Author Archives: Donna Rice

About Donna Rice

Donna Rice, RB, CRS, RSPS, SFR, GRI, is Broker In Charge of CENTURY 21 All Islands on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. Donna has been awarded more quality service and production awards than any CENTURY 21 agent in Hawaii's history. Proven performance means you're in good hands. Buying or selling property in Hawaii is a complicated process, and Donna is an expert guide. 808-651-2840

VACATION HOMES, CONSUMER CONFIDENCE SURGES

Sales of second homes will go up 10% this year, following a 30% bump last year, much stronger than a comparatively flat rate for all homes in the USA. Investors playing a diminished role. (Kiplinger Letter Vol. 91, No. 25)

In addition, and probably helping this, is U.S. consumer confidence hits 8 year high, per the Conference Board’s projections. (Star Advertiser, June 27)

Another probable cause:  a bitter and lengthy winter throughout mainland USA kept buyers for most large purchases (Cars, real estate) indoors.This is confirmed by USA Today, June 25.

Here on Kauai median prices are generally leveling out, and with inventory lower than normal, it may be a good time to buy or sell (no remorse about paid too much or sold for too little).

Donna Rice, (RB), Lic. #17725, can help you.  www.hawaii-property.com

Century 21 All Islands Kauai

 

IS IT TIME TO BUY REAL ESTATE?

 Wouldn’t you know it? There are still buyers wondering if now is the time to
buy a home. Now, when inventory is extremely low, mortgage interest
rates are starting to rise (up to 4.46 percent last week) and home
prices have seen huge price jumps in many markets.

And yet there are some who believe there may be a price advantage to waiting a few more
months, until we get into the fall and even winter season. But more
on that in a moment.

There’s no question that the real estate market is healthier than it has been in
years, but the headlines aren’t quite giving consumers the whole
story. While existing home sales, new construction sales and home
prices are trending up, they are still below their pre-recession
peaks, noted Amy Crews Cutts, senior vice president and chief
economist for Equifax.

Single-family housing starts are still down around 60 percent from the
pre-recession peak, while existing home sales are still down about 38
percent and prices are down roughly 20 percent.

Even with large percentage gains in housing measures, all major indices of housing
market vitality point to a long recovery yet to come,” she said in
a live Webinar on the housing market hosted by Ilyce. (Full
disclosure: Ilyce also serves as the managing editor for the Equifax
Finance Blog.)

What’s keeping the housing market depressed isn’t a lack of buyers but a lack of
inventory. There simply aren’t enough houses to buy. Home builders
can’t build homes fast enough: There aren’t enough building
materials in some communities, and others are experiencing a shortage
of construction workers.

This lack of inventory is starting to push up prices and is making the market move
much more quickly, noted Steve Cook, editor of Real Estate Economy
Watch, and the former head of public affairs for the National
Association of Realtors.

At the same time, mortgage interest rates have jumped up more than half a percentage
point in the last few weeks, even as the Federal Reserve Bank has
continued buying Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities at the
rate of $85 billion per month.

Last month, the stock market was thrown into turmoil when the Federal Reserve hinted
that it may begin to cut back as the economy looks to improve and
wind down the program entirely within a year. The stock market has
more than doubled since 2009, benefiting enormously from the historic
low interest rates, but fell nearly 5 percent in recent weeks.
Economists project the Federal Reserve may decrease its bond-buying
by $20 billion per month, starting in September.

If the Federal Reserve stops buying bonds, mortgage interest rates will rise
further, Cutts said. “But you have to keep it in perspective. In
2012, we hit this interest rate level for the first time in history
and we were celebrating,” she added.

Rising interest rates could mean home prices will slow down, noted Jed Kolko,
Trulia’s chief economist.

Of course, slower price gains are a good thing if it prevents us from getting
back into bubble territory. Anyone even a little bit worried about a
new housing bubble forming should be happy that the Fed is easing
rates back up,” Kolko added.

