Kauai Real Estate and Local News Update

Rain, Wind, Rain and Wind

Three pressure systems have been circling the islands this last week giving us weather that will change at the drop of a hat. For the most part the earlier part of the week was wind, wind and more wind with showers on and off. By Friday, Saturday and Sunday the days would sift constantly from nice sunshiny “wear a tank top” weather to the skies suddenly darkening and strong down spurts of rain making us run for cover. It’s been a week of not being able to count on to plan as far as the weather goes but it’s better than most places in our nation (I am told).

Road Widening Project

A question that I’ve been asked, and have asked myself, is “when is the new Safeway Shopping Center in Puhi going to break ground????” The answer to that question came in the form of an announcement of the Kaumualii Highway Road Widening Project this last week. Ground breaking officially took place last Wednesday in a ceremony attended by officials and the Mayor. The $39 million dollar project will take two years to complete and will bring many jobs here to Kauai.

Taking the 2 lane highway to 4 lanes will reduce traffic and make life easier for island residents and visitors alike. The 2 mile stretch of road to be worked on is between the old Lihu‘e Plantation mill bridge to Anonui Street at the entrance to Komohana Subdivision just west of the Puhi Road intersection. The widened Kaumuali‘i will include sidewalks and should have more room for bicyclists. Intersections will also be upgraded and improved the entire length of the project. Safeway has said they will delay their project until this work is completed. The Department of Transportation is saying they are “not taking the blame” for the delay but it makes sense that Safeway would put off their plans while this major project is being done near their new center.

New FHA Loaning Requirements

The Federal Housing Administration commands about 40% of the mortgage market and they have imposed new lending rules that some are calling a “healthy change”. The guidelines include a hefty down payment for low FICO score borrowers and an increase in the upfront mortgage insurance premium to 2.25% (it was 1.75%). The 10% down payment is required for borrowers with FICOs of less than 580. The MIP will be increased in a few months from the current charge of 1.75 basis points. This change is welcome yet long in coming, for the past four years FHA was an ‘anything goes’ environment.” Any change from the FHA being as big as they are will surely affect some housing market segments.

Bank of Hawaii Number One Bank on Forbes List

The number one national bank listed on Forbes ranking is our very own Bank of Hawaii. Citing the bank’s robust capital ratios, its stock performance and the small percentage of money tied up in bad loans, Another Hawaii bank, Central Pacific Bank, was near the bottom of the list, ranked 92nd out of 100.

 Citing Bank of Hawaii’s ultra conservative standards in the heat of the housing market this bank did not get in the trouble that it’s giant counterparts like Bank of America and Citigroup did. Additionally Bank of Hawaii did not take government TARP money last year, which diluted the stocks of many of the banks that took the bailout. Central Pacific was among them.

Kauai Real Estate News

Really, really nice sales activity last month as noted in my excel spreadsheet. We had 16 sales close last week and I’ve noticed a lot of properties going “contingent” on our MLS service. For a list of what came on the market and what sold last week CLICK HERE FOR SPREADSHEET

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