanais, central air, energy-rated windows, top-of-the-line interior materials, gourmet kitchens, and luxurious baths. 

Hale Ka Lae will also be pet-friendly!.

I'll keep you informed of updates, and please call or email me if you have an interest.  I'd be pleased to email you copies of the floor plans and more details on the residence features.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Hawaii Kai Elementary Schools May Survive the Budget Ax

The Department of Education has proposed redrawing the attendance boundaries of Koko Head Elementary and Hahaione Elementary, in order to keep the schools open, and take those numbers from Aina Haina Elementary, which is now over enrollment.  While the proposal presented at a public meeting a couple of weeks ago was enthusiastically supported by parents who wanted to keep both schools open, the most recent discussion was criticized by some Kuliouou parents.

DOE earlier had said any students now enrolled would be grandfathered, and exceptions could be made for siblings.

Calvin Nomiyama, Kaiser complex-area superintendent, told parents he understood the concerns and agreed change wasn't going to be easy. But, he added, the shift would benefit students across the complex.  "Do we want to shut down high-performing schools?" he asked parents. "I wouldn't be here if times weren't so hard. From where I sit, I have this tough call to make."

The consolidations discussion is part of a statewide review of small schools to cut costs.  So far, the state has closed two schools but spared six others on the possible closure list, including the two high-performing schools in Hawaii Kai, Koko Head and Hahaione.

It certainly is never easy to try and please everybody!  Stay tuned for the DOE decision.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Working with a Professional Realtor more Important Now than Ever Before

A recent study conducted by a multiple listing service in New Jersey reported 95% of consumers felt working with a real estate professional is just as important, if not more so, than it was even a few years ago.  The survey, Keepin' It Real, can be found on the MRIS web site.

Most consumers understand that now is not the time to complete a real estate transaction on their own.  The market is too unsettled and prices too variable neighborhood to neighborood.  In order, they ranked the following qualities as critical in choosing an agent:
  • Trustworthiness
  • Experience
  • Willingness to look out for a client’s interest
  • Expertise in negotiating contracts
  • Responsiveness
  • Familiarity with contracts
  • Knowledge of the local community
Additionally, 68% of buyers and sellers rated their agents 6 or 7 on a 7-point scale. 48% found their agents by a referral. 80% said they would in turn recommend their agents.

Consumers today want more than simple guidance.  They can search homes for sale and community information extensively online, but want an expert they trust to take them through the entire process of buying or selling real estate.  Yet, despite all of the tools and resources available, when it comes time to actually buy or sell a home, there is nothing more valuable than the industry knowledge, expertise, and guidance a real estate professional offers.

I've been living and working in Hawaii Kai for more than 20 years, and can give you the insider view of all our communities.  Call or email to ask me your questions about Hawaii Kai real estate.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Homeownership Still a Large Part of the American Dream

A recent survey conducted by, on American attitudes towards homeownership, showed conclusively that we still feel homeownership is part of the American Dream.  “Contrary to popular belief, the American Dream of homeownership has not turned into an American nightmare," said Pete Flint, CEO of Trulia.

Conducted by Harris Interactive, the survey of 2,079 adults 18 and over, found 70% view homeownership as part of their own American Dream, and 78% feel their homes are the best investment they ever made.

Although many of today’s young adults came of age during the recent housing crash, 26% say their views on owning a home have become more positive over the past six months. 88% of 18-34 year old renters aspire to be homeowners, making this new generation of buyers crucial role in the stabilization of today’s real estate market.  While these buyers are in no hurry to purchase. 70% of renters in the Western region plan to buy a home eventually.

“During the housing bubble, the American Dream of homeownership was beyond reach for many young adults. Stuck with student loans and entry-level jobs, many had resigned themselves to being lifelong renters. But the tide is changing—Millennials are now today’s most serious home buyers,” said Tara-Nicholle Nelson, Consumer Educator for Trulia. “Unjaded and largely untouched by the effects of the housing crash, this new generation of buyers will no doubt lead America from its current housing slump towards true recovery.”

In our Hawaii Kai real estate market, there are million dollar estates and affordable condos.  Call or email me and let's talk about options for making your American Dream of Homeownership come true.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Monday, February 14, 2011

Update on Hale Ka Lae, New Condo Development, Hawaii Kai

Last week I stopped by the Broker's Open given for Hale Ka Lae, the upscale new condo development that has been so many years in the making, at 7000 Hawaii Kai Drive.  Here is the latest news.

In Phase 1, there will be 242 "beautifully crafted condos designed for the modern lifestyle and energetic spirit."  Floor plans are "generous" - 992 - 1233 SF for a 1 bedroom/1.5 bath home ranging to 2,886 SF for a 3 bedroom/3.5 bath penthouse unit.

If what they promise does come true, Hale Ka Lae will be quite lovely.  Kitchens feature top-of-the-line Miele German appliances, and the entire home will be "upgraded" so there will be no additional upgrades to purchase.  The kitchens and baths are gorgeous (samples in the showroom).

Prices start at $685,265 for a one bedroom and go up to $3,393,568 for the 3/3.5 penthouse.

