Hawaii Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

Feb. 17, 2019

2019 Home Trends

2019's Hottest Home Decor
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Comfort is trending for 2019, a consensus of home decorators agree, with more people seeking warm colors, intimate spaces and a casual but sophisticated lifestyle. 

Designers looking to pair physical coziness with emotional comfort forecast seven decor trends:


Scaled down furnishings - After years of favoring large furniture and open spaces, consumers are aiming for a ‘nesting’ environment and choosing smaller pieces arranged in more intimate settings. 

Wall coverings - The return to traditionalism brings with it a return to wallpaper, fabric wall coverings and murals. Expect to see plenty of rich shades of green in fabric and wallpaper patterns. 

Color changes - While blues and indigos have been huge in recent years, green is the new blue for 2019 and is likely to be used in everything from upholstery patterns to kitchen furnishings. 

Color ‘pops’ - People are ditching beige minimalism in favor of fun colors, especially in family-friendly spaces. Yellow is the hottest color for small accent pieces–from ceramics to lamps to sofa pillows. 

Warm woods and traditional styles - Antiques and even second-hand items are having their moment again, with consumers looking for skirted tables, wooden chests and other wood pieces with a sense of history. 

Indoor and outdoor fireplaces - The coziness trend favors indoor fireplaces, working or not, with homey hearths as a nice spot to gather. Outdoors, fireplaces are preserving the joy of summertime barbecues. 

Crafts and artisanal accents - In a world of increasing mass production, there has been a shift back to artisanal and boutique choices in pillows, wall hangings, quilts and other accent pieces all around the home.
How to Reduce Your Home's Carbon Footprint
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GardenYou may work to reduce your personal carbon footprint by driving less and recycling, but do you consider the footprint of your home? Here are some tips to make your home and your wallet a little greener. 

Buy efficient appliances. Appliances are getting more efficient every year, and some have better energy and water-use ratings than others. The energy rating of an appliance is easy to find and can be a great guide for those looking to reduce their electricity and water consumption. 

Install low-use fixtures. Shower heads, toilets, faucets and other fixtures now come in models that use less water than others. These fixtures can lower a home's utility bill as well as reduce the amount of water a home uses. 

Plant a garden. Plants remove carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. Keeping a garden can help counteract your carbon output, provide a fun hobby and supply you with homegrown vegetables or beautiful flowers. Install a drip irrigation system so that plants get only the water they need. 

Landscape using climate-appropriate plants. Local plants are better adapted to the environment, are non-invasive to other species and require less water than outsiders.
Feb. 16, 2019

Real Estate Market Conditions February 2019

The financial markets are sensing that the predicted government shutdown and protracted trade war with China will be averted. This is good news and a reason why stocks have continued to push higher and home loan rates have capped for the past few weeks.

Retail Sales

But last Thursday, Retail Sales was reported at a shocking 9-year low. Combing through the report, a 3.9% decline in internet purchases was a huge negative surprise. With consumer spending making up nearly 70% of GDP, there is fear in the markets that this very poor Retail Sales number is an early warning sign that both consumer spending and thus economic growth are indeed slowing.

One thing we know for sure - bonds love uncertainty and bad news. This Retail Sales report brought both and as a result, pushed prices and home loan rates near the best levels in a year.

We will be watching future Retail Sales reports to see if this is just one bad report or the start of a negative trend.

In any case, reports like these support the Fed to not raise rates in 2019.

This week, housing data dominates the headlines as the sector looks to rebound after ending 2018 on a low note.

Freddie Mac said last week that while housing activity has clearly softened over the last nine months and the lingering effects of higher rates from last year are still being felt, the recent decline in home loan rates coupled with a strong job market should rekindle demand as we enter the spring homebuying season.

The minutes from the January Fed meeting will also be released and while it is generally accepted that the Fed will be on hold for interest rates, the investing community will closely scrutinize the minutes for any signals on the Fed's balance sheet reduction.

All U.S. markets are closed on Monday in observance of Presidents Day.

NAHB Housing Market Index will be released on Tuesday followed by Housing Starts and Building Permits on Wednesday and Existing Home Sales on Thursday.
The Philadelphia Fed Index will be delivered on Thursday along with Weekly Initial Jobless Claims and Durable Orders.


Ralph Gray

Feb. 14, 2019

How to take care of a beach house


Having beachfront real estate is what most people dream of.

