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  • Monday, July 06, 2020 3:38 PM | Karin Shaw (Administrator)

    Thank you to our Government Affairs Committee who diligently worked on interviews for 2020 Mayoral candidates.   View the interviews here!

  • Friday, June 19, 2020 3:25 PM | Karin Shaw (Administrator)

    The newly established Charitable Foundation of Hawaii REALTORS® donated $12,500 to the Hawaii Island Food Basket. A check was presented to Kristin Frost Albrecht, Executive Director, and Marshall Akaumu, West Hawaii Operations Manager of the Food Basket, by Don Watson, Director, Hawaii REALTORS® Charitable Foundation;  Andee Bemrose, 2020 President, West Hawaii Association of REALTORS® and Dennis Yates, 2020 President, Hawaii Island REALTORS®  today during the monthly Ohana Food Drop at the Kona Community Aquatic Center in Kailua Kona. The funds were part of a $50,000 donation by the state association to benefit the community food banks on each island. 

    “We are honored to be able to contribute these funds to help families and individuals in need who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19”, Don Watson, Don Watson Realty, and Board member for the HAWAI‘I REALTORS® Charitable Foundation stated. “We encourage all REALTORS® on the island to donate to the Foundation so we can continue to help our Ohana in our local communities.”

    The REALTORS® provided the check to the Food Bank and greeted and thanked the members of the National Guard and volunteers from the Lion’s Club and Hawaiian Airlines who help package and distribute produce and food during the monthly community food drive-thru site program. 

  • Thursday, June 04, 2020 3:50 PM | Karin Shaw (Administrator)

    Number of Sales Drop as Prices Increase In West Hawaii

    As the West Hawaii real estate industry has buckled down to deal with the COVID-19 crisis, the market has seen a marked drop in inventory and sales, but yet, the median price of single family homes has increased, as homes over $700,000 have outsold available lower priced inventory.

    Information from the locally sourced, “Griggs Report” states that there is low inventory and low sales numbers in the price range below $700,000.  The big year over year change is the increase in sales over $700,000, where the percentage has jumped from 41% to 51%.

    Island wide, the number of sales have dropped in double digits in all communities.

    Number of Sales

    According to statistics from Hawaii Information Service for North Kona, sales of single family homes are down 56.67% from 60 homes sold in 2019 to 26 sold in 2020. Condos are down 69.77% year over year with 43 condos sold in May 2019 vs just 13 in May 2020.

    In South Kohala, residential sales are down 83% year over year where 36 homes changed hands in 2019 and only 6 closed escrow in 2020 in May. Condos sales dropped 66% month over month from 30 sales in 2019 to 10 in 2020.

    Median Sales Price

    The median sales price for a single-family home in North Kona is $735,000, a 16.57% year over year increase since May 2019. Year to date, the median sales price has jumped 17.41%.  For condo sales, however, prices have fallen 14% from $355,00 in May 2019 to $305,000 in 2020.

    In South Kohala, home prices have risen 21% year over year from $569,500 to $693,000. The condo median sales price rose 17% from $530,000 to $622,500, but keeping in mind only ten condos sold during the month.

    Nationally, the lack of available inventory, as sellers are holding their properties off the market due to the pandemic, combined with historic low interest rates and pent up demand compounded with a shortage of new homes being built, is driving prices up.

    Locally, demand from mainland buyers is still evident, but many are holding off buying until they can sell their homes and then purchase in West Hawaii and many would-be buyers want to view the homes for themselves before purchasing.

    The Griggs Report is published semi-monthly by Michael B. Griggs, PB, GRI

  • Monday, May 11, 2020 9:33 AM | Karin Shaw (Administrator)

    West Hawaii home sellers can take a deep breath. Despite the eager wishes of would be home buyers, home prices are ticking up during this corona virus crisis—instead of down, according to April statistics from the Hawaii Information Services.

    According to the May 3, 2020 Griggs Report, the higher end price range of $900K to $1.5M has the largest increase in sales year over year. There has been an increase of 31 homes sales in that price range while the total number of home sales is up 14% from the previous 12 months. Pending sales have declined Island wide.

    HIS stats show that the median price for single family homes in North Kona increased by 17.64% month over month and 17.43% year to date. Condominiums increased by .54% month over month and dropped 4.42% year to date. Condos took a big hit in sales for April with a 62% decrease. 59 condos sold in April 2019, while only 22 changed hands in 2020.

    West Hawaii is not alone with our market trend. From, "The slight increase in prices is because prices are 'sticky,'" says Chief Economist Danielle Hale. "Home sellers are strongly resistant to lowering prices.”

    That does not mean prices won't eventually fall, and many experts predict they soon will. In looking at days on market in North Kona and when homes that recently sold went under contract, many homes that closed in April, were in escrow in February, before the pandemic. Furthermore, many buyers are not able to get to Hawaii Island to look for homes. We may find that buyers will refuse to pay top dollar given the sharp economic downturn that has resulted in more than 30 million layoffs thus far.