Even so, home affordability is near a record high. Which means now is the best time
to buy a house, unless you want to bet that interest rates will hold
where they are now into the beginning of next year. Cutts said that
home prices may fall slightly as buyer demand dips seasonally. That
could mean a price cut of as much as 1 to 3 percent, a not
insignificant number if you’re buying a $100,000 to $300,000 house.

But if interest rates jump another half percentage point, you may lose that price
advantage to higher interest rates and monthly payments.

Still, the question of whether now is the time to buy a home (whether to live in or as an
investment) comes down to different but related question: Is it the
right time for you?

Ilyce R. Glink is the author of many books on real estate and host of “Real
Estate Minute” on her YouTube.com/expertrealestatetips channel.
Samuel J. Tamkin is a Chicago-based real estate attorney.

Courtesy of Washington Post

HONOLULU IS NOT HAWAII

How can this be?
Recently, a financial literacy group, with the odd name of NerdWallet, calculated Honolulu as the most expensive city in the U.S.  An understanding of the Hawaiian Islands is critical to your understanding of the state, and this statistic.

To most of the world, Honolulu and Waikiki Beach are Iconic Hawaii. We have been and driven in Honolulu many times and around Oahu, it is basically a big, crowded, high-rise-condo, financial center; to many, such as the Asia/Pacific, that’s where you go to buy a mega-mansion in Kahala, and Diamondhead, which are full of $10,000,000 and up waterfront compounds.  They do not know that Neighbor Islands of Kauai, Maui, and the Big Island, are almost polar opposites of this urban center.

Even the island of Lanai, recently purchased by Larry Ellison, the flamboyant and fabulously wealthy Founder and CEO of tech giant Oracle, does not buy in Honolulu.  In fact he saw the opportunity a quiet, peaceful island
presented and is now in the process of modernizing and expanding this potential next Big Thing.

Each neighbor island has its own personality, and within each are micro-climates.  Did you know that little Hilo, on the Big Island, is the second largest city in Hawaii?  Or that Kauai is the least populated at about 65,000 and 555 square miles?  So many Oahu/Honolulu residents have to live there because that’s where the jobs are.  The Neighbor Islands depend on tourism, and less so agriculture.  The Neighbor Islands offer beauty,
peace and quiet, and almost no crime, especially Kauai.  Many Honolulu residents vacation on Kauai, for instance. So don’t be fooled by limited and mis-leading information.  I hope to see you on the Garden Island, a wise choice.

Kauai Island Utility Cooperative No. 2 utility in U.S. for solar energy

 

Kauai, which is known for the most breathtaking sandy beaches, the lushest mountains and the best Saimin this side of the Rocky Mountains, may also add solar energy to that list of superlatives.

The Washington D.C.-based nonprofit Solar Electric Power Association on Tuesday ranked the Garden Isle’s Kauai Island Utility Cooperative as second in the nation for integrating and delivering solar energy to its customers.

The high ranking should come as no big surprise. By 2015, KIUC noted that half of Kauai’s daytime energy needs will be met by solar, the highest percentage of solar photovoltaic energy on the grid of any utility in the U.S.

As a Kauai native, it’s good to see that the transformation to renewables is showing some noticeable results.

Just last December, Alexander & Baldwin Inc. (NYSE: ALEX) completed construction on the largest solar generation facility in Hawaii, its 6-megawatt PV farm at Port Allen on the west side of Kauai.

 Reporter- Pacific Business News

KAUAI TOPS IN HAWAII AND #2 IN THE U.S.

Travel website TripAdvisor announced Tuesday the winners of its inaugural Travelers’ Choice Islands awards.

Based on millions of valuable traveler reviews and opinions on the site, the awards recognize more than 100 islands across the globe, including dedicated lists for Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, South America, the South Pacific, and the U.S.

In the list for best U.S. islands, Kauai came in second place, Maui, came in fifth place and the Big Island came in eighth place.