Just imagine enjoying a breathtaking view of the sunset and watching green sea turtles and whales breaching in the distance from your patio while listening to the relaxing sound of waves. Who could wish for more? Now that you own this wonderful oceanfront home, its time to keep your property in top shape and provide it with high-quality maintenance so it holds it's value and builds equity.

So how do I take care of my beachfront real estate? Luckily, we can provide the answer.

Proper insurance – the care for your beachfront real estate starts here

If you love the beach, abundant sunshine and the ocean, relocating to Hawaii might be a good idea. Should you find a beachfront house and turn it into your permanent home, you are one of the lucky ones. Now, it is necessary to take steps to protect your property well and prevent any future issues. Insure your home properly even if it includes different policies or even different insurance providers. Good care for your beachfront real estate includes protection from hurricanes, tidal waves, burglaries, natural disasters, and fire. Explore your options and choose the protection accordingly.

Finding a solution to beach erosion

Unsurprisingly, this is an ever-present issue on the beachfront. Consequently, it is of utter importance to find an adequate solution. However, prior to taking any steps, consulting the local government authority or a licensed engineer on this is necessary. There, you will get detailed information on what you can or cannot do concerning this problem. Meanwhile, planting some plants like the native Nau Paka bush and or and vine flowers that cling tightly to the soil is advisable and beneficial on various levels. Firstly, they slow the erosion significantly. Secondly, they decorate your space and make it more lively and pleasant. Finally, by slowing the erosion, they enable you to save both your home and property value. In more extreme cases a wall or abatement may be necessary. 


Design and Equip your beachfront home properly

The vicinity of the ocean and the salty coastal air can harm and affect both the exterior and the interior of your home. The attractive exterior of your beach home can be damaged and unsightly once patches of rust appear on your metal doors or window frames. Also the wood can become salt damaged and look fuzzy and soft. The vicinity of the ocean combined with periods of heavy rains, winds and high humidity often results in the appearance of mold and mildew around your home. It is important to keep up your paint and or stain to protect the wood on a beach front home. Use as little metal as possible to avoid rust issues and tarnishing. Wood and vinyl are the best to use on oceanfront homes.

How to improve your beachfront real estate?

When it comes to home improvement, you need something durable and resistant to the harsh conditions your beachfront real estate is exposed to throughout the year. Thus, when involved in home improvement projects, avoid using metal. Although metal looks nice and attractive, it will soon oxidize due to the salt in the ocean air. Instead, use alternatives like fiberglass, vinyl, aluminum or high quality stainless steel. Not only do they look great, but they are also good materials, so your beachfront real estate will stay beautiful and intact for years to come.

How to solve the problem of humidity?

To care for your beachfront real estate properly, you have to solve the problem of humidity. Those who are searching for a beachfront home should pay special attention to this. High levels of humidity is favorable for mold and mildew. Nevertheless, a proper solution always exists and here it is:

·        Use anti-fungal cleaners on a regular basis. Not only do they make your home attractive again, but they also prevent the further appearance of mold and mildew.

·        Use dehumidifiers. They significantly decrease the humidity level in your home.

·        Ventilate the house regularly.

When you have the proper solution at your disposal, buying a Hawaii beachfront home wont be a burden on your lifestyle. Explore the real estate market and, hopefully, you will find what works for you. Ralph Gray at www.HawaiianBeachfront.com is here to help.


Keep your beachfront real estate as clean as possible

It is very important to be diligent about the maintenance of your beachfront real estate. This way you keep its it looking good and in good condition. Pay attention to both the interior and the exterior of your home and be thorough when cleaning. Understandably, the exterior will require much more of your time since it is frequently exposed to the elements. Salty particles are the biggest threat to your exterior surfaces since they tend to accumulate and then damage these surfaces. Rinse them with fresh water on a quarterly basis at minimum.

Your patio, your sanctuary

When own a home with a beautiful view of the ocean and waves, the patio is where you tend to spend most of your time. Unsurprisingly, you want this part of your beachfront property to be relaxing, attractive and healing to both your mind and your eyes. To achieve this, maintain your patio furniture properly and protect it from salty air and never-ending moisture. It would be a good idea to cover it when not in use. Then, you should clean it with fresh water and mild soap regularly. If you want the advanced level of protection for these furniture items, use an appropriate polishing compound every few months.


