Kauai Real Estate and Local News Update

Real Estate Update

The National Association Of Realtors (NAR) and the Hawaii Association of Realtors (HAR) are lobbying to extend the $8,000 first time home buyers credit on into June of 2010 and the HAR wants to extend it to all home buyers, not just first time home buyers.  The current tax credit has had a fantastic impact on the housing market and the nationwide numbers show it.  In November of 2008 nationwide we had a 10.6 month supply of housing inventory; a healthy market is a 6 month supply.  In February the $8,000 credit was introduced and we’re now at a 7.8 month supply with many of our markets stabilizing.  Since the tax credit was introduced available inventory dropped every month with the exception of April.  The Senate is considering the extension this week. 

I have been asked to include the properties that have gone under contract for the week as well as the new listings and closed transactions.  Keep in mind that the numbers for properties that went Contingent will be a little skewed because the short sales do not get reported as under contract for several months while the bank is reviewing the offer and making the final decision at the price to sell at.   This last week we had 8 listings go Contingent which means an offer was accepted and the property is now in escrow.  11 pieces of property closed escrow which is in keeping with the past weeks numbers and this is good news.

For an excel spreadsheet CLICK HERE
Five Year Extension Passed For Obtaining Permits On Agricultural Land

Surprisingly, and for the sixth time since the ‘ohana zoning amendment was first passed 20 years ago, the Kaua‘i County Council this week extended the window to acquire building permits for additional dwelling units on agricultural land.  Last time this was discussed the council had said there was no way they were going to extend it but the extension has been granted after the council debated the original purpose of the legislation, agreeing for the most part that “the intent of the bill has been lost.”  Many members said the sixth extension — for five full years, to Dec. 15, 2014 — should be the final one and spoke out against inappropriate land use, when it came time to vote, the measure passed unanimously Wednesday morning.

“This bill is not perfect,” said Council Vice Chair Jay Furfaro, who introduced the bill, noting that it is a difficult time to secure money through loans to perform infrastructure improvements. “This is the compassionate way to close the door.”  Council Chair Bill “Kaipo” Asing presented a detailed ADU history, which includes ordinances passed in March 1989, October 1991, December 1993, August 1996, November 1998, November 2006 and finally October 2009.

“Ag zoned lands should be for ag purposes, and we should keep that in mind,” Asing said, criticizing the original idea and all the subsequent extensions to it.  “What have we created?” he asked, referring to transient vacation rentals and second homes along Hanalei Bay.

Furfaro said he has no intent to revisit the issue in five years and he sees the extension as an “exit strategy” to help bring county law back into compliance with the General Plan.

Kauai Real Estate and Local News Update

CoCo Palms Tour

Our group enters the back entrance to the dining area.  (My husband in the foreground)
Our group enters the back entrance to the dining area. (My husband in the foreground)

CoCo Palms has been closed since Hurricane Iniki hit the island September 11 1992.  Since that time it’s been under 5 different owners with some of the owners taking a run at reopening the resort and all plans have been met with heavy opposition and much public controversy.

The current owners of the property are under an obligation to open the resort up to the local residents and so they have contracted a local Movie Tour company to conduct tours which are limited to certain areas.  On this tour we got to see some of the grounds which included “Bungalow #3″ where Elvis always stayed and Bungalow #1 where scenes for Blue Hawaii were filmed.  Next we were entertained in the dining area by Larry Rivera with songs and a little of the history that he had there during his 50 plus years at the resort.  The last stop was the lobby area which is totally demolished, it felt like we were revisiting the Titanic.  I got an answer to the question that I’ve always wondered; have there been problems with squatters in the abandoned resort?  The answer was no.  Additionally, I was told, there has been very little vandalism done to the property and I saw that to be true.

The future of the resort remains uncertain.  Local opposition remains high towards development plans that have been proposed and with the current state of the economy taking on the renovation of the resort to open it back up as a hotel with the current footprint is risky and economically rough.  What remains is very clear; this resort has a very special history and the love for CoCo Palms runs deep among the residents of Kauai.  It was heartbreaking to me to see such a place rich with history and built up over it’s 50 plus year history with love and devotion to be left vacant and falling further apart as these last 17 years have passed.

Kauai Electric Company Going Green

Kauai’s electric utility has committed to buying renewable energy from a biomass plant planned for West Kauai. Kauai Island Utility Cooperative said this week that it has signed an agreement with Vancouver, Wash.-based Pacific West Energy to buy electricity from its proposed waste-to-energy power plant. While the plant is expected to be online by next year, developers of the $135 million project, which also will produce 15 million gallons of sugar ethanol, still need to secure financing and land. Pacific West Energy said it wants to lease between 12,000 and 15,000 acres of land to grow either sugar or fast-growing wood to fuel the biomass operation. Meanwhile, it is still working on a deal to lease Gay & Robinson’s sugar mill in Kaumakani to build an ethanol plant. Gay & Robinson is harvesting its last crop of sugar cane this month.

