Hawaii Is a Safe Place to Invest

Mainland Home Buyers see Hawaii as Safe Haven

Located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, thousands of miles from any other land mass, many feel Hawaii is a safe place to invest and to stay healthy. Hawaii saw only 637 cases of the COVID-19 across its islands with only 17 related deaths, 11 on Oahu and 6 on Maui. In comparison the US mainland confirmed 1.47 million cases and 88,237 deaths and it is still spreading globally. Most cases identified in Hawaii were introduced into the state by travelers, including returning residents. Hawaii early on set up a two-week quarantine for any incoming travelers and required all residents to a “stay-at- home” period. Social distancing and facemasks were mandatory if you had to be outside your place of residence. With Aloha, Hawaii residences took these mandates seriously resulting today with no new active cases in the state.
Kauai island had a total of 21 cases with all but one case being travel related consisting of 16 residents returning to the island and 5 visitors. All recovered with no deaths and there have been no new cases for 5 weeks.
Since March 15th and the shutdown of Kauai with visitor quarantines and stay-at home mandates, Kauai has seen 82 properties go into escrow. Many of these were done sight unseen with virtual tours or those seen prior to COVID-19. Some properties were able to be viewed by visitors and residents on island using strict safe practices of social distancing, facemasks, gloves and sanitary wipes.

Kauai’s inventory remains low keeping prices stable in most areas, however some predict prices could rise slightly during the year with the increased buyer interest looking to find a safe haven. Loan rates remain low often under 3% depending on a buyer’s credit and purchase amount that provides extra incentive to buyers to invest. Donna Rice, a senior real estate advisor with Elite Pacific Properties. LLC stated “Kauai’s luxury market priced over $1.1M on Kauai remains strong with 8 of the 82 properties that went under contract since March 15th were luxury properties, including 3 beachfront properties on Weke Road in Hanalei that sold for $36 million.” Whether you are looking for a primary residence, second home or investment property Hawaii’s lifestyle, climate, organic foods, and location make it a safe and healthy environment.
Click the photos below for a few properties worth a look:

Questions? Contact Donna today (808) 651-2840

Protected: The road from Hanalei to Haena on Kauai’s north shore is finally open!

After 14 months of closure due to the massive flooding on Kauai’s north shore in April 2018, Kuhio high on Kauai’s north shore from Hanalei to Haena has reopened. This 2 mile stretch of scenic coastline is home to some of the most beautiful beaches and state park in the entire Hawaiian Islands.

Although not completed, the roadwork will continue, fixing the bridges and roads that were damaged during the flood. Due to the incredible rise of tourism within the islands in the last few years, The newly implemented Haena State Park Master Plan limits the number of visitors to 900 a day. Advance reservations are now required for all vehicles, walkers, bikers and shuttle riders entering Haena State Park and day hikers accessing the Kalalau Trail. Reservations can be made here, up to 14 days in advance. There is no parking allowed on the highway and a strict $200 parking violation ticket for those not adhering to these new rules. This is in effort to minimize the visitor impact on this fragile ecosystem. Within the last year of no outside visitors the reefs have come back to life, marine life has rebounded and the way of life in Haena has slowed down to its former years with wildlife running loose and kids playing in the streets. The new system being implemented is an effort to find a balance between Hawaii’s #1 source of income (tourism) and protecting such a sacred place within the Hawaiian islands.

A new shuttle, created by the Hanalei initiative, called the “North shore shuttle” is now in place. Offering scheduled shuttle service to Haena daily, this is a fantastic alternative for visitors to enjoy Haena state park and minimize their impact. The new Kauai North Shore Shuttle runs from Princeville Makai Golf parking lot curb or Waioli parking area,  just past Hanalei to Haena State Park. Online reservations are required.

We encourage visitors to utilize this new system in respect to this fragile community and ecosystem that was affected and damaged by the floods. This is a rural community that has suffered tremendously and it will take traveling lightly, slowly and respectfully to help them transition back to the large number of visitors that are now accessing the area,” says Sue Kanoho, executive director of the Kauai Visitors Bureau.
She recommends visitors read and sign an “aloha pledge,” which you can find here. It offers advice and reminders on how best to explore the area.

Median condo price on Kauai doubles in May

By Janis L. Magin  – Real Estate Editor, Pacific Business News Jun 5, 2019, 6:40pm EDT

Single-family home sales on Kauai saw an uptick last month as the number of condominiums remained unchanged from a year ago, but the median price of a condo more than doubled when compared to last year, according to statistics provided by Hawaii Information Service on behalf of the Kauai Board of Realtors.

The median price of a condominium on the Garden Island in May was $580,000, which was 104.23% more than the median price in May 2018, which was $284,000. That was based on sales of 47 condo units, which was unchanged from a year ago.

The number of single-family homes sold rose 12% to 56 homes, from 50 homes sold in May last year. The median price of those homes was $636,755, which was a decline of 13.66% from $737,500.