If you care for your beachfront real estate, it should last a long time and give great pleasure to you and your family for years to come

It is best to provide professional maintenance once a year. Hiring a professional in this field will result in obtaining accurate information on the overall condition of your property. Furthermore, you will get suggestions related to necessary improvements. Finally, a professional should confirm that your property is completely protected and functional. Then, if you ever decide to sell with your oceanfront property or you just simply become curious about what your home is worth, you will realize that proper care for your beachfront real estate is worth every penny and the time invested to maintain the home.

Posted in Hawaii Real Estate
Jan. 7, 2019

History of Hawaii Real Estate


hawaii government buildingPrior to the orgin of Hawaii's land system in the 1840's, the kings were the sovereign owners of all the islands. The picture above is of Iolani Palace, the only Royal Palace in America. The original unit of land, the "ahupuaa," usually extended from the shore to the mountain top, with rights in the adjoining sea waters, providing occupants with the means of supplying all their wants. The sea for fish, the inland for coconuts, the valley for taro, the lower slopes for sweet potatoes, yams, etc. and the mountains for wood and hunting.

The next subdivision of land was called the "ili" and could be either subservient to the "ahupuaa" or independent. Within these were small areas called "kuleanas," which were houselots occupied by the common people, who also had certain native rights of fishery, water, and mountain products. These lands were often redistributed by a conqueror or a successor king.

In 1845 a major step to reform this system occured when a Land Commission was created by King Kamehameha III. The most important reform was the Great Mahele, or division of lands, which took place in 1848 and became the basis for modern land titles in the Islands. Old tenures were eventually changed to the allodial system of absolute ownership, and the interests of the government, crown, chiefs and common people were severed. As new claims were adjudicated by a board to determine ownership rights, Hawaii's ancient landholding system was gradually replaced. For this reason, a chain of title to Hawaiian land need only be traced back to the 1840's to the original grant or patent.


Today Hawaii consists of 124 islands situated in the Pacific Ocean. Of these, the eight major comprise a land area of approximately 6,470 square miles broken down as follows: Hawaii, 4,035 sq. mi.; Maui, 734 sq. mi.; Oahu, 617 sq. mi.; Kauai, 558 sq. mi.; Molokai, 263 sq. mi.; Lanai, 141 sq. mi.; Niihau, 71 sq. mi.; and Kahoolawe, 45 sq. mi. It is interesting to note that of this land, the State, County and Federal governments are the largest landowners, controlling approximately 39% of the total area. An additional 24% is owned by less than 6 individuals, corporations and trusts, many of which are descended from early missionaries and traders. As can be readily seen, this leaves approximately 37% for all other private individual landowners.

Island of Oahu

oahu government buildingThe picture to the left is of the Legislature Building, and Kamehameha statue. Originaly built as the King's Royal Palace by my great great grand father Robert Lishman, but taken over by the legislature. The island of Oahu is comprised of 386,188 acres, of which there are 92,583 acres estimated to be in urban districts, 154,882 in conservation, and 138,723 for agricultural use. The island contains the City and County of Honolulu, the smallest of the four counties in size, but the one which has nearly 3/4 of the State's population (836,207) and serves as the seat of the State government. Oahu is also home to the 40,000-student flagship University of Hawaii system and the state's banking and financial headquarters.

We like to extend a special thanks to Mr. John Reilly, Attorney with Pitluck Kido Sato & Stone and Trade Publishing Company, Ltd. for most of the above information.

Lease versus Fee-Simple

In Hawai'i we have a much larger percentage of residential lands held in lease than most other areas.

When you buy a leasehold home, you're buying the right to use the home (or improvements) for a fixed time period, but not the land on which the house sits. An annual lease fee, usually fixed for a long term, is paid to a landowner.

Leasehold homes are significantly cheaper to purchase than homes (or improvements) made on fee-simple land, but beware, leases have much uncertainty attached to them. Many leasehold properties are 20 to 30 years old now and up for renegotiation from their original terms and the cost today can be high based on current market values.

Fee-simple homes also include the land on which it sits, cost more, but does provide greater security and resale value.

July 31, 2017

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We can definitely fill you in on details that are not listed on the report and help you determine the best home for you. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please try out our INSTANT home value tool. You’ll get an estimate on the value of your property in today’s market. Either way, we hope to hear from you soon as you get to know our neighborhoods and local real estate market better.

Posted in Market Updates