Kamuela, HI Real Estate News

By Beth Thoma Robinson, R(B) SFR - Hawaii Island Luxury Resort Real Estate
(Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers Big Island)
Plenty of room for an ocean view pool off lanai of this Moani Heights residence at Mauna Kea Resort (MLS 240915) The Uplands at Mauna Kea--the portion of the resort mauka of the highway, offers an entry point for the under $2 million buyer.  Besides the condos at Kumulani and Wai'ula'ula, there are individual ocean view residences for sale at Wai'ula'ula and at two small gated enclaves. A second home just came on the market at Moani Heights, offering residential buyers two excellent choices at this Mauna Kea resort community.  At under 3,000 sq ft, the homes at Moani Heights are sized just right as carefree second homes, or as full time residences for a couple in the empty-nest phase who want to enjoy the amenities of a world-class resort. The 2300 sq ft home pictured above is offered ...
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By Beth Thoma Robinson, R(B) SFR - Hawaii Island Luxury Resort Real Estate
(Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers Big Island)
  Mauna Lani Terrace is situated on the resort's famous fish ponds...this photo taken from the path to the Beach Club There are discerning buyers who tell me they consider Mauna Lani Terrace the most desirable condominium property on the Kohala Coast. It was the first condominium complex built at the Mauna Lani Resort, and therefore grabbed the best location, walking distance from the Mauna Lani Beach Club and hotel. With many of the current owners having purchased long before the recent real estate boom, the short sales and REOs that plague newer projects have not affected prices at Mauna Lani Terrace or nearby Mauna Lani Point. While some owners may have refinanced at the peak, that is just one more reason for sellers to hold firm on their asking prices. Consequently, there is never m...
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By Beth Thoma Robinson, R(B) SFR - Hawaii Island Luxury Resort Real Estate
(Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers Big Island)
Last Tuesday (Feb 15) I heard from a buyer client who'd made unsuccessful offers on several Kohala Coast condos during their visit last year.  He's coming back next month and still looking for a screaming deal.  "If you were to pick the 3 best at Mauna Lani what would they be?" he asked. I named these three: An REO (bank-owned post foreclosure) at Fairways at Mauna Lani for $469,900--priced exactly where others of the same floorplan have recently sold. A pre-auction property for sale at the Islands at Mauna Lani, $507,115 list price. The lowest priced 2BR unit at Mauna Lani Point, which has no ocean view but is a stunning Peggy Chestnut remodel for$839,000. That was on Tuesday.  On Thursday, the Fairways at Mauna Lani was in escrow (18 Days on Market).  On Friday, the Islands at Mauna L...
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By Beth Thoma Robinson, R(B) SFR - Hawaii Island Luxury Resort Real Estate
(Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers Big Island)
  When you sell real estate for Hualalai Realty but you need to live closer to the schools in Kamuela for your young children, where do you choose to live?  A friend and colleague of mine is facing just that puzzle. We spent the weekend brainstorming about the choices in properties for sale on the Kohala Coast. He and his family have narrowed it down to just two oceanfront communities:  Halii Kai at the Waikoloa Beach Resort, and the small community of Puako, nestled between the Mauna Lani Resort and the Mauna Kea Resort. Buying Oceanfront in a Buyer's Market The appraisers tell us that in a buyer's market, "location premium" gets squeezed.  What that means is that the premium a buyer would pay (and a seller receive) for oceanfront or ocean view real estate, relative to a similar proper...
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By Beth Thoma Robinson, R(B) SFR - Hawaii Island Luxury Resort Real Estate
(Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers Big Island)
A month ago I wrote about the dwindling inventory of property for sale at several of the Mauna Lani Resort condo communities.  I mentioned that two of the four remaining sub-$1 million listings had gone into escrow, and that as we were heading into the high season for resort real estate on the Kohala Coast, that suggested higher prices were in sight.  Villages at Mauna Lani is an interesting case in point. Only one of the larger Maile floorplan remains on the market Furnishings have now been removed, but the built-in grill remains at this Villages at Mauna Lani condo (MLS 225701) Almost immediately, the sellers of the only available Maile floorplan increased its asking price from $845,000 to $885,000.  The logic?  At the current list price it would not be a short sale. They were encoura...
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By Beth Thoma Robinson, R(B) SFR - Hawaii Island Luxury Resort Real Estate
(Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers Big Island)
Yahoo! I just got a call saying I'd won a door prize for attending last week's broker event at Ka Milo at Mauna Lani Resort. Feels like I'm having a flashback, as this level of optimism about the Kohala Coast real estate market is something we haven't seen in the past couple of years. ' Many prospective buyers comment the Ka Milo neighborhood feels more residential than condominium. The broker party (catered by nearby Tommy Bahama restaurant) actually celebrated two events. The development had been under a cloud for the past year due to a foreclosure action by their lender, inhibiting sales of the last few units of standing inventory as well as preventing them from breaking ground on their next phase of construction. With Alexander and Baldwin coming on board as a partner, the financial...
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By Beth Thoma Robinson, R(B) SFR - Hawaii Island Luxury Resort Real Estate
(Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers Big Island)
Last year's short sale and foreclosures for sale at Wai'ula'ula luxury condos at the Uplands at Mauna Kea Resort were very competitive, with bidding wars and multiple offers. The first REO (bank-owned) Wai'ula'ula condo offered for sale sold as predicted in "O days on market".  Of course it helped that the pricing was aggressive.  Offered at $742,500, the lucky winner paid $770,000.  Comparable units sold for $900,000 and $975,000 last year, and although the higest priced one sold turnkey furnished (to my business partner Pam Deery's buyer), not every buyer cares to pay a premium for location and furniture! View from Wai'ula'ula H102, bank-owned property just listed for $869,900. The "road" is internal to the complex and homes will be built on the other side of it, with no impairment to...
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By Beth Thoma Robinson, R(B) SFR - Hawaii Island Luxury Resort Real Estate
(Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers Big Island)
The geographical area where I do most of my real estate business runs from the resorts of the Kohala "Gold" Coast up to the rural northern tip of the Big Island of Hawai'i, past the towns of Hawi and Kapa'au. The two-lane highway parallels very close to the oceanfront during the stretch from the Kohala Waterfront subdivision past Kohala Ranch on the mauka side, until about the park at Mahukona. That makes it one of my favorite places to spot whales as I drive by in the winter season...and of course the buyers of properties for sale along this stretch will get to watch whales all day long! Oceanfront public access at Kaiholena is walking distance from the highway for up-close whale watching. During the past year large chunks of the coast were acquired for conservation purposes, extending...
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By Beth Thoma Robinson, R(B) SFR - Hawaii Island Luxury Resort Real Estate
(Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers Big Island)
It is shocking to see how quickly the inventory of condos for sale at the Mauna Lani Resort is shrinking! There are four newer (post-2000) condominium projects at the Mauna Lani Resort on the north side between the Shops at Mauna Lani and the Fairmont Orchid hotel: Villages at Mauna Lani and Fairways at Mauna Lani on the makai (ocean) side of the street; Kulalani and Ka Milo on the mauka (mountain) side of the street. My Hawaii Life team has closed sales at each of these projects this year at very attractive prices: a short sale at Fairways, developer sales at Kulalani and Ka Milo (and a pending short sale at Ka Milo-fingers crossed!), and just a great deal closing today at the Villages. The problem is, we still have a number of buyers here on Island and scheduled to visit over the next...
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By Beth Thoma Robinson, R(B) SFR - Hawaii Island Luxury Resort Real Estate
(Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers Big Island)
Over the weekend I was juggling four incoming offers on three different listings, a buyer client in town and multiple showings on other listings in both my North Kohala real estate and Kohala Coast condo markets.  Oddly enough, we had three "lowball" offers come in (two on the same property) because the prospective buyers believed the press that this is a "dead" market and a "dead" season of the year! The two sweet spots seem to be the entry-level residence in the Hawi - Kapaau area, and the price point under $1 million in the condo market. As I was working on counteroffers, I pulled the following statistics: There are currently 34 condos showing as "contingent" in the Mauna Lani and Waikoloa Beach resorts. Of those, two are REOs and 20 are short sales.  That leaves 12 properties - over...