One lane near Hanalei Bridge to remain closed

LIHUE — When Michael Ching heard that one lane of Kuhio Highway near the Hanalei Bridge would be closed, 24 hours a day, for the next four to five months, he wasn’t happy.

There was no way to put a positive spin on what this could mean for Hanalei businesses.

“It’s going to be horrible,” said Ching, manager and owner of Ching Young Village Shopping Center.

The parking lot of the center, usually packed with vehicles at this time of the year, was about 30 percent empty Thursday afternoon, he said during a phone interview with TGI.

Fewer people than normal walked in and out of the retail shops, and restaurants had many open tables.

The lane closure that started Saturday, Ching said, “is already taking a toll. Definitely.”

So, the North Shore town already hammered by the flooding in April 2018 that damaged stores and homes, still slowly but surely recovering, is about to take another punch in its economic gut that could leave some down and out.

“This is not helping,” Ching said.

Here’s the problem.

The Hanalei-bound lane of the Kuhio Highway at mile marker 1 was closed Saturday in response to a rock slide following heavy rains. Since then, traffic has been limited to one lane as the Hawaii Department of Transportation carries out emergency slope stabilization work on the hill leading to Hanalei Bridge.

Work on the slope Sunday included removal of a large tree that had been cracked by the falling rocks and rock scaling. It was hoped the slope stabilization would be finished Monday.

But following a Wednesday assessment of the slope adjacent to Kuhio Highway at mile marker 1, optimism for a quick reopening of two lanes was dashed.

HDOT said Thursday the Lihue bound lane of the highway will remain closed as crews work to stabilize the upper and lower slopes.

The closure, though, is not for just a few days. It’s for several months. For 24 hours a day.

That means alternating traffic control — which means long delays and long lines of cars, trucks and SUVs.

That will affect not just tourists coming and going, but residents who live and work on the North Shore.

“The Lihue bound lane of Kuhio Highway will remain closed for the duration of the slope stabilization, which is expected to take between four to five months to complete,” the release said.

The plan for the slope stabilization includes scaling, soil nail installation, and Tecco mesh and shotcrete reinforcement.

Traffic will be allowed in both directions with alternating traffic control except for when rock scaling is scheduled on the upper slope.

The delays could be even longer, some days, because during rock scaling, crews will temporarily stop traffic for 30-45 minutes as they knock loose material down and clean the road.

Then motorists will be directed through the closure one direction at a time.

Rock scaling operations will not take place during the lower slope work.

“Please be advised that the highway in this location will be limited to one lane 24 hours a day until the stabilization is completed for the safety of passing motorists,” the release said.

The HDOT said the public is asked to avoid the area if possible and to treat the traffic control personnel with courtesy.

“We are aware of scheduled events in the area including the HCRA State Championship Race in August and will coordinate access and traffic control with the county and other stakeholders,” HDOT’s release said.

Mark Perriello, president of the Kauai Chamber of Commerce, said the impact on Hanalei business “will be significant.”

Reducing traffic to one lane on Kuhio Highway for nearly half a year will greatly reduce the number of visitors who frequent retail stores and restaurants on the North Shore.

Perriello said while the chamber supports businesses in Hanalei and will do all it can to help, it would be hard to encourage people to go there if it meant sitting in traffic for an hour or more.

“It’s a really tough situation,” he said.

He said all businesses in Hanalei should be prepared for interruptions and fewer guests, and should record customer foot traffic and sales on a daily basis. That way, they can document losses which are likely due to the highway repairs and seek government assistance.

“There’s definitely the potential to lose businesses up there,” Perriello said.

He said perhaps something could be done at the government level to help resolve the situation.

“I don’t think there is anything that can be done in terms of helping the businesses maintain their customer base during this time,” he said. “That’s going to be really, really difficult.”

“There are no quick answers,” he added. “They’re going to have to get creative.”

Ching suggested one solution could be to do night work, though he added that would present safety issues.

“We need to sort of brainstorm this together,” he said, “see where windows of opportunity are and maybe let both lanes flow two to three times a day.”

He said he couldn’t blame people for not wanting to drive to Hanalei as the situation stands.

He said since the lane closure began over the weekend, traffic has backed up to the shopping center from about 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. On the other side of the bridge, it backs up to Princeville.

One Hanalei employee went to pick up some freight Thursday morning, which meant passing through the work zone, and couldn’t return until the afternoon due to the traffic jam.

Ching said businesses that rely on tourists, like gift shops and restaurants, are suffering.

“They’re the ones taking more of a hit,” he said.

While Kuhio Highway beyond Hanalei has been closed to general traffic since the April 2018 floods, at least visitors could get to Hanalei to shop and eat. But the lane closure is compounding an already difficult situation.

Ching is hoping to “work something out” with government agencies.

“Let’s put everybody in the room and come up with a mutual solution,” he said.

Until then, challenges await Hanalei businesses.

And that’s putting it mildly.

“I’m thinking it’s going to be worse,” Ching said.


Bill Buley, editor-in-chief, can be reached at 245-0457 or bbuley@thegardenisland.com.