Kauai Real Estate and Local News Update

*****Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae Stock Tumbles*****
The two holders of half of the US mortgage loans faces serious stock trouble as their shares fall more then 40% and are trading at a low not seen for two decades. Fears are mounting that the two companies will need government bailout. Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have lost $3.1 billion (see my blog posting http://blogs.alohaliving.com/kauai-home-sales/2008/08/11/kauai-real-estate-and-local-news-update/ ) and it’s not believed that the losses will stop there.  On Friday Freddie Mac officials talked with investors about the possibility of buying it’s stock to raise some much needed capital.  Billionaire Warren Buffett said he passed on the opportunity.
Meanwhile IndyMac Federal Bank borrowers will be able to convert their loans to a fixed-rate mortgage under a new plan from federal regulators who seized the bank last month. Borrowers who are seriously delinquent or in default and have the proper documentation can switch to loans capped at a 6.5 rate.  We had a lot of new properties come on the market last week and the sales were a little slower then they have been, for an excel spreadsheet on all the real estate action  CLICK HERE

*****Fire On Kalalau Trail Leave Hikers Stranded*****
Last week a fire the size of a football field broke out on the Kalalau Trail which is also known as the Napali Trail. It’s believed that it was originally a campfire that got out of control. Hikers had to hike through hundreds of feet of thick smoke to reach the trail out of the troubled area. 28 hikers on Kalalau Beach were rescued by emergency crew employing Zodiak boats to safely get them to Ke’e Beach which is where the trail head is located.  The Napali Trail is 11 miles long and is one of the most scenic and popular trails on the North Shore.  The blaze continued to burn through the night and grew from 11 to 50 acres before it was contained, no injuries have been reported.  Fridays paper reported that they were still working on hot spots.

*****Superferry Update*****

Our local newspaper held an online poll asking people if the Superferry should return to Kauai. These results are not considered to be accurate as people can do multiple voting and many have the paper delivered to them and wouldn’t see this poll online. Here are the results:

Superferry To Return: 1166 votes

Superferry To Return Contingent On An Environmental Study: 519 votes

Superferry To Never Return: 842 votes

Superferry To Return While Environmental Study Is Done: 328 votes

Superferry Should Reach Out To Kauai People To Determine A Possible Return: 164 votes

On Friday a “Ferry Free Kauai” rally was held at Nawiliwili Harbor to celebrate the one year anniversary of the protest a year ago that Kauaians held at the Harbor virtually blocking the Superferry from docking. The rally organizer stated he is not against the ferry and that his position is that and EIS (Environmental Impact Study) study should be done first before the ferry starts service and not after the fact.

Meanwhile Tom Fargo, the Superferry CEO said coming back is not out of the question but it’s also a matter or hardware at this point. The companies second vessel currently is 80% complete and by the time it arrives to Kauai the existing vessel “Alakai” will need an overhaul.

It does not look like the Superferry will be docking anytime soon at this point.
*****Kauai Dogs Have Their Day*****
3 Dog Bills will go before the Kauai County Council for final approval this Wednesday. The controversial issue has had much public impute over these lasts months and has sparked quite a few letters to the Editor here in our local newspaper. But here is the final Legislature to be voted on:
1) An 18th month trial period will be created for residents to walk their dog on the county Eastside shared trail that runs along the coast.  Restrictions are placed on owners and their dogs during this trial period.
2) The committee was unanimous in having the County create a new “Dog Park” on some 2.8 acres of the 17 acres at Wailua Homesteads.
3) Bill 2266 would require dog handlers to pick up after their dogs “debris” and to carry with them the implements for doing so.

Kauai Local News and Real Estate Update

*****Pacific Ocean Properties Named Christie’s International Affiliate!*****

I’m really excited to report that the company I’m with, Pacific Ocean Properties, was named the exclusive affiliate of Christie’s Great Estates, a wholly owned subsidiary of Christie’s International which is the worlds oldest fine art auction house.  With Real Estate becoming more global every year this is a valuable affiliation with a very prestigious company.

Being a part of this network entails Pacific Ocean Properties to reach a wider audience in marketing its selection of high-end properties in Po’ipu thus increasing their exposure globally for all their properties.  Christies Great Estates is the largest international luxury network of real estate brokers and it’s network includes more than 850 offices and approximately 35,000 sales associates in more the 40 countries. 