Feb. 19 is the launch date for their web site and going public.  Please let me know if you have an interest, so I can sign you up on their list.  Remember, to have a personal agent in new construction, that agent (hopefully me) needs to be involved from the very first interest you show.  Watch here for follow up posts on the construction and progress of Hale Ka Lae.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Friday, February 11, 2011

Demographic and Economic Forces in the Hawaii Real Estate Market

Even in the paradise we call Hawaii, a recession, which is creating consumer behavioral changes, is colliding with shifts in the demographic distributions of the population.  These forces will affect the real estate market both at home and in the rest of the country, and indeed, worldwide, in unforeseen and extraordinary ways.  Americans who have dealt with the spectre or reality of job loss, home loss, and declining real estate values are justifiably skeptical about the benefits of homeownership.  The financial impacts of the housing crisis will take years to disappear from the country's real estate markets.  In addition, Americans have to consider options unrealized in the last generation.

As reported by, in an article by, "The Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University reports that real median household incomes across all age groups under 55 have not increased since 2000. It’s been posited that this will be the first decade in 40 years where real median household incomes will end lower than where they started. This has the biggest implications for the baby bust generation (born 1966-1985) as they approach what should be their prime earning years, and for younger baby boomers who will be facing a vacuum of demand from younger generations when they want to retire, sell the family home and downsize. Over-building and spiking foreclosures have already produced an over-supply of large suburban homes for which there is little demand or ability to purchase. Gen X and Y will not do much to help solve this problem.

"Aging boomers will be reluctant to sell their homes for two reasons. One, they may be underwater on their mortgages and waiting for the market to rebound and two, they are healthier than their parents’ generation and will likely delay the move to retirement community living. Only time will tell if a market will exist for their homes when they are ready to sell. However, the income constraints and lifestyle demands of a shifting population may dictate a very different future.

"The Gen Y population, or echo boomers (born 1986-2005), the largest pool of renters, is now in their prime rental years, but many have found themselves jobless with no way to pay the rent. Forced to move in with mom, dad or friends, this twenty-something crowd has been hard hit by the recession. Nonetheless, they are poised to redefine the American dream for generations to come. When employment growth returns, they will be a key driver of rental demand.

"All in all, there are some big changes afoot in the housing market that shifting demographics will continue to amplify. The changing needs of an aging baby boomer population as well as the demands of the burgeoning Echo Boomer generation will require that the real estate market respond in new and different ways."

Forecast demographic shifts will bring dramatic changes to the housing market.  Both retiring baby boomers and maturing echo boomers are expected to move away from suburbs into more urban, mixed use, mixed age areas with a sense of community, easy access to services and transportation.

However, achieving this dream for the younger segments may be financially out of reach.  The over-built suburbs have been the hardest hit by home devaluation, and so represent the greatest values for would-be homeowners.  Urban living may be financially out of reach.  For Generation Y'ers who prefer an urban lifestyle, it is not clear yet how this economic conundrum will be resolved.

The RISMedia article concludes, "What is clear is that the growth of an economically challenged echo boomer generation will make affordable housing even more important.."

Our housing market in Hawaii is unique in the country, because of the supply/demand equation of increasing housing with the limited resource of buildable land.  Our climate and lifestyle encourage immigration, but our isolation brings greater living and building costs.

I certainly don't pretend to see into the future.  The next decade or two will bring together forces of change which will affect much more than the real estate market.  I do feel, however, that being aware and up-to-date on Hawaii housing values and neighborhood changes will make you a wiser investor or seller, when you do decide to enter the real estate market.  Call or email me if you'd like to talk about your own community and sales trends in the Islands.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Where to Recycle your Hawaii Kai "Stuff"

Honolulu Magazine published a useful article about where to give away extra stuff left after the Christmas holidays and during that end-of-year housecleaning.  As our landfills fill up, reuse and recycle becomes ever more important.

Batteries - Home Depot stores accept cell phone, power tool, rechargeable, and alkaline batteries.  Best Buy will also accept batteries (see below).

Bikes - Donate any bike with good, usable parts to Kalihi Valley Instructional Bike Exchange (K-VIBE), a non-profit bicycle shop and intervention program for the at-risk youth of Kalihi Valley.  1638 Kamehameha IV Rd.  808-791-9480.

Blankets, Towels, Pet Supplies - Hawaiian Humane Society needs old linens and pet supplies like leashes and toys.  2700 Waialae, 808-946-2187.

Building materials - Re-Use Hawaii accepts lumber over 5' in length, doors, windows, sinks, bathtubs, new tile, cabinets, hardware, and lighting fixtures.  Materials must be pest-free, mold-free, without termite damage, and reusable.  The non-profit offers a pickup for large amounts, or drop off at their warehouse, 30 Forrest Ave, 808-953-9949.

Electronics - Best Buy inkjet cartridges, recycles fans, vacuums, DVD players, home and car stereos, cell phones, MP3 players, cables and TVs. 

Eyeglasses - the Lions Club, WalMart, Costco, LensCrafters, Sunglass Hut, and Sears Optical all take used prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses.  Visit Costco will also take used hearing aids.

Paint - Honolulu Habitat for Humanity accepts new, unopened, unrusted cans of latex paint or stain.  They sell the cans at their ReStore in Waipahu to support their efforts in the construction of new homes for low-income families.  ReStore also accepts donations of usable household items to sell or use in its business.  94-559 Uke'e St, 808-538-7070.

Most everything can be donated at the monthly, traveling Aloha Aina Earth Day held at various island locations by participating schools and nonprofits.  Contact Rene Mansho, 808-306-1876,

Thanks to Honolulu Magazine's January issue for this information.

Barbara Abe, Realtor