Friday, March 25, 2011

Sales of Hawaii Kai Condos in March

I'm holding a beautiful waterfront unit with boat dock in Kalele Kai open house this Sunday, March 27, and thought I'd catch up on other condo sales this month so far in Hawaii Kai.

Out of a total of 10 sales since March 1, three have closed in Kalele Kai.  One for $545,000, a 2/2 of 1,424 SF, and one for $605,000, a 2/2 of 1,424, SF.  The highest sale was $1,075,000, a very large unit of 2,222 SF with a 354 SF lanai, one of only ten townhomes in this prestigious complex.

Lalea reported two sales in March, one a 3/2.5 townhome for $543,000, and the other a 2/2 for $460,000.  Lalea is a pet-friendly complex close to the post office and off the main thoroughfare of Hawaii Kai Blvd.

Two sales also closed in Nanea Kai, one 2/1.5  for $540,000 of 1,179 SF, and the other a 3/2.5 townhome for $615,000 of 1,582 SF.  Nanea Kai is a new complex, built in 2003, with low maintenance fees.

One unit sold in Mawaena Kai, one of my favorite Hawaii Kai condo complexes, waterfront with great views.  This home was 3/2 with 1,296 SF interior area, and sold for $710,000 FS (many units are still LH).

The last 2 sales were one each in Mt Terrace, and Naniwa Gardens, both high rise buildings with panoramic ocean views.  All units in Mt Terrace are 2/2, with central air and no lanais.  This home sold for $675,000.   The Naniwa Gardens sale was  a 2/2 unit of 1,238 SF, with a small lanai, that sold for $469,000.  Both of these buildings offer excellent amenities.

Our market is active, loans are available, and prices are slowly rising.  Call or email me to look at some of these view condominiums for sale in Hawaii Kai.  Read about all of our Hawaii Kai condo complexes with a free report from my web site, on the condo page.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Farmer's Land in Kamilo Nui of Hawaii Kai still under negotiation

An article in the March 17 reported that the lease rent negotiations between farmers and landowner Kamehameha Schools in East Oahu’s Kamilo Nui Valley are still in the talking stage and have not gone into arbitration.  The leases came up for renegotiation July, 2010.

"Kamilo Nui Valley farmers were initially offered a proposal that would increase their lease from $200 an acre per year to about $5,000 an acre per year, according to the tenants and landlord.  Farmer Glenn Nii, representing his family including his father and mother, said a different proposal by Kamehameha Schools is on the table."  He said 10 farmers have joined as a group to negotiate, and half of the families have members in their 80s and 90s.

According to the article, Nii said that "Besides lease rents, farmers face other costs, including insurance and labor.  He doesn’t think the 25-fold increase for farmers is reasonable, even though residential rents are considerably higher.  'If a quart of milk costs $1 about 40 years ago, does it cost $25 today?' he said."

The older farmers have been leasing land from KSBE for 60 years, and just want to live out their lives on their land.  Nii and others feel the estate should consider the sustainability of agriculture and its value to the community.  Many residents in Hawaii Kai support them, hoping to stop future large-scale development in the scenic Kamilo Nui valley.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Using a Mobile Phone to Call 911 from a Condo Building

There was an interesting article in the about someone calling 911 from a mobile phone.  The person needing help was eventually located, but not until the police and ER workers went door to door in the condo building looking for the caller.

Here is what happened, so you will know for your own emergency planning, or of a loved one who lives in a condo building.
  • The call came from a mobile phone, the caller gave the address, but said "I don't know" when asked for the apartment number.
  • If the call is made from a land line, both the apartment number and address will be shown.
  • When the call is made from a mobile phone, it uses "reverse-GPS" so only the addresses transmits.
"Bottom line: The emergency system does have an accurate way to track 911 calls if an exact location is verbally given or if the call is made on a land line.  But if a call is made from a mobile phone and information is sketchy, it's more difficult."

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Clean Up of Maunalua Bay Successful

A clean up of Maunalua Bay organized by the Nature Conservancy and Malama Maunalua, paid for by Federal stimulus funds of $3.4 million, cleared reef-suffocating algae from 23 acres.  Volunteers and organizers have hauled away 2.9 million pounds of algae since 2009.  The invasive algae has spread since 1981 to more than 54 acres of healthy coral reef.  All of the algae collected has been turned into compost for local farmers.

According to the, "Work is expected to continue for about two more months. The project was completed under budget and created 75 jobs. Another 3,000 community members and hundreds of students from 12 schools donated their time."

The Maunalua Bay reef restoration project partners also include the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and natural resources management company Pono Pacific Land.

(Photo courtesy of
Barbara Abe, Realtor

Cash Buyers & Hawaii Real Estate

In 2010, approximately 12% of Hawaii buyers paid cash for single-family homes, about 33% for condo sales; and 70% for vacant land.   This compares to 28% for cash home sales nationwide.  The housing markets hit hardest by the economic downturn had the highest percentages of cash transactions.

What does this mean for our Hawaii real estate market?  The cash sales could indicate several trends.  1) that investors are more active in the market; 2) that loans are harder to get, without large downpayments and excellent credit; 3) loans for land and condotels (a large portion of Waikiki sales, for instance) are historically hard to find.

If you have cash, should you use it for a real estate purchase?  With the dismal rate of interest banks and CDs & money market instruments are paying now, the bet on real estate appreciation seems a good one.  We all know that it is a buyer's market; sellers are motivated; rates are predicted to rise.  And in the Oahu real estate market, many areas seem to have turned the corner to increased prices and decreased inventory and days on market - Hawaii Kai for one.

Paying cash gives you a good negotiating position, especially for a bank-owned or short sale property.  The attraction of a quick close and no buyer qualification can be very strong for the lender.  If you are considering a higher-priced property, negotiating for a 10% cash premium can be a big savings in the purchase price.

Seven of the 10 most-expensive single-family home sales in 2010 were bought for cash, including the highest, a $22-million Kahala home.   So if you have the means, consider getting in our Oahu and Hawaii Kai real estate market now, to take advantage of the edge you will have as a cash buyer.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Real Estate Market Activity for Hawaii Kai & Oahu, February, 2011

The real estate market posted positive trends for both Hawaii Kai and island-wide in February.  A graph provided by the Honolulu Board of Realtors shows a steady increase in sales on Oahu for the past 3 years, both in February and year-to-date, and for both single family homes and condos.

Let me know if you would like a complete copy of the comprehensive statistical analysis of our Oahu real estate market. I can email you a .pdf file with charts and graphs, or you can request one on my web site.  Read a synopsis on my Active Rain blog.

Hawaii Kai real estate statistics showed a leveling off in February, but not a decline.  Both Single Family and Condo sales in Hawaii Kai were slow in February, with 7 home sales and 14 condos closed. This compares to 2010 with 7 home sales and 6 condo closings.

Single Family
The 7 sales ranged from $684,000 for a 3/1.5 in Koko Head Terrace to $1,600,000 for a 4/3.5 on a 10,613 SF lot in Kamehame Ridge.  There were 2 sales in Koko Head Terrace, and three of more than $1,000,000. These million-dollar sales were in NaPali Haweo, Spinnaker, and Kamehame Ridge.

The low sale was a FA unit in Mawaena Kai for $448,000, 3/2 with boat slip, main level. The high sale was $785,000 for a waterfront home in Koko Isle.  Of the 14 sales, 3 complexes had the highest number. Colony at the Peninsula, Kuapa Isle, and Lalea each had 2 sales.

As the peak real estate season approaches in Hawaii, I'd like to announce that I have upgraded the search features on both my web sites, (Search the MLS) and (Home Search).  Please try them out and see if they suit your needs.  I'd like your feedback so I can be sure and tailor the search functions the way you, my web visitor, would like.  Aloha,

Barbara Abe, Realtor