And now for the real estate news for this week!  For an excel spreadsheet on what was listed last week and what has sold CLICK HERE FOR SPREADSHEET

*****Lihue, Kauai makes National Geographic “Move To” List*****
Lihue, Kauai was the only city in the entire state to make National Geographic’s list of places to move to.  What’s even better is it placed #3 out of 50 outdoor-oriented places for you to move to and live a better life.  National Geographic lists places that were “smart places” to live rather then hot spots.  So state the magazine: “A change of address can
bring instant gratification.  But a move is a long-term investment.  Not only do the selected towns have the action they’ve also got a plan.”  Here is what they listed about the town:
  
3. LIHUE, KAUAI, HAWAII
Visitors come for Lihue’s heavenly Kalapaki Beach—perpetually ranked as one
of the world’s finest stretches of white sand. But residents in this
commercial hub (there’s even a Costco) have ample time to explore the
3,000-foot-deep, jungle-fringed Waimea Canyon too.
Population: 5,674
Median home price: $485,000

So who was #1 and #2?  Seattle Washington and Coo’s Bay Oregon,
respectively.

*****California Builder Stopped From Building Home*****
After a protest last week at a Ha’ena home site, which resulted in no arrests after a calm day of demonstration, a California builder is stopped for the time being from building his dream home.  Some 15 members of Ohana O Naue rallied at the Mokihana Building on Tuesday for the state to not allow construction of a single family home which is located at the site where some 30 ancient Hawaiian Burials have been identified.  The protesters asked the 17 member panel to revisit the burial treatment plan approved by the Kaua’i Island Burial Council.  The commission unanimously voted to direct the county Planning Department to investigate the accuracy of the plans.
However, on Thursday Judge Kathleen Watanabe affirmed that construction may continue because the base of the home has already been poured and more disturbance to the grounds was not to be expected.  Protesters left the court room dejected and some were in tears.*****Hawaii Celebrates Statehood*****
On August 21, 1959 Hawaii became the 50th state and plans are already underway to celebrate our 50th birthday next year.  A 25 member commission has been formed to over see the “birthday” celebrations.  

Hawaii started as a territory on July 6, 1898 by a vote of 42 to 21 in the House of the Senate.  Hawaii almost became a State around the time that WWII started.  Plans for statehood were shelved until 1959 with a dual admission of Alaska (January 3, 1959) and then Hawaii.

Birthday celebrations will include; 50 Voices Of Hawaii which will be radio and television vignettes, a traveling history exhibit, student essay and art contests and a time capsule.

*****Hawaii 5-0 Returns!*****
If you miss the 1060′s television drama then keep your eyes tuned to CBS because they are looking to revitalize the series with “Chris McGarrett” who is Steve McGarrett’s son.  Ed Bernero is the mind behind the revitalized series and he says he will keep the show as original as possible.

Did you know..Before settling on the name “Hawaii Five-O” Producer Leonard Freeman considered titling the show “The Man” and that the Hawaii 5-0 offices are actually Iolani Palace?

Kauai Real Estate and Local News Update

*****Kaui Real Estate And Local News Update*****

Good news on the oil price front!  Oil prices dropped to $115 a barrel on Friday driven lower by a huge jump in the US dollar, moderating oil usage across the world and the belief that commodities may have peaked.  Not so good news for Fannie Mae: they posted loses at $2.3 Billion which is 3 times higher then Wall Street expected.  Fannie Mae also slashed their dividends to 5 cents from 35 cents a share.  Borrowers with good credit but no proof of income or those who have little to no down payment are projected to feel the brunt of Fannie Mae’s troubles.

Are you in the market to buy or sell?  Give me a call or email for “no pressure, ever!” information.  For an excel spreadsheet on what was listed last week here on Kauai and what has sold CLICK HERE

 *****Hanalei Bay Resort Resort Management Sold*****

Hanalei Bay Resort is classified as a “condotel” which may or may not be a familiar term to you. Condotel’s are individually owned condos that are put into a management pool and rented out like hotel rooms. The name condotel comes from the fact that they are individual condos in a resort that has the amenities of a hotel. Such is the case with the Hanalei Bay Resort, a 134 unit complex in Princeville on Kauai’s north shore whose management company was recently sold. Effective immediately Celebrity Resorts, which is a Florida based company, will take over from the former management Quintus Resorts. Celebrity Resorts manages 17 resorts spanning over 6 states and the Caribbean. On site of the Hanalei Bay Resort is Happy Talk Lounge and Bali Hai Restaurant and Quintus is in the process of selling the business’s outright to a local restaurateur who has plans to invest 1.5 million into renovations.