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By Beth Thoma Robinson, R(B) SFR - Hawaii Island Luxury Resort Real Estate
(Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers Big Island)
Villages at Mauna Kea near the beach for $2,500,000 after another price reduction Listed for $3.5 million at the beginning of 2009 in the doldrums of the Hawaii real estate market, the latest price reduction of $300,000 brings this 2BR/2.5BA 2,684 sq ft villa to a competitive price of $2,500,000--although maybe not good enough for my "best buy" list. The Villas at Mauna Kea are vintage resort (20-year young) paired home condos located just behind the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. Competitive with what, you might ask?  Competitive with the unit next door, for starters. Competitve with recent sales ($2.5 - 3.2 million) at the newer nearby Kauna'oa development, although those units, suiting today's buyer's tastes, offer 4 bedrooms and closer to 3500 sq ft.  Competitive with 2BR units at Mauna La...
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By Beth Thoma Robinson, R(B) SFR - Hawaii Island Luxury Resort Real Estate
(Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers Big Island)
Although the lot was only officially listed 10 days ago, the listing agent for Pauoa Beach Lot #1, cleverly sent a pre-listing flyer out to selected agents in late July so its been for sale for about a month.  The lot is 1.26 acres, directly oceanfront and next to the community's club house (Pauoa Beach is a small, exclusive development on the Fairmont Orchid side of the Mauna Lani Resort).  The listing price was $5.9 million, but we will have to wait a bit to find out what it actually sold for. I did take exception with one line in the listing: Lot 1 is perhaps the only "toes-in-white-sand" resort oceanfront property available on the Big Island. It looks to me like Lot 9 at Naupaka Place (MLS 233826), just a few miles down the Kohala Coast, is a relative steal at $2,975,000 for a toes-...
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By Beth Thoma Robinson, R(B) SFR - Hawaii Island Luxury Resort Real Estate
(Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers Big Island)
The two Mauna Lani condo communities closest to the Beach Club and the water are Mauna Lani Point and Mauna Lani Terrace.  Although I have a backlog of prospective buyers drooling for an opportunity to purchase one at distressed pricing, it ain't happening. You see, these communities are mature and very few changed hands during the recent feeding frenzy.  There are certainly owners whose life circumstances have changed and who therefore want to sell, but they are willing to wait rather than drop to match the deep discounts seen on short sales and foreclosures at other, newer resort developments. I had some buyers arrive for a stay at Mauna Lani Terrace in January 2009, just as the most recently sold condo dropped its price and went immediately into escrow.  Following that sale (a 2-bedr...
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By Beth Thoma Robinson, R(B) SFR - Hawaii Island Luxury Resort Real Estate
(Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers Big Island)
Although we've shared the space with our vacation rental partner for months now, after a complete remodel our Hawaii Life Real Estate Services LLC's Big Island Branch Office is having its grand opening in Puako on Friday, July 23rd! What's so special about Puako? For 45 years since the completion of the Mauna Kea Resort, visitors have known the Big Island's Kohala Coast as THE destination for sunshine and beaches.  Twenty years later, two more beautiful resorts, Mauna Lani and Waikoloa Beach, joined Mauna Kea along this strip of Gold Coast.  But in between Hapuna Beach (where the second of the Mauna Kea's hotels is located) and Mauna Lani Resort, the tiny oceanfront town of Puako kept its low key style even as prices on the oceanfront side of the street soared. Puako is a place where "k...
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By Beth Thoma Robinson, R(B) SFR - Hawaii Island Luxury Resort Real Estate
(Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers Big Island)
 Real Estate for sale at the Mauna Kea Resort at Close-out Prices A month has passed since the developer released the last half dozen condos at Kumulani at the Mauna Kea Resort. Even though the starting price is an unbelievable $550,000 (half a million to be at Mauna Kea???), none of these units are yet in escrow. Kumulani is one of the two condo projects mauka (mountain-side) of the highway within the Mauna Kea Beach Resort (Wai'ula'ula is the other).  Last year (2009) Wai'ula'ula made waves by conducting an aggressive close-out sale, and this year buyers have been tripping over each other in their bids for short sale and foreclosures there. In contrast, the last sale at Kumulani was recorded in September 2008, a 1541 sq ft 2-bedroom, turnkey furnished, which happened to have been sold...
