Kauai Real Estate and Local News Update

*****Busy Here In Kauai*****

The weather has been absolutely fantastic to the delight of the many tourists that we now have here on island.  We are having some nice sunny days with very light winds and at times huge waves on the North Shore.  We’ve needed sweaters for the evenings and early mornings but we’ve been really lucky with the daytime weather.  The days are noticeably shorter with daylight breaking at about 6:45. 

President Barak Obama is vacationing on the islands with his family, he arrived on Thursday night and will be here until after the New Year.

*****Pili Mai Puts Project On Hold*****

Pili Mai, the Brookfield Homes condominium project located on the Kiahuna Golf Course, has closed it’s doors after officially putting the project on hold.  Reservation holders have been refunded their deposits.  Brookfield is going back to the drawing board to restructure their project and pricing.  The condos were 2 to 4 bedroom attached homes with 1 car garages located on the Kiahuna golf course here in Poipu.  Tentatively they are looking to come back into the market later in 2010.

*****$1,200 Coin Dropped In Koloa Salvation Army Bucket*****

Last Tuesday night an anonymous donor dropped a gold Krugerrand coin worth $1,200 into the Salvation Army donation bucket in front of the Koloa Big Save.  The legend of the coin is well known by the Salvation Army workers, every year one will turn up somewhere in the United States but they did not expect for it to turn up here in the 50th state.  Last reported coin findings have been Oklahoma City and Denver and now…..Koloa!

*****Kauai In Danger Of Hotel Room Tax Revenue Cut*****

Governor Linda Lingle is proposing to temporarily cutting off TAT (transient accommodations tax) dollars to the counties to help balance the state budget thus revealing how severe the state’s financial crunch is.  State officials for years have tried to reduce, if not eliminate, the county share of the TAT.  When she was the Mayor of Maui Linda Lingle joined her colleagues in staving off challenges to the county allotment from the TAT. But at a news conference last week, she announced the proposal to cut TAT to the counties. She acknowledged how serious a move it is and said that she fully expects the counties to fight it.

The Lingle plan would divert room tax revenues from the counties for three fiscal years. The counties would lose an estimated $99 million next fiscal year: $44.5 million in Honolulu; $22.7 million on Maui; $18.5 million on the Big Island; and $14.4 million on Kaua’i.

“If the counties lose the TAT, we would have to look at other sources of revenues, as well as potential reductions in services and service levels to balance our budgets,” said Kaua’i County finance director Wallace Rezentes Jr.

Room tax on Kauai is 12.417% since the Transient Rate was raised 1 percent last year, the tax rate will go up this July another 1% and another 1% in 2011.

*****Real Estate News*****

We had a monster week for closings this last week!  Typically there will be an end of December rush as people need to close their real estate transactions before the New Year.  For a complete list of last weeks activity on what came on the market and what sold CLICK HERE FOR SPREADSHEET

Kauai Local News and Real Estate Update

Aloha!  I am back from my vacation in Las Vegas and Orange County California.  It was great to see friends and family but I truly missed Kauai and am so happy to be back home blogging again to you all.  It was SUPER cold in Vegas and the OC and since I’ve been back I have seen the new reports on the weather the mainland is getting hit with.  Here in Kauai we (so far) have been enjoying really great weather.  Days of sunshine, not a lot of wind and very minimal on the rain.  The nights are cooler which means we put on a sweater when we go out, can’t complain.  So I’ll get right to it!

CoCo Palms Update

The iconic Coco Palms remains in a “Wait and See” mode as we head into 2010.  The hurricane ravaged resort suffered another blow on December 3rd when a fire swept through the front buildings and 1,000 square feet of the wooden building’s second floor was destroyed amounting to some $80,000 in damage, according to a county press release.  The fire is still under investigation. 

The current developers are not doing too much to the resort in hopes to ride the market out.  They received an extension from the Planning Commission which included “numerous conditions,” including demolishing current structures and completing grading work.  Some conditions have already been met, such as cleaning and maintaining the Coconut Grove, maintaining the drainage ditch and nominating the Fishponds to the National Historic Society, all of which will allow for demolition, foundation and construction, as well as infrastructure improvements, to happen on-schedule.

“If the conditions are not met by the deadline in 2013, the Planning Commission would have the authority to revoke the permits,” Aiu said.

At that time, the state will “pick up the property and use it as a cultural area,” Carvalho told kama‘aina during a tour of the property last week. The information brought on a round of applause by the approximately 15 people who chose to spend their Saturday morning browsing through a portion of Kaua‘i’s history.

“It was truly a Kaua‘i landmark and so many who knew Coco Palms during its heyday sorely miss the grace and Hawaiian hospitality which were its trademarks,” he said. “Just recently I spoke to the owner to convey an urgency for action, and I am also looking at other options for the property should it appear that the conditions of the extension may not be met.”

Good News On The Short Sale Front Lines

The US Treasury Department on November 30th released guidelines for it’s Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program (HAFA) which will provide incentives in connection with a short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure.  This program applies to loans not owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac (they will have their own version).  The guidelines are complex and are 43 pages long.  Some of the highlights are; Allows owners to receive pre-approved short sales terms before listing the property, Requires borrowers to be fully released from any possible deficiency judgement, Provides financial incentives of $1,500 for borrower relocation assistance.

This program will take effect April 5, 2010 and is a huge, huge step towards sorting through the problems facing many homeowners today. 

Bank of Hawaii no Longer Loaning on “Condotels”

We got the news that Bank of Hawaii is no longer writing loans on “condotels” which is defined as a condo with the amenities of a hotel.  Typically condotels will have a front desk and most of the condominiums will be vacation rental units with less than half of them occupied by full time residents.  Loans are still available for vacation rental condominiums but Bank Of Hawaii’s withdrawl from this market is not welcome news for us.

So what was listed and what was sold this last week?  For a complete list of what came on the market and what sold CLICK HERE FOR SPREADSHEET