Foreclosure Update

Lenders recovered almost 60 percent of the loan value for properties that were foreclosed in 2009.  That translated to a recovery of $1.9 billion on 145 defaulted commercial mortgages totaling $3.2 billion.

How much a lender was able to recover in a foreclosure depended on location, type of asset and, most of all, the purpose of the loan.  The best recovery rates occurred in the West and Northwest, where rates for acquisition and refinancing loans were 76 percent and 78 percent respectively. The Los Angeles metro area comes in at 70-plus percent recovery rate. Detroit and Tampa are at the bottom with a recovery rate of 45 percent.  Hawaii is 65 percent recovery rate.

How did we do last week here on Kauai?  Pretty good for sales, we had another week of a good number of closed transactions and this week I saw a lot of properties going contingent.  For a complete list of what came on the market and what sold here in Kauai island wide click on this link…. sales oct. 18.

Kauai Real Estate and Local News Update

Hot!  Hot!  Hot!

This past week has been scorchingly hot and relief finally came on Saturday when the heat was broken by rainfall all night long and finally on Sunday the trade winds came back!  We are now back to our normal weather.  A low pressure system had kept our cooling trades away for the entire week and not a palm frond was moving on the entire island.     

Continental Airlines Starts New Routes To Hawaii

Starting March 7, 2010 Continental Airlines is adding three new flights between California and Hawaii.

The flight from Los Angeles to Maui wll depart at 5:05 p.m. and arrive at 7:45 p.m. The return flight will depart Maui at 9:15 p.m. and arrive at Los Angeles at 5:45 a.m. 

The new service between Orange County’s John Wayne Airport and Honolulu International Airport will operate four times a week, leaving Orange County at 5:20 p.m. and arriving in Honolulu at 8:05 p.m. The return flight will leave Honolulu at 11:10 p.m. and arrive at Orange County at 7:45 a.m., except on Saturdays, when it leaves 30 minutes later. Continental said it will use a Boeing 737-700 with 124 seats and plans to increase the service to daily during the summer.

Continental’s second daily flight between Los Angeles and Honolulu departs at 1:55 p.m. and arrives at 4:40 p.m. The return flight will leave Honolulu at 1:50 p.m. and arrive in Los Angeles at 10:25 p.m. The flights will use a Boeing 737-900 with 173 seats.

Real Estate Update

We continue to have a fair number of closings for the second week in a row.  For an excel spreadsheet of all the latest listings and closed transactions CLICK HERE

Kauai Real Estate and Local News Update

General Excise Tax Information!

Do you file your own GE payments?  The Department of Taxation now requires that the due date for GE taxes is the 20th of each month instead of the end of the month.  Example:  August GE taxes are due by September 20.  Effective date for this new policy is July 15, 2009 but the department is not penalizing people who get their payments in by the end of the month up to Decmeber 31, 2009 which is the date that this transition period ends.  For more information go to www.hawaii.gov and type in “2009-11″ in the search box.

 Two New Cruise Sailings Added For Spring

Norwegian Cruise Line announced last Friday that two new seven-day inter-island cruises have been added to the ship’s itinerary.  The two sailings go on sale Monday. Fares start at $999 per person, based on double occupancy.  The cruises on April 24 and May 1 have a new itinerary and include a day at sea along with stops in Hilo, Kahului, Kona and an overnight in Nawiliwili on Kauai.  The cruise will include an afternoon sail along the Napali Coast of Kauai.

Mitzi Gaynor Talks Story at the Kauai Marriott

In 1958 Rodgers and Hammersteins “South Pacific” was filmed here on Kauai and Mitzi Gaynor played the leading role of Nurse Nelly.  Not only is this one of my all time favorite movies but I was in the play that my high school did of Mitzi Gaynor talking story at the Kauai Marriottthis famous Broadway production.  I went to see Mitzi who “talked story”  for two hours at the Kauai Marriott on Sunday.  She is an absolute total doll and I thought that she would be a natural funny person and she truly is as well as very, very engaging and charming.  She flirted with the audience and made us all feel like any other place she had ever performed at did not match the experience she was having with us that very day.  She is 76 years old and was glamorous, humble, gracious and told some stories about famous people that were funny and appropriate.  She choked up when she talked about her husband of 50 years who died in 2006 and wagged her finger at us ladies and told us to take care of our husbands.  Some film clips were showed of her movies and of her Vegas show which sounds like it followed South Pacific.  It seems Vegas was pretty good to her and in fact she’s on a tour right now.  She’s very energetic and sang a little with a voice that is still very strong and clear.  There was a huge turn out for her talk story and it was obvious that everybody enjoyed themselves. 

Kauai Real Estate

As you’ll see on the spreadsheet we had a lot of closings, 15 total.  The best deal I think was a short sale for a 3 bedroom 3 bath fairway home at the Kiahuna Golf Village.  The home was listed at $975,000 and sold for $875,000.  The home was completely remodeled on the inside and the previous owner had paid $1.350 in 2005.  For a complete list of what came on the market and what sold  CLICK HERE FOR SPREADSHEET