*****Obama Thinks Nation Can Learn From Hawaii*****

Presidential hopeful Barack Obama is visiting Hawaii which is where he was born and raised. To a cheering crowd he said that the nation can learn from the way that people live here in Hawaii. The Aloha Spirit which entails helping those in need, treating people with respect and taking care of the elders is needed by the rest of the nation, he said, along with Hawaii’s long standing tradition of working with people of many different backgrounds. He held a rally outside of Keehi Lagoon Beach Park and when asked what else he’s going to do here he said that “Surfs up” and he’ll also spend time with his grandmother who cannot travel anymore and the rest of his family.

*****Candidates Oppose Superferry*****
19 City Council candidates and four Mayoral candidates convened in a round table discussion with the community in attendance. One of the questions posed was their position on the return of the Superferry and all stated that they are against it. All candidates said they want an environmental study done first. The group also agreed on expanded bus service, curbside recycling and banning pesticides in county parks.
Superferry also made the news in the fact that their attendance was up 40% in July. The new attendance figures are less then half of the capacity but it was enough to make the Superferry people feel positive. The comparative low cost to outer island travel and interest in riding the ferry were the two main reasons people gave for choosing the new mode of transportation in a survey that was done from June 20 to July 29.
 

Kauai Local News And Real Estate Update

*****Hawaiian Airlines Raises Mileage Rewards Rates and Baggage Fee*****

Hawaiian Airlines announced Wednesday that they will charge and additional $15.00 for the first checked in bag on their mainland flights, the second bag already has a fee of $25.00.  This is for tickets purchased after August 1, 2008.  There will be no charge for the first piece of luggage on the interisland flights.  They will also adjust their frequent flyer program so now more miles are needed to get an award ticket; this will take place after September 1, 2008.  The minimum miles needed for a free flight is 10,000 and it will be increased to 15,000.  Hawaiian Airlines said the last time they raised their mileage program was 14 years ago.

Also in the news for Hawaiian Air:  Mesa Airlines, the parent company of Go! Airlines settled with Hawaiian on a lawsuit for $52.5 million dollars.  This lawsuit settlement allowed the company to have earning of $54.3 million for the last quarter.  Compared to the quarter before which had the airline at a net loss of $3.9 million. Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian Airlines President,  said “The net beneficial impact of our competitors collapse and our raising of air fares offset by the costs of more expensive jet fuel was to leave us at roughly break even.”  So why the baggage fee instead of a fair hike?  According to Dunkerley “If we add $15 to our fares, bookings would slow down dramatically because online shoppers pick their tickets based on the lowest price.” 

*****Hawaii Information Service Gives Kauai Market Update*****
Hawaii Information Service is where we Realtors put our listings and document our sales.  It’s also where we go when to do market analysis when representing Buyers as tracking past sales, price reductions, days on market and current inventory is a huge key to making an offer.  Hawaii Information Service is a non-biased information collecting tool.  Here is what their data says about our Kauai market “Sales activity for single family residences, vacant land and condominiums are down 39%.  The combined median price for single-family residences, vacant land and condominiums are exactly the same as they were last year.  For sales activity in July 2008, median prices for single-family residences on Kaua’i are $655,000.  Median sales price for condominiums are $569,000 and vacant land is $617,500″ We had another healthy week for closed transactions, for a full excel spreadsheet CLICK HERE

 *****Hawaii To Test 4 Day Workweek*****
In an effort to cut back on expenses of keeping government offices open Governor Linda Lingle is testing a 4 day workweek for the next 3 months.  Employees will now work four 10 hour days Monday through Thursday.  On October 31 the State will evaluate this change to see if this change has made a difference and if they will continue.  Additionally Oahu’s Mayor Mufi Hannemann is ordering all city departments to cut their budgets by 2 to 3 percent and the city will also suspend job fairs and will delay filling vacant positions.  This all comes as a result of a decline in tax revenues.
*****What do people look for in a home?*****
Did you know there’s an internal clock that you have when looking at property to decide if you like the place or not?  It’s true!  According to the National Association Of Realtors (NAR)  when people are viewing photos of a piece of property online they will decide if they like it in 3 seconds and when they are looking at a piece of property in person they will know in 30 seconds.  So what are people looking for in homes these days?  Currently here are the top ten things:
-Central air-conditioning
-Garage (2 or more spaces)
-Walk-in closet in master bedroom
-Backyard play area
-Cable/satellite TV-ready
-High speed internet access
-Separate shower enclosure in master bedroom
-Patio
-Fencing
-Home less then 10 years old