    Inventory has been extremely tight in West Hawaii for years. Then the pandemic hit, and the supply of properties declined as some sellers took their homes off the market. The Griggs Report states the number of new listings plummeted 43.1%.

    Because of pent up demand, the homes that recently have hit the market are selling and there are quite a few “back on market” homes courtesy of sellers wishing to capture the continued interest of people looking to buy in North Kona.

    The Griggs Report is published semi-monthly by Michael B. Griggs, PB, GRI

  • Friday, April 24, 2020 11:08 AM | Karin Shaw (Administrator)

    To help our members prepare for the re-funding of the CARES Act, NAR created an informative video featuring quick-acting REALTORS®, with businesses of various structure and sizes, who successfully obtained Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Business Loans and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) from the first round of funding. In the video, you’ll hear directly from these members and NAR Advocacy staff to learn how to navigate the Small Business Administration website, what forms to have on-hand when applying, and tips for finding a lender in your area. View the video at here

  • Tuesday, April 14, 2020 3:16 PM | Karin Shaw (Administrator)

    In an historic joint presentation to three REALTOR® associations on two islands, prominent Hawaii economist Paul Brewbaker provided his insights on the impact of COVID-19 on the Hawaii economy, the real estate market, and prospects for Kauai and Hawaii Island specifically.

    Brewbaker gave a wide-ranging hour-long live presentation to over 500 members and worked with home sales and active listing data through March 30, 2020.

    As you know everything was fine until four weeks ago, and then we went off a cliff together,” Brewbaker said. “But for the contagion, really nothing was fundamentally wrong with the economy.”

    He discussed the COVID-19 pandemic as a “Black Swan” event -- rare, unpredictable, and impactful, like the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001, the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008, and the global equity market meltdown in late 2018 as the result of the U.S.-China trade war.

    “These events are worth remembering,” Brewbaker said. “They’ve never been as big as the one we’re experiencing right now, but when things go back to normal, normal will still have these shocks.”

    He noted that Hawaii had just had its own “Black Swan” event with the 2018 eruption of Kilauea’s east rift zone in Puna. “The East rift zone eruption was a speed bump in increasing valuations,” Brewbaker said. “If you’re willing to bet that whatever made the neighbor islands attractive will continue to be factors influencing investor decisions going out into the 2020s, there’s no reason to believe a path like this couldn’t be restored.”

    The key question put to Brewbaker was what the future would look like for Hawaii real estate. “If you say you’re doing forecasting right now, you’re not,” he said, noting that the current situation is of a scale never before observed. “But, I would expect a pull back in sale volumes and some compression in valuations.”

    He was optimistic about some of the changes seen across the industry, such as transaction acceleration through paperless, all-digital tools, and the adoption of virtual tools for property showings and other work. He said, we might also see shift toward less dense, less urban communities.

    When asked when things would stabilize in a “new normal,” Brewbaker said a lot depends on what Hawaii does right now.

    “If we get the daily case counts down, we implement contact tracing, isolation, and quarantine, maybe in a year -- maybe in 18 months -- we’ll reach the day when a version of herd immunity or a vaccine becomes available,” he said. “But my own impression is that the state is not leading as much as following, and not following fast enough.”

    Following Brewbaker’s presentation, he answered questions from REALTORS® during the video conference, then provided written answers to the remaining questions. Click here for the recorded video of his presentation, Download his presentation slides here, and find the written answers to your questions here.

  • Thursday, April 09, 2020 2:08 PM | Karin Shaw (Administrator)

    March 2020 was on par to be just as fast paced as January and February, which were already reflecting some of the best sales West Hawaii has seen in years. However, by mid March, the market slowed due to the corona virus outbreak. 

    As visitors were asked not to travel to the island until April 30th, many plans were placed on hold to purchase a home. Listings were pulled off the market to halt the continuing days on market and 21 listings saw price adjustments. 

    A clearer picture of the impact of the pandemic on the market will be more prevalent in the April statistics. 

    According to statistics from the Hawaii Information Service for March 2020, the median price for a single family home in North Kona was $764,000, a year over year increase of 15%, while condo prices in North Kona, which jumped 20% in January, were down 13% year over year from $375,000 to $323,000.  Sales of single family homes were down 17.5% and condos were down 17.95%. 

    South Kohala was having a banner month, with 23 vacant land sales in 2020 vs just 3 in 2019. 30 homes sold this year compared to 19 last year, a 57% increase year over year. The condo market was strong with 27 sales in both 2019 and 2020. Prices however, for single family homes dropped 13.65%. Condo prices rose 65%, from $440,000 in 2019 to $727,000 in 2020. (The numbers are a little skewed as there were six condo sales near the Mauna Kea that were $1.2 million and above)  

    Island wide, the median sales price of a single family home increased 8.82% and condos rose 9.33% year over year, and rose 15.44% year to date for single family homes and 6.99% year to date for condos. 