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By Beth Thoma Robinson, R(B) SFR - Hawaii Island Luxury Resort Real Estate
(Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers Big Island)
Kohala Ranch, Kohala Estates, Kohala By the Sea, Kohala Waterfront - four communities just minutes from the beaches and resort amenities of the Kohala Coast! A Just north of the famed Kohala Coast resorts on the Big Island of Hawaii lies the district of North Kohala. The three gated communities of Kohala by the Sea, Kohala Waterfront, Kohala Ranch--plus the gate-less neighborhood Kohala Estate -- are an obvious choice for newcomers ready to step beyond resort living. Twelve months ago there was a surplus of homes for sale in these communities as sales had ground to a halt.   Over the past twelve months there have been no fewer than 32 real estate transactions - 13 land parcels sold and 19 residences. The houses ranged from a $450,000 starter home in Kohala Estates to a $2.6 million ocea...
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By Beth Thoma Robinson, R(B) SFR - Hawaii Island Luxury Resort Real Estate
(Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers Big Island)
For Kohala Coast real estate buyers ready to step outside the resorts and contemplate building a fine home on a vacant lot in a nearby gated community, Kohala By the Sea is often the first choice. Among its attractions: proximity to beaches and resort amenities, plus the "town" amenities of nearby Waimea. Lots that are 1-1.5 acres and more amenable to residential landscaping in contrast with the larger acreages of nearby Kohala Ranch.  A steep slope to the community with roads laid out to protect the views of one row of house from intrusion by the houses below. The problem? Not many desirable lots are left.  But I have a secret, that will soon be secret no longer. This lot at the top of Kohala By the Sea was passed over by many sets of buyers who thought the building area went into the ...
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By Beth Thoma Robinson, R(B) SFR - Hawaii Island Luxury Resort Real Estate
(Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers Big Island)
We've had several clients trying to buy one of the distressed properties for sale at Wai'ula'ula, the luxury 3 bedroom condominium project at the Mauna Kea Resort.  With beautiful finishes and sweeping views of the Kohala Coast, not to mention a nicely appointed fitness area and pool, Wai'ula'ula began looking like a best buy in 2009 when the developer closed out condos for $750-950,000; duplex homes for $1,200,000 and detached homes for under $2,000,000.  The problem is that buyers who came to the party earlier paid twice as much.  Owners who need to sell and did not pay cash are either bringing money to the table or listing as short sales. With no developer inventory left, the distressed Wai'ula'ula units created something of a feeding frenzy earlier this year, with multiple offers be...
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By Beth Thoma Robinson, R(B) SFR - Hawaii Island Luxury Resort Real Estate
(Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers Big Island)
I've written before that Waikii Ranch on Saddle Road just outside of Waimea (Kamuela) is the absolute top choice in Big Island real estate for the buyer wanting equestrian facilities.  Truly, there are more serious horse owners per square mile in Waikii than any other gated community in Hawaii!  You have miles of equestrian easements that are actually ridden daily, and arenas, a round pen and a polo field at your disposal. The are horse-friendly Waikii Ranch homes are priced under $1,000,000, but there is also a big log-glass-stone home with guest cottage (7,000 sq ft) for $1,800,000 and the perfect complete private horse breeding and training estate for $18,500,000.) If you are considering buying a lot (10 - 40 acres) rather than one of the homes currently on the market, you will find ...
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By Katie Minkus
(Hawaii Life Real Estate Services, LLC)
"This feels like 'Old Hawaii'" is a statement we often hear when someone “discovers” Puako Beach on the beautiful Big Island of Hawaii for the first time. Don your pareo, we’re going back in time with recently sold property prices as well. New Oceanfront Listing in Puako—coming soon! While the first quarter volume of 2010 shows improvement over 2009 for Puako Beach sales (no sales in Q1 2009), prices have continued to decline. Two second floor condo units sold for $275k and $225k. At the market high, these units would have traded from $400-500k. There haven’t yet been any mauka (mountain) side properties sold in Q1, but as far as oceanfront property sales go, we’ve seen one 750 sq ft traditional beach cottage conveyed for $1.8M and a bare oceanfront parcel sold for $1.6M. Um. Wow. These...
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