- For those
folks who have been lamenting the escalating prices of homes
here on the Big Island, and paritcularly on the Hilo Side, there's
- As I mentioned
in my last Update, we are seeing more "price reductions"
in the listings than ever before, and that means folks who felt
that prices were still going up with no end in sight listed their
properties at the up-end of the price range.
- We're also
starting to see the "distress sales" of some of the
properties that people bought in the frenzy of the price escalation.
The people who read those "get rich quick in real estate"
books that advised leveraging as far as possible now get to see
why that was not such a good idea.
- These are
the people who bought seriously overpriced properties for no
money down. During that time we turned away a few potential amateur
"investers" who showed us that they had loan approval
for 110% of the purchase price and offered us thousands more
than we were asking for the property if we would only sell to
- So let's
say we were asking $250K for a property and they bought it from
us for $280K. They would get a loan for $275K. How smart they
were, they thought, to now "own" this new property
and have $25,000 in thier pocket for down-payments on two or
three more highly-leveraged properties.
- Guess what
happened when the prices/values tapered back down to reality
and they owed $50,000 (or more) more than they could ever sell
the propety for?
- There now
more listings for homes under $200K and lots of choices for the
range of $200-300K.
- There are
lots of homes on the market right now, so it's back to a buyer's
market in most cases. we just saw a beautiful 1900 sq. ft. home
in the hills of Hilo sell for $325,000. It was in excellent condition,
an interesting design and even had a decent ocean view!
- When there
are more properties to choose from, buyers can be more selective,
plus buyers are now actually able to come in with an offer of
less-than-asking price. This has not been the case for a long
- And now,
we're back to the subject of LIVING ALOHA.
- Things are
changing fast here. Faster than we've ever seen before. So fast
that even those of us who live right here in the middle of it
can see it happen on a daily basis.
- When a population
expands rapidly for any reason, change is inevitable. In our
Island culture, the change goes beyond just adding people. We're
adding people from a different culture: Mainland Culture.
- This is not
in itself a bad thing, but what it is doing is diluting our Island
Culture. Used to be, we'd see some of the new Mainland folks
struggling with the way things are done here and trying in vain
to make things happen mainland style.
- With more
and more Mainland people arriving every day, it's only a matter
of time before we reach that critical mass -- when there will
be enough pressure to move to mainland ways that it actually
starts to happen.
is a good example. Yes, it will be a long while before anywhere
on the Big Island comes close to a Honolulu culture, but you
can spend some time in Kailu-Kona and get the feeling of its
- Here's a
heads-up: We have a Volvo dealer in Hilo now. Locals don't drive
Volvos. Most Hilo people -- those who have lived here forever
-- can't afford to drive Volvos. So who is buying enough Volvos
to support a fancy new-car dealership here?
- We're watching
as the exponentially increasing traffic problems on both sides
of the Island are populated with a majority of new SUVs, including
Lincoln Navigators, Hummers, Cadillacs and even Porche, Mercedes
and Lexus SUVs. These are clearly not the chosen vehicles of
the folks who have lived here for years. Especially those sporting
- For the first
time ever, we're hearing car alarms on a regular basis. We're
hearing horns honking in traffic. In the very near past, the
ONLY time you would ever hear a horn honk was when somebody was
saying, "Hey, Howzit!" to a friend.
- The first
time I can recall ever using the horn on one of our vehicles
was just such a time, and since it may have been the first time
the horn had ever been used, the button stuck in! How embarassing
- And car alarms?
We've always felt blessed to be living in an environment where
we didn't even need to lock our cars.
- So what,
you ask, is my point? Just this: Please, please, please, do not
bring those mainland ways to Hawaii! If you feel you must move
to Hawaii but you need to live a mainland lifestye, Maui of Oahu
might suit your needs.
- The Big Island
is a place of peaceful co-existence. It is a slow-moving place,
where things happen at their own pace and any effort to ramp
things up to mainland speed will in most cases bring only frustration
and ill feelings from everyone involved.
- Read the
chapters in Affordable Paradise on all of the reasons you might
not want to move to the Big Island. Put yourself there in your
heart and mind and feel what it would feel like. If some of the
things you read leave you feeling uneasy, please rethink any
plans on living here.
Paradise was written not as a blanket invitation to everyone
to move to Hawaii. Rather, it was designed to encourage introspection
and to let the reader feel some of the reality of Island living.
- Hawaii is
very much not everyone's paradise, and if we can spare some folks
the frustration, expense and drama of moving here only to find
out soon that it was a bad idea, we have succeded.
- Please know
that we are coming from a place of love. Our own son was one
of those who "knew" that he needed to live here. After
high-school here in Hawaii, he couldn't wait to move to San Francisco,
"where the money is." He spent eight years there, made
lots of money (and spent even more), and more and more he spoke
of his discomfort of living in a society where money was God,
where the main topics of conversation were stock options, $50,000
cars and who had more of what. He wanted to come back to where
family and friends were more important than upward mobility.
- It lasted
six months. He came to us one day and said he coulnd't do Hawaii
any longer and he sold everything and left a few days later --
back to San Francisco. Back to the same frenzied lifestyle he
sought to escape. