Hawaii Real Estate Blog
It has been a couple years since we first launched our new Hawaii real estate search that Real Geeks created for the site. We have been getting nothing but great reviews from all our users how easy and fast the real estate search is to use. They love how they can view the listings on a simple list view plus also have the ability to click over the interactive map search. Our time on site has doubled plus and our pages views have done the same. Our repeat traffic is growing monthly. We have over 80,000 registered users and growing.
We know that the team over at Real Geeks has been a big part of our success!!! They have been growing at a rapid pace because the solution coverts 3 to 10 times higher than other solutions. For example: Brett Boone from Oklahoma City was using Diverse Solutions IDX with only a 3% conversion rate.. Once he switched over to Real Geeks his conversion rate went to 13.5% and went from generating 100 leads a month to over 400, that is a 400% increase or 4 times the amount of leads. The CRM is easy to use and helps our agents convert more business as well!!
I am really excited to announce that American Dream Realty just launched its new company Hawaii real estate search and is powered by IDX provider Real Geeks (a company I started with a friend Kevin over a year ago). Back when I was looking to re do my personal Hawaii Realtor site I could not find a solution that was user friendly with a fast property search. I also needed had a back-end lead manager to help me keep track and give my users great follow up! I had also been scammed by a previous IDX provider and really wanted to help other agents get a great solution to help them do more business as well! That is why Kevin and I teamed up to create Real Geeks.
American Dream Realty is looking forward to building a great Hawaii real estate search engine and portal full of great Hawaii information. It will be a great resource for buyers and sellers. I am sure it will be a huge success like my personal website.
The Mission Beach real estate market, a small section of the larger San Diego County real estate market, saw disappointing home sale statistics for both yearly composite and some monthly measures in December 2010. Interestingly, according to one tracking service, provided by the San Diego Association of Realtors, sales of both detached and attached homes saw a significant increase over December 2009. Detached homes saw a sales spike of just under twenty-seven percent compared to year-ago levels, while attached homes rallied by twelve and a half percent. A seasonal increase is generally considered normal between November and December. However, this uptick was not sufficient to bring the area’s annual figures into positive territory. For the entire year, the San Diego area saw a decrease of more than seven percent for attached homes and a decline of nearly five and a half percent for attached homes. Significantly, the annual median sales price increased compared to last year, reaching $330,000 in 2010 – a rally of about eight percent from 2009. Detached homes specifically saw average sales prices rise by almost eight and a half percent, to $385,000, while attached homes saw a less pronounced rally at less than seven and a half percent ($220,000). Additionally, homes spent about eight percent more time on the real estate market in 2010 relative to 2009, with detached homes taking about ten fewer days to sell than attached homes.
The number of Mission Beach real estate closings and pending San Diego County home sales decreased in December 2010, bucking a nationwide trend to the contrary. According to the national Pending Homes Sales Index, the number of pending home sales in the United States as a whole saw an increase in the most recent tracking period, while the number of pending sales in San Diego County saw a decrease. In December 2010, there were a total of 4,471 pending sales in the county, compared to 4,652 a month earlier. One local real estate expert attributed the lag to the more expensive product mix of properties in San Diego, which tends to have a median sales price well above many other parts of the state and country.
The Kahului real estate market, a western section of the larger Maui housing market, saw a series of encouraging signs in recent months. Although the number of foreclosures in the region has become a concern for many analysts, there were a larger number of condominium sales and stronger resort market figures in recent months. According to statistics reported in the Lahiana News, the number of condominiums sold on Maui from January 2010 to September 2010 was a forty-nine percent improvement over the same period last year. The average sales price, however, saw a decrease of about nine percent. This helps to explain the number of sales in recent months in conjunction with historically low interest rates. Just as the condo market has been rallying, the resort real estate market has recovered strongly over the past year. Total sales have increased by about fifty percent over the last three quarters, while the low average price of resort properties has helped to drive demand. On Maui in particular, there will be a projected 629 resort sales in 2010, a record compared to the previous high of 588, reached in 2005. Conversely, while the average price of resort property on Maui was about $1,400,000, a substantial decrease from the peak figure, which was closer to two million dollars. Last year, the median price was closer to one and a half million dollars.
The number of foreclosures in Maui, including distressed Kahului homes for sale, decreased in the month of November 2010. Although many local and state government officials have started to initiate formal investigations of foreclosure practices as well as coordinate government relief efforts, it appears that the initial flood of mortgage defaults may have subsided. According to statistics provided by RealtyTrac, there were a total of 877 foreclosures in the state of Hawaii during November. For Maui in particular, the number of foreclosures fell by approximately ten percent compared to November 2009. By comparison, Kauai decreased by nineteen percent, while the Big Island saw seven percent fewer and Oahu actually saw fifteen percent more foreclosures.
The Ko Olina real estate market, found on the North Shore of the island of Oahu, saw some signs of weakness even as the overall forecast for the state’s housing market began to improve. According to statistics compiled by the Honolulu Board of Realtors, there were fewer single-family homes purchased in the month of November 2010 compared to year-ago levels. There were a total of 245 single family properties sold in the most recent tracking period, while 258 were sold in November 2009, representing a decrease of approximately five percent. The elevated quantity of home sales in November of last year can be partially attributed to the federal housing tax credit, which expired at the same time last year. According to a report from Pacific Business News, the average sales price of an Oahu single-family home was $585,000, representing a decline of approximately five thousand dollars from the same time last year. Condominium sales saw a similar scenario, with the median price increasing and sales volume decreasing. In November, there were a total of 303 condos sold, while there were 402 sold in November 2009. The median price for condominiums rose from $310,500 in 2009 to $315,000 in 2010.
However, the outlook for the next few months is cautiously optimistic, according to a forecast by the Hawaii Association of Realtors. The outlook, which was published in Pacific Business News, indicated that higher interest rates and fewer houses on the market may point towards a seller’s market in the upcoming year. Experts expect the interest rate to rise above five percent in 2011, while the local housing inventory remains low. Similarly, unemployment on the island of Oahu, including Ko Olina, is quite low compared to national levels at 5.4 percent. As interest rates rise, it is possible that potential buyers who have been on the fence will make the decision to purchase a property in the upcoming months. Ko Olina’s economic success is heavily dependent on the tourist industry, which suggests that the region’s real estate might improve as the state’s most important economic driver also improves.
Search all Hawaii homes for sale
The Hilo housing market continues to be adversely affected by high rates of foreclosures and destabilized by the uncertainty of the ongoing foreclosure fraud investigations. The investigation in particular has called the status of many foreclosures into question. An October 13, 2010 article from KITV 4 News found that “Hawaii is joining the other 49 states in a massive investigation into whether major mortgage lenders committed foreclosure fraud. Hawaii Attorney General Mark Bennett said he suspects there have been abuses here, partly because, he said, state laws may make it too easy to for someone to lose their home. In California some homeowners challenging foreclosures have physically taken back their homes. Many believe they now have an advantage over the mortgage company in court — because of revelations that foreclosure fraud by lenders may have affected thousands of homeowners across the country. Lenders including Chase and Bank of America confirmed they had people signing off on foreclosure paperwork for the lenders without any real review of the documents. Hawaii Attorney General Mark Bennett said that kind of behavior could cause a foreclosure to be reversed. “There have been foreclosure abuses across America,” Bennett said. “Likely Hawaii, as well…”
For the moment, however, it appears that the foreclosure investigation will have a delayed effect on Hilo homes for sale, as the third quarter foreclosure rate for the state increased by nearly fifty percent. According to an October 14, 2010 report from Pacific Business News, “The number of properties in Hawaii with foreclosure actions jumped 48 percent in the third quarter when compared to the same quarter in 2009, ranking the state 10th in the nation, according to the latest statistics from RealtyTrac. There were 4,060 properties with foreclosure filings — including notices of default, trustee sales and bank-owned properties — during the July-September period, or a rate of one per every 126 housing units. September alone saw a 67 percent increase in filings on Hawaii properties over the same month in 2009, ranking the state ninth in the nation. There were a total of 1,617 properties with foreclosure filings last month, or one per every 317 housing units.”
The Kona real estate market, one of the two major portions of the Hawaii Island housing market, has been suffering from a recent controversy regarding affordable housing. A planned affordable housing community with thousands of units has hit a roadblock, according to a November 5, 2010 article from the Honolulu Star Advertiser. The piece by Andrew Gomes noted that “A planned community with 2,330 homes initiated by the state to produce work-force housing on the Big Island is generating concerns and opposition that threaten to derail the project.The estimated $734 million master-planned community called Kamakana Villages at Keahuolu has been in the works for several years, and faces a key hearing today in Kona where the state Land Use Commission is expected to either stop or advance the project. Developer Forest City Hawaii LLC petitioned the LUC in September to reclassify the 272-acre site near Kailua-Kona from agricultural to urban use. But the former owner of the land has raised objections over the use of the site and whether impacts from increased traffic will sufficiently be mitigated. The Queen Liliuokalani Trust, which sold the project site and adjacent land to the state in 1992 under threat of condemnation, has raised its objections with Hawaii County officials, in arguments before the LUC and in a lawsuit filed recently to halt LUC proceedings.”
Statistics released by RealtyTrac seem to indicate that the negative influence of foreclosures on Kona homes for sale will not stop anytime soon. Across the state, and on Hawaii Island in particular, there were a considerable number of foreclosures in the third quarter of the year. According to an October 14, 2010 report from Pacific Business News, “The number of REOs more than doubled on the Big Island, which had 397 bank repossessions last quarter, compared to 160 a year ago. Kailua-Kona continues to lead in that county with the greatest number of foreclosure filings, and the greatest number of bank repossessions with 153, almost triple the amount it had in the third quarter of 2009.” The effect of the recent Bank of America automated foreclosure controversy is unclear, although in the end it will likely not stem the tide of distressed properties.
The Hanalei real estate market, a portion of the Kauai housing market which is heavily influenced by the tourist industry, is seeing some encouraging news in the most recent tracking periods. According to a November 5, 2010 report from the Honolulu Star Advertiser, “The state’s tourism industry is recovering faster than expected, and visitor arrivals could approach record levels in 2012, according to one of Hawaii’s leading economists.”Hawaii tourism has proven to be more resilient than most of us thought a year ago, and hopefully that will be the leading edge of economic growth as it spreads to other sectors of the local economy,” First Hawaiian Bank economic adviser Leroy Laney said yesterday at the bank’s 41st annual business outlook forum at Dole Cannery Ballroom. Laney said visitor arrivals — as well as spending — are tracking ahead of this year’s estimates, and he expects arrivals to easily exceed his 2010 estimate of a 5.5 percent increase. Through September, visitor arrivals were up 7.2 percent to 5,298,830, and expenditures were ahead 13.7 percent to nearly $8.4 billion, according to data released yesterday by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Laney said a 4.5 percent increase in arrivals next year would be “realistic” and bring the state above the 7 million threshold so that in 2012 it would be in position to challenge the 7.5 million arrivals record achieved in 2006 and 2007.”
Less Hanalei home owners are facing serious financial distress, according to new statistics reported by the Honolulu Star Advertiser. Hopefully, this means that fewer Hanalei homes for sale will be Kauai foreclosures or short sales on Kauai. The November 2, 2010 article by Alan Yonan noted that “The number of Hawaii residents filing for bankruptcy dropped below 300 in October for the first time in eight months, although local bankruptcy attorneys say business is still brisk by historical standards. The 297 filings last month were the fewest since 291 cases were filed in February, according to federal Bankruptcy Court statistics. There was an 8.4 percent rise in filings from October 2009, the smallest increase in nearly a year. Bankruptcy filings for the first 10 months of the year are still running well ahead of last year’s pace. Despite signs that the economy is finally showing signs of improvement, many consumers are continuing to dig themselves out of debt racked up during the recent recession, which saw Hawaii’s unemployment rate hit a three-decade high.”