  • Thursday, April 02, 2020 4:45 PM | Karin Shaw (Administrator)

    28 WHAR members joined the first virtual talk storyon Thursday April 2 at 10 am. President Andee Bemrose moderated, where the members received a mortgage update from meeting sponsor, Dave Cotner, American Financial Network, followed by a list of new homes on the market, needs and wants, and then an open discussion on the local real estate market.

    Mortgage Update:

    Dave discussed the issue of homeowners looking for a safety net in the form of forbearance, where the Federal government is offering homeowners with mortgages underwritten by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac an opportunity to put their mortgages on hold from anywhere to 30 days to a year.  Dave said there has been a lot of misinformation in the media about forbearance and the misconception people may have about it being “mortgage forgiveness”, which it is not. He stressed that the real estate community should use this time to reach out to homeowners to let them know there are ramifications for signing on to any forbearance program which include balloon payments, drop in credit scores, and in what may be some cases, forced foreclosure when the homeowner can't catch up on the missed payments and the bank calls the whole note.

    He mentioned that mortgage servicing companies are overwhelmed with calls right now as people flock to see if they can receive deferred payments on their loans. 

    Dave asked that everyone share that homeowners should talk directly to their servicer's to learn more and remember that making continuous payments is always best and beware of thinking that free money is available.


    The discussion among the attendees also turned to the Small Business Administration loans for small business owners and independent contractors through the recently approved CARES act. Government Affairs Committee member, Tanya Powers, encouraged people to visit Brian Schatz’ Facebook page to get up to date information and links to the applications for the loans. Here is more information, as well.

    Difficulty in removing tenants

    Arnie Rabin brought up topic around a 1,700 sq. foot, $825k home on 3 acres in Captain Cook he has listed. The home has a tenant and under the recent rules around eviction, that the tenant cannot legally be asked to move if the buyer does not want to continue using the property as a rental until the COVID-19 eviction rules are removed.

    Market Discussion:

    Realtors discussed they are seeing people who are uncertain in buying a home right now due to a loss of income.  The issue of how many listing price reductions have been made in the past few weeks was discussed with Realtors saying anywhere from 25-95 from what they are hearing. Kiana from First American said she saw 11 cancellations in three days. While Derinda Thatcher said she heard of 21 price reductions, 22 withdrawals, but also 12 open escrows. She said she saw these split evenly with buyers coming from mainland and locals. She stressed that sales can still be made and people are looking for opportunities, and when things settle, the market will be good.

    Brianna from Title Guaranty said their office is still open by appointment and that the guidelines were still in place. She mentioned that they were awaiting word to see if e-signatures could be allowed so the whole transaction could be completed without a wet signature. Barbara Welsh said that Hawaii just approved E-notaries this week.

    Brianna reported more purchases than refinance transactions, and has seen few cancellations.

    COVID-19 Safety

    The discussion then turned to staying safe and avoiding contracting or spreading COVID-19. Realtors discussed the importance of wearing masks to keep you from touching your face, and using social distancing.

    Upcoming: Webinar with Paul Brewbaker

    Karin Shaw announced that local economist, Paul Brewbaker, will be offering a free economic update for Hawaii Island next Thursday at 11 am directly after the next WHAR “Talk Story” Zoom caravan. A link will be available in the next newsletter.

    Next Zoom Talk Story-April 9th at 10 am

    Please attend the next meeting on Thursday the 9th and be part of the discussion! We will record the meetings and have the link available on the WHAR website if you cannot be there in person to participate.

    If you participate, you can put a link to your new listings in the chat section so members can simply click to see what you have on the market.

    WHAR is working hard to provide you with timely and valuable information during this public health episode.

  • Thursday, April 02, 2020 4:35 PM | Karin Shaw (Administrator)

    Resources for Hawai'i During the Coronavirus Pandemic

    Brian Schatz’s website:

    We’re working hard to respond to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Congress recently passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (click here) and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (click here). As a result of this legislation, the federal government is now offering several resources to support our families and our local businesses during this public health emergency. 

    For information on federal resources for governments, health care providers, educators, and non-profit organizations, click here.

  • Thursday, March 26, 2020 1:32 PM | Karin Shaw (Administrator)

    WHAR is offering a scholarship for the Hawaii Association of REALTORS® Leadership Academy (HARLA).  Download the application here! Email completed application to

    HARLA is a program crafted by Hawaii Association of REALTORS® for Hawaii REALTORS®. Students will join their peers in a series of powerful retreats to improve all aspects of leadership skills such as communication. Media training, team-building, goal-setting, and more.  HARLA graduates have used what they learned to take on leadership roles in businesses, communities, or within local, state, or national REALTOR® associations.

    Click here for more information.

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West Hawaii Association of REALTORS®
75-5995 Kuakini Hwy., #221, Kailua Kona, HI 96740
Phone (808) 329-4874 Fax (808) 329-5191

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