Kauai Real Estate and Local News Update

Happy Presidents Day Weekend and Valentine’s Day!

Still really chilly here at night and in the early mornings for us but the days have been filled with sunshine and happy tourists wearing shorts and tank tops. We read about the weather in the eastern part of the USA and feel so lucky to be here enjoying beautiful Kauai. Island wide we had many different events happening to celebrate the holiday weekend and Valentine’s Day. Occupancy levels are at very high levels for all over the island. I’m noticing a huge increase in Canadian visitors and I believe it’s due to the new direct flight from WestJet Airlines which offers a non-stop flight Vancouver BC to Lihue.

Third Traffic Fatality in 2010

A 59 year old Kalaheo resident died last Thursday when his Ford Mustang was hit head on by a Kauai Coffee delivery van. The driver of the van, a 61 year old Lihue resident, crossed the center line hitting the mustang head on killing the driver. The accident took place on Kaumuali’i Highway in Lawai. The other two accidents have also been on the Highway in the south shore area.

Helicopter Tour Abruptly Ends In Kalalau Valley

A sightseeing helicopter tour took a different turn last Friday when the pilot of a “Jack Harter Helicopters” noticed that something was not right with the engine. The pilot landed the helicopter without incident or injuries in the Kalalau Valley where another helicopter was dispatched to the scene. The tourists finished out the tour on a different helicopter. The original helicopter was flown out of the valley and has been fixed and is up and running. The company stated that this is first time that this has happened to their company and that all procedures were followed correctly. Additionally the passengers actually got to experience a part of Kalalau Valley which is inaccessible for many and campers in the valley extended “their aloha” to the tourists.

Ready for a Goat Hunt?

If so the State Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife announces an opportunity for interested individuals to participate in the control of feral goats on Kauai in Waimea Canyon. Weaponry and the amount of goats that you can hunt are limited and interested participants can contact the Lihu‘e office of the Division of Forestry and Wildlife at (808) 274-3433.

New Electrical Company in Town

American Electric Company, located in Oahu, is expanding its residential electrical service to Kauai and the Big Island. This is one of the largest electrical contractors in Hawaii who have done business with the government, commercial buildings, hotels, military and industrial. They have recently expanded to offer residential service. One service they offer is called CurrentSAFE which uses thermographic and ultrasonic testing equipment to detect concealed electrical problems within a home and provide homeowners with a report specifying electrical risk factors such as wiring and outlet problems.

Kauai Real Estate

Looking to buy a resort? The Makena Beach and Golf Resort in Maui will be sold at a foreclosure auction this April. It had been purchased by a Maui developer for $575 million in 2007. The resort’s hotel, formerly known as the Maui Prince Hotel, has been managed by Benchmark Hospitality International since September 17, 2009, under oversight by court-appointed receiver Miles Furutani, who will remain in possession of the resort until it transitions to a new owner and management. The resort which has the hotel and golf courses is to remain operational and was originally bought from the troubled Seibu Group from Japan in June of 2007. My husband and I had taken a weekend trip to this hotel in July of 2007 and loved the location as well as the hotel itself. The hotel was at the end of a long line of Kihei hotels but easily accessible to the great shopping and restaurants that are nearby.

In our local real estate market we had 12 Islander on the Beach units flood the market, they are being sold as short sales. The Islander on the Beach was one of those condo complexes that had caught the uptick of the market just right with many people buying and selling these units over and over again and prices insubstantially escalated. Like the game “Hot Potato” when the market lost the momentum lots of people were left holding something that they just could not hang on to. Financing had been hard to get but not it’s being offered at a 75% loan to value by First Hawaiian, this is good news since the project had not been able to get financing. Questions? Give me a call or email. For an excel spreadsheet of what came on the market and what sold here island wide CLICK HERE FOR SPREADSHEET

Kauai Real Estate and Local News Update

Ban on Cell Phone Use While Driving Comes to Kaua’i

Here on Kaua’i I believe we’ve all seen it coming and now it’s officially here.  Kaua‘i County Council on Wednesday passed an ordinance that will bar drivers from using handheld electronic devices.  The law, which would fine drivers $50 for holding and using mobile electronic devices like cell phones, text messaging devices, pagers, digital assistants, laptop computers, video games and cameras, is slated to go into effect on May 3 and enforcement will begin promptly when the law takes effect in three months.

The fine would double to $100 for drivers who violate the ordinance in a school zone or construction area.  By comparison, a similar ban in the City and County of Honolulu has a maximum fine of $67 for the first offense, and the Big Island’s ordinance, which went into effect last month, charges up to $150 for each violation and up to $500 if illegal use of the device causes a crash.

Tourism Numbers Showing Signs of Recovery

Hawaii Tourism Authority is carefully looking at the statistics that inform marketing and other strategies in place for 2010 and into 2011, the year most analysts say will mark tourism’s recovery.

Yes, visitor arrivals and spending numbers were down in 2009, and the Neighbor Islands continue to feel the brunt.  But there also were sectors that showed promise and suggest where growth lies.

1.1 million Japanese still came to the Islands which is one-sixth of the total visitor count.  While down almost 5 percent from 2008, Japanese arrivals grew in the second half of the year. Air seats out of Japan were down only 0.5 percent for the year.

And, there was a 75 percent climb in the number of Japanese (28,185) who chose to stay in a time-share unit.  Good news is vacation rental condo use also was up, with growth in both accommodations coming at the expense of hotels.

The reviving Japanese market, coupled with a 20 percent jump in air seats from other Asian markets, supports the HTA’s belief that Asia remains vital to Hawaii.  Supporting this is the strong yen against the dollar, Japanese and Korean meetings, incentives, conferences and events in Hawaii.  In the Korean market the HTA states is ready to burst, as evidenced by the total number of Korean travelers to Hawaii rose almost 45% in 2009 as more Korean travelers take advantage of the visa waiver status with the United States that is identical to the one Japanese have long enjoyed.  Double digit growth is expected in 2010 with Korean Air’s announcement this last week that they will add 3 extra flights between Incheon and Honolulu.

The international market is not a big player in Kauai tourism but the tourism news that is reported for our state as a whole does play a part in consumer confidence.  Revenue generated from the rise in tourism also benefits the entire state and funds our marketing programs both internationally and domestically.

Locally the Grand Hyatt in Poipu will be undergoing a multi-million-dollar guestroom renovation beginning April 2010. The Poipu Bay Golf Course with close concurrently for greens renovations and other improvements including kitchen and bathroom renovations of the clubhouse resulting in a decision to temporarily close Po‘ipu Bay Clubhouse and Yum Cha restaurant.  Yum Chas is personally one of my very favorite places to eat and I know I will miss going there. 

Homes Bulldozed Along Wainiha Bay

North of Lumahai Beach on the North Shore lies Wainiha Bay where 10 to 15 native Hawaiian families had their dwellings bulldozed Thursday after county officials determined they were illegally erected on county park land along Wainiha Bay and Wainiha River.  Residents of the community and activists say the county does not own the land as it was given to the Native Hawaiian families who have been living in the area for years and farming taro on the mauka side of Kuhio Highway.  This system of living is known as “kuleana lands” tenancy.

As reported in the Garden Island Newspaper the county real-property tax records indicate Rose A. Andrade and others including some Haumea and Harada family members own a .292-acre parcel on Wainiha Bay that is referenced by tax-map-key number in some county communications to a Deilon Haumea, family member and representative for that parcel.  Unofficial reports indicate that coastal erosion may have caused loss of land involving some of the four beach-front parcels along Wainiha Bay, including Andrade’s, possibly causing the land owners to move structures away from the ocean and, possibly, onto county property.  The families owning the property owe around $300,000 in back real property taxes and the county wants to auction off the land.

County officials said in the summer of last year they began receiving complaints about alleged illegal structures and people living in the structures at Wainiha County Park.  Complainants asked that the structures be removed, and county officials conducted a survey of the property and verified that the illegal structures were indeed on county park land, said Tokioka.

Kauai Home Sales See Big Increase

As reported in the Pacific Business News (and on my blog last week!!); sales of single-family homes on Kauai in January increased three-fold, while the number of condominiums sold doubled.

There were 31 single-family homes sold on Kauai last month, more than three times the 10 houses that were sold in January 2009, according to the sales statistics.  There were 14 condos sold in January, twice as many sales as in the same month in 2009.  Prices didn’t fare as well as sales, however.  The median price of a single-family home on the Garden Isle in January was $375,000, a 20 percent drop from $466,785 in January 2009.  And the median price of a condo last month was $204,500, a 19 percent drop from $254,000 in January 2009.  However the first rule in prices solidifying is movement of the current inventory and these are good figures to start the year off.  For a list of what came on the market and what sold island wide CLICK HERE FOR SPREADSHEET

Kauai Local News and Real Estate Update

Living Foods Opens In Poipu

The long awaited arrival of the Living Foods Market opened this last week in Poipu.  Residents and visitors alike have been waiting for a healthy alternative store in the resort area and the location of the new Kukuiula Village is perfect. 

Living Foods Market with Local Resident Will Gill

Living Foods Market with Local Resident Will Gill


My husband and I went in on Saturday to check it out and found a clean bustling store offering a coffee/pastry station, take out menu, huge wine selection along with local beers, health foods, produce section and organic soaps and lotions.  The store looked as if it’s still stocking products. 

Living Foods Menu

Living Foods Menu

The menu looked really good (especially the pizzas!) and food could be eaten on tables provided outside on the interior section of the shopping village.  It was a very nice setting and a welcome addition to our community. 

Banking In Hawaii 

61% of banking done in our State is by First Hawaiian or Bank of Hawaii, they also both carry a four star rating nationally.  Having learned their lesson during the boom and crash of the 1980’s these two banks did not make loan choices that had gotten them into trouble several decades ago.  Not true for Central Pacific Bank which carries a 2 star rating and wrapped up the worst year in its 56-year history by losing $78 million in the fourth quarter, contributing to a staggering $292.8 million loss for 2009.  In its earnings statement, Central Pacific Bank said it sold $204 million worth of troubled loans in California and Hawaii in the fourth quarter at a 19 percent discount from their loan value. Of those loans, $53 million were listed as nonperforming.  

Despite dumping millions in bad loans in 2009, the percentage of nonperforming assets held by the bank rose from 8 percent in the third quarter to 10.6 percent in the fourth, reflecting “further deterioration in the Hawaii construction portfolios.” During the quarter, the bank added $57 million in Hawaii residential construction loans and $50 million in commercial loans to its lists of nonperforming assets.  Central Pacific is closing two of its Honolulu branches.  

Hotel Occupancy In Hawaii

Occupancy at Hawaii hotels inched up 2.8 percentage points to 73.8 percent for the week ending Jan. 23.  Comparatively mainland hotel occupancy remained flat at 46.8 percent, while room rates were off 9.4 percent to average $93 a night.  3 out of the 4 main islands were up in occupancy but only Kauai was up in its room rates by 9.5% leading the state in its average nightly rate at $212.  Hotel numbers will be reflective on the “condotel” numbers as they will follow the same trend.

Occupancy and room rates for the four main Hawaiian Islands were as follows:

• Oahu occupancy grew 5.1 percentage points to 78.1 percent, while room rates dove 9.5 percent to $146;

• Maui occupancy also grew 5.1 percentage points, to 77.8 percent, while room rates plummeted 21.2 percent to $202 

• Kauai occupancy grew by 1.8 percentage points to 67.9 percent, while room rates jumped 9.5 percent to $212; and

• Big Island occupancy slipped 7.7 percentage points to 56 percent, while room rates dove 9.2 percent to $155.

Huge Week In Kauai Real Estate Sales

January 2010 property sales for the island of Kauai ended at a staggering 160% gain for closed transactions compared to the month of January in 2009.  For the island last week we had 22 sales that closed escrow with 11 of those 22 being Short Sales or REO’s.  Overall the month of January had 52 sales compared to January of 2009 where there were only 20 sales.  Obviously the combination of the first time home buyer credit, low interest rates, tourism slightly turning around and short sale or REO low priced opportunities are making a very positive impact.  If you would like more information please contact me.  For a complete list of what came on the market and what sold here on the island CLICK HERE FOR SPREADSHEET

Kauai Real Estate and Local News Update

Lucky we live Kauai!  This photo is being used by the permission of Steve Hanley who took it of his wife Mona on a recent kayak trip they took from Koloa Landing to Spouting Horn here in Poipu.Kayak Poipu  I just love the shot of Lawai Beach Road in the background.  The nights have been nippy but the days have been wonderful.  We were super busy last week here on the south shore with a big Optometrist convention at the Hyatt, it was so large the need for accomodations spilled over to the outlining condominium resorts and the local Sheraton.   Local business’s were kept extra busy with the addition of the conventioneers. 

Two Fatal Crashes On the South Shore

A crash between a motorist and a motorcyclist occurred last Friday afternoon at 4 pm at the highway and Maluhia Road (Tree Tunnel Road).  The 46 year old motorcycle rider was pronounced dead after being transported to Wilcox hospital.  The driver of the sedan was turning left into tree tunnel road when she struck the Lihue man on the bike causing him to be thrown from his bike; he was not wearing a helmet.

In a separate incident, the Wednesday this accident, a pickup truck being driven by a Omao man crossed the center line and caused a head on collision which killed Tomas Garcia of Kapa’a who was an employee of and electric company.   This accident occurred on the highway as well by Kahili Mountain Park.  It is not known at this time if speed, drugs or alcohol are involved. 

Disney’s first resort in Hawaii has a name: Aulani 

The Disney resort, which is under construction at Ko Olina Resort on Oahu, is scheduled to open in the fall of 2011.  The name Aulani means “the place that speaks for the great ones,” or “the place that speaks with deep messages,” You can check out the progress on this resort by going to its website, www.disneyaulani.com which will provide updates on the resort’s development. The company hasn’t said how much the project costs but estimates put it at about $800 million.

When completed, the new resort will have 360 hotel rooms and 481 two-bedroom equivalent Disney Vacation Club villas. It will also include an 18,000 square-foot spa, two restaurants, 14,545 square-foot conference center, and 48,685 square feet of outdoor venues, including pools, hot tubs, a snorkeling lagoon and a variety of programs for children.

Maui Time Share Holders Taxed Out

A four-year-old tax on time shares on Maui is enraging property owners who say they are being hit with dramatically higher bills than local residents and resort property owners are paying.  Maui County created a separate tax rate for time share owners and they are not happy about it at all.  This graph will show the difference between the two categories.Maui time share tax

 New Flights Being Added by Hawaiian Airlines!

Great news!  This June Hawaiian Airlines is offering new flights between Hawaii and the Mainland:

HA1 LAX-HNL  8:35 a.m. depart            11.15 a.m. arrive
HA2 HNL-LAX  1:15 p.m. depart           9:30 p.m. arrive
And Hawaiian Airlines Will Open These Flights For The Summer
HA3 LAX-HNL  10:45 a.m. depart  1:15 p.m. arrive  (June 18-Sept 6)
HA4 HNL-LAX  10:30 p.m. depart  6:55 a.m.   arrive  (June 17-Sept. 5)
HA23 OAK-OGG 12:20 p.m. depart 2:20 p.m. arrive  (June 18-Sept. 6)
HA24 OGG-OAK  9:35 p.m. depart   5:30 a.m. arrive   (June 17-Sept 6)
HA37 SAN-OGG  10:35 a.m. depart   1:05 p.m. arrive (June 18-Aug 24)
HA38 OGG-SAN 10:30 p.m. depart   6:35 a.m. arrive  (June 17-Aug 23)

Kauai Real Estate News
In real estate news I saw that a exclusive resort on the Big Island is claiming credit for the “biggest residential sale in Hawaii in 2009”.  A five-bedroom, 8,630-square-foot oceanfront home at Hualalai Resort sold for $26.25 million.  However here on Kauai we had a residential sale for $28 million recorded in November of 2009!  This was a 174 acre with a 15,000 square foot 6 bedroom house with 8.5 bathrooms on Papa’a Bay on the north shore.  What is noteworthy is the total 2009 sales at Hualalai Resort, which is north of Kailua-Kona, were more than $150 million for 2009.  So what sold last week here on Kauai?  For an excel spreadsheet on our activity CLICK HERE FOR SPREADSHEET

Kauai Real Estate and Local News Update

*****Shanghai Circus Come To Kauai*****

On Thursday night saw the astonishing Shanghi acrobats perform at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall in Lihue.  The Hall has the capacity shanghito hold up to 1,092 and they were bringing chairs out to fill up the back portion of the room!  Born out of a tradition dating back 2,500 years, the new 2010 SHANGHAI CIRCUS combines artistry with athleticism.  The 2 hour show featured contortionists, plate spinners, traditional dragon dancers, tightrope walkers and more!  At one part of the show they had pulled four men from the audience to come up on the stage where they contortion-ed them into position to form a human table!  These acrobatic performers are from the People’s Republic of China and make yearly performances here in Kauai.  We paid $17.50 for the regular seats and the “gold” seating was $30.00 which gets you closer to the stage.  It was well worth the money and parking was an easy in and out.  I give “two thumbs up” to seeing this if you are in town this time next year.

Statewide Hotel Occupancy Number Up

Despite nationally hotel occupancy dropping 1.7% Hawaii statewide hotel occupancy grew 2.8% points to 65.4 percent for the week ending Jan. 9 as compared with the same week in 2009, however, room rates dropped 8.6 percent to average $183 a night. 

Occupancy and room rates for the four main Hawaiian Islands were as follows:

• Oahu occupancy was up 3.5 percentage points to 71.4 percent, while room rates fell 6.9 percent to $161;

• Maui occupancy increased 6.6 percentage points to 65.8 percent, while room rates dived 13.5 percent to $236

• Kauai occupancy remained flat at about 53 percent, while room rates slipped 7.5 percent to $194; and

• Big Island occupancy slid 3.8 percentage points to 51.4 percent, while room rates edged downward 6.5 percent to $171. 

Living Foods Market Update 

The Living Foods Market gained much attention with the publication that they would open in the new Kukui’ula shopping center on January 20th2010.  The store has fantastic front row placement in the shopping center and it’s obvious they are not going to open this Wednesday.  I personally called and spoke with the owner Jim Moffatt who said they are committed to the opening date of January 27th, that he has his refrigeration units in and perishables on the way so he is committed to that date.  He said he has numerous plans for the south shore whole foods store including gourmet delivery. 

 Correctional Health and Emergency Medical Services Workers Receive Pay Cuts and Furlough Days

Joining the Teachers here on Hawaii who have imposed “Furlough Fridays” the United Public Workers, which consist of 2,800 members are the latest to receive pay cuts and furlough days for the next 18 months, as a result of an arbitration panel’s final decision.  This news was released by Gov. Linda Lingle’s office announced late Friday.

The unit does not have the right to strike because it includes essential workers in jobs that require round-the-clock staffing.

The pay cuts and furloughs are as follows:

• Guards at Hawaii State Hospital, state prisons and the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility will receive up to a 5.45 percent pay cut, effective Jan. 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011.

• Hawaii Health Systems Corporation:

Up to 14 furlough days, effective January 1, 2010 to June 30, 2010. Then, up to 24 furlough days, effective July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011.

• City Emergency Medical Services:

No furloughs in fiscal year 2010 but up to 21 furlough days, effective July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011.

Real Estate News

The occupancy here in Kauai is way up, I see a huge difference from this time a year ago.  Some hotels and condo resorts are at 100% occupancy at times.  Lots of visitors means more exposure to our Kauai real estate.  So what happened last week?  For an excel spreadsheet on what came on the market and what sold last week island wide CLICK HERE

Kauai Real Estate and Local News Update

Two Airline Disturbances in One Week  

For the second time in a week, a Hawaiian Airlines flight has been diverted because of a passenger disturbance. Flight 17 from Las Vegas to Honolulu was diverted to Los Angeles International Airport early Friday morning because of an incident involving a woman being harassed by a male passenger onboard,” Hawaiian spokesman Keoni Wagner said in a statement. “Law enforcement officials met the flight on arrival and interviewed the parties. The male passenger was removed from the flight and the flight resumed to Honolulu an hour and 10 minutes later.” On Wednesday, two F-15 fighter jets intercepted and escorted a Hawaiian flight back to Portland, Ore., after a passenger allegedly disrupted the flight. Flight 39, bound from Portland to Kahului, Maui, landed safely, refueled and resumed its route after two passengers, a man and a woman, were removed.

 Hawaiian Airlines Sets Company Record

Hawaiian Airlines carried 8.3 million passengers in 2009, a company record which is a 6.2% increase over the number of passengers in 2008.   Surprised? I am given the news we’ve heard all last year.  In 2009, Hawaiian saw its revenue passenger miles grow 3.7 percent to 8.1 million, the number of available seat miles increase 2.2 percent to 9.7 million. In both December and the fourth quarter, Hawaiian posted increases in passenger counts, revenue passenger miles and load factors.

Traffic Mess in Kauai is Here to Stay

The Wailua Bridge closed on Wednesday and will remain closed until July, at that time a new Acrow panel bridge will be in place. The bridge is on the ocean side of the highway (this is the bridge that goes off to the right when you are crossing the highway). Both existing lanes of Kuhio Highway that cross the river will remain open but there may be periodic lane closures to accommodate construction. The new bridge will consist of two lanes for northbound traffic. A bike/pedestrian path will also be added on the ocean side of the new bridge. Once the new bridge is open, the historic Wailua Bridge, which is part of Kuhio Highway and which has been renamed the Bryan J. Baptiste Memorial Bridge, will consist of two southbound lanes of traffic.

Good news for the fall opening but for now this has become a nightmare for people who are stuck trying to get from one side of the island to another. If you need to travel through this area and have any time constraints be very careful. This project is costing $25 million with Federal highway funds covering 80 percent; state funds will cover the rest.

Single Engine Plane Crashes on Oahu

Police and fire rescue personnel have sighted the wreckage of a single-engine, fixed-wing plane near the top of Lanipo Ridge in East Honolulu and are attempting to reach the site to look for possible survivors. Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson Ian Gregor said that a Piper Cherokee was en route from Lana’i to Honolulu when air traffic controllers lost radar and radio contact with the plane around 1:45 p.m. Gregor said the pilot did not issue a mayday and it is not known if the plane crashed or if the pilot made a safe landing. A group of hikers on the Wiliwilinui Trail reported hearing a crash and seeing flames. One of the hikers on the Lanipo Trail said she heard the plane’s engine having difficulty before the crash. “It sounded like a backfire,” said the hiker, who asked not to be identified. Another hiker, who also asked not to be identified, said she saw “big flames” followed by the sound of popping.

Kauai Real Estate News

As you will see on the spread sheet we had quite a few closings last week here on Kauai. The national home statistic news is; contract activity for pending home sales fell after a surge of activity in preceding months to beat the original deadline for the first-time home buyer tax credit but remains comfortably above a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors®. The Pending Home Sales Index is a forward looking indicator based on contracts signed in November which fell from 114.3% to 96.0% but we’re still way ahead of November of 2008 when it was 83.1%. According to Lawrence Yun, the National Association of Realtors chief economist, the drop was expected. “It will be at least early spring before we see notable gains in sales activity as home buyers respond to the recently extended and expanded tax credit,” he said. “The fact that pending home sales are comfortably above year-ago levels show the market has gained sufficient momentum on its own. We expect another surge in the spring as more home buyers take advantage of affordable housing conditions before the tax credit expires.” For an excel spreadsheet on last weeks new listings and closed transactions CLICK HERE FOR SPREADSHEET

Kauai Real Estate and Local News Update

Happy New Year from Kauai!

The massive amounts of rain that we received during the day on December 31 made us all nervous about the scheduled firework shows for the island of Kauai that evening.  Good news is the rain stopped and conditions were perfect for the shows to ring in 2010 and having the ground saturated during the day by rain made the conditions safer for fireworks.  Did you know that fireworks here on New Years is much larger than on the Forth of July on the mainland?  It’s true and in some neighborhoods it can go on all night long! 

Here are some of the news headlines as well as a real estate update for you: 

Visitor from North Carolina Drowned off Waiohai on Monday

County officials said the 20-year-old man had been snorkeling at Waiohai Bay in Poipu. He was found face down about 20 feet from shore at about 1 p.m., officials said.  Lifeguards performed CPR. Paramedics treated the victim and took him to Wilcox Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Living Foods Market & Cafe to Open January 20th!

At long last we have a health food store here on the south shore located at Kukuiula Village in Poipu .

The 5,000-square-foot natural foods store is owned by Jim Moffatt, widely known as chef and owner of the popular Bar Acuda restaurant in Hanalei.  He will sell organic and locally grown gourmet food, produce and products at the new market and cafe, hours will be from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.  The cafe will serve European-style fare including panini sandwiches, pizzetas, crepes and salads for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  The store will roast it’s own coffee and will carry a 400 label wine selection.

Good News For Hawaii Tourism

Hawaii’s visitor business will finish 2009 much as it finished 2008: down from the previous year.

Still, there is a sense among state officials, economists, hoteliers, airline executives and other experts that Hawaii hit bottom somewhere over the past 20 months and is slowly moving up.  It’s supported by what’s transpired in just the past five months, with modest growth seen in some arrival and occupancy numbers, though visitor expenditures and revpar continue to lag.

“It’s a slow climb out of a deep hole,” economist Paul Brewbaker observed at a recent industry luncheon.  “We are past the trough of the visitor industry downturn, and gradual improvement will occur as the global recovery takes hold,”.  UHERO predicts visitor arrivals will expand 3.7 percent in 2010, led by more Japanese and Californians.

Joseph Toy, president and CEO of Hospitality Advisors , predicts a “seasonal bump” during the first quarter, though one that will still fall “well short of peak years.”  Toy said the earliest recovery could come is summer, a 12-week period to “build a sustainable floor” for recovery in 2011.  The same article left off with these two statements:


• The economy is recovering.

• Consumers are growing more confident.

Kauai Real Estate Update

For the year of 2009 it was a mixed bag for real estate sales in Kauai with some areas out preforming others with significant differences.  Taking the areas with the majority of vacation rental and second homes in them:

Koloa area some of which includes Poipu/Kalaheo/Omao/Lawai;
Homes sales were up by +20% but their median price was down by -34.52%, Condominium sales were down by -15% but median price was up by +1.15%

Home sales were down by -37.84% and and the median sales price down by  -2.08%.  Condominium sales were up by +63.64% but the median price was down by -28.16%
Kawaihau area includes the Coconut Coast (Islander, Waipouli Beach Resort etc.)
Home sales were down by -18.87% and the median price down by -21.29%.   Condominum sales were down by 21.74% and the median price was down by -41.67%

Residential sales were down by -8.96% and median sales price down by -20.23% condominium sales down by -26.03% and the median sales price down by -38.67%

For a list of what came on the market and what closed for the last week of the year 2009 CLICK HERE FOR SPREADSHEET

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

Kauai Real Estate and Local News Update

The pounding storms that rocked our island last week have given way to lots of sunshine with some scattered showers and heavy trade winds.  Emergency work on the Hanalei River started Friday morning for the repair of a breach in the Hanalei River bank upstream of the China Ditch intake that resulted from last weekend’s flooding.  Water levels have subsided in Hanalei.

On Sunday we had a rainy morning that cleared to blue skies and the ”TriKauai Triathlon” was in full swing at Poipu Beach Park.  Huge crowds of people both competing and cheering on their favorites.    

A Dump In Kalaheo????

Around 250 people packed the Kalaheo School cafeteria for Thursday night’s public meeting on a proposed new county landfill, and dozens who spoke gave myriad reasons why a committee-favored site on 127 acres of Kaua‘i Coffee Company land near the Brydeswood residential subdivision is a bad idea.  Residents are confused as to why this very productive agricultural land would even be considered when there are plenty of acres that used to be Gay and Robinson sugar land that could be used instead.
“The Umi site (as the Kalaheo site is known in landfill-proposal documents) does not make sense for Kaua‘i Coffee,” said Kaua‘i Coffee Company General Manager Wayne Katayama, to thunderous applause from the packed house.  
Mike Shimatsu, roastmaster at Kaua‘i Coffee Company, called it a “slap in the face” to consider placing a landfill on productive agricultural land. Current land use and the IAL designation are two reasons the Umi site should not even be considered for the new county landfill, Shimatsu said.  The proposed site would be located near Pu‘u Road and the National Tropical Botanical Garden.

Around 300 signatures were attached to pages of petitions opposing the Umi site for a new county landfill. Many in the crowd sported “Dump da Dump” buttons.  Another meeting with the same format is scheduled for Dec. 16 from 6 to 9 p.m., also in the Kalaheo School cafeteria.  Councilmembers have the final say on where a new county landfill will be sited.


Real Estate News; Wells Fargo will close three stores on the Big Island and Kauai next week as part of a plan to consolidate its Hawaii operations, this is in response to the slow economy.  Customers on the Big Island and Kauai will be served by one of the company’s three remaining stores in Wailuku on Maui and in Aiea and Waipahu on Oahu.

Also the Trump International Hotel Waikiki Beach Walk opened Monday.  Introductory rates at the 462-unit hotel start at $255 per night and go up to $8,000 for a penthouse suite.  Amenities and services include two restaurants, lobby bar, library, spa and fitness center.  The new Trump property is the fourth in the Trump Hotel Collection. The others are in New York, Chicago and Las Vegas.

For a list of what came on the market and what closed here in Kauai last weekCLICK HERE FOR A DOWNLOADABLE SPREADSHEET