The Wailea Makena real estate market, an upscale portion of the larger Maui housing market, has retained a high median sale price despite the overall stagnant trend of the rest of the Valley Island. An October 12, 2010 article from the Honolulu Star Advertiser noted that “Terry Tolman, chief executive of the Realtors Association of Maui, noted that prices aren’t likely to rise until the considerable inventory of homes facing foreclosure or repossessed by lenders is absorbed. According to an analysis of Maui’s economy last month by Hawaii Pacific University economics professor Leroy Laney for First Hawaiian Bank, median home prices are declining but at a lower rate this year than in 2009. At the high end there were four sales for a median $1.5 million in Wailea/Makena, compared with eight sales a year earlier for the same median price. The largest submarket for single-family homes on Maui is Central Maui, where there were 21 sales last month for a median $437,500. That compared with 13 sales for a median $427,000 a year earlier. On the lower end there were 11 sales in Kihei for $381,000 last month, compared with 11 sales a year earlier for a median $450,000. On the high end there were five sales in Wailea/Makena for a median $3.9 million. There were no single-family home sales in Wailea/Makena in September 2009.”
Makena homes for sale and other Maui properties continue to face the difficulties associated with high foreclosure rates, according to a November 4, 2010 article from the Lahaina News. The report by Mark Vieth stated that “Fear arrives in the mail at hundreds of Maui households each month. In September in West Maui, for example, 71 homeowners received letters that their houses went into foreclosure. RealtyTrac reported 338 Maui foreclosures in September and 1,617 new filings in the state that month. Hawaii has a non-judicial foreclosure law (HRS 667) that gives mortgage companies the authority to foreclose on a property without court approval. If an owner falls behind two months on house payments, the mortgage company can simply submit an affidavit to the state Bureau of Conveyances to be stamped, received and filed.”
The Lahaina housing market, a substantial portion of the larger Maui real estate market, has been holding relatively steady over the last few tracking periods despite an increase in the number of foreclosures. According to an October 16, 2010 report from Pacific Business News, “What that means is the median-price home on Maui last month was $440,000, the same as it was in September of last year, but nearly $100,000 less than two years ago, and more than $150,000 less than September 2007, according to the numbers recently released by the Realtors Association of Maui. In 2006, that median-priced house went for $769,000. Some neighborhoods actually saw prices rise, but places like Kihei, which has seen a lot of foreclosure and short-sale activity, are still seeing lower median prices. For example, the median-priced home in Kihei that sold for $450,000 in September 2009 sold for $381,000 last month, a 15 percent discount. Real estate experts say that once the level of inventory is reduced that prices will start to rise again. We’re already seeing that on Oahu, where prices have been going up as the inventory goes down. But no one can say when that will happen on the Neighbor Islands, especially since nationally, some in the industry expect more foreclosures to come.”
Lahaina homes for sale continue to be adversely affected by the high percentage of foreclosures on Maui and in the state. According to an October 14, 2010 report from the Honolulu Star Advertiser, “In Hawaii, much of the foreclosure trouble has occurred on the neighbor islands, where investors rushed to buy vacation property during the real estate frenzy. Most of the foreclosure filings counted by RealtyTrac still involve property owners struggling to keep their homes. Of the 1,617 Hawaii filings last month, 80 were default notices and 1,046 were sale notices. Another 491 were repossessions by lenders. By county, Maui had the worst foreclosure rate in September, at one filing per 191 households, or 347 filings in all. The Hawaii island had the next worst rate at one filing per 194 households, based on 411 total filings. Kauai’s rate was one filing per 246 households, based on 121 filings. Honolulu real estate had the most filings with 738, but it had the lowest rate, at one filing for every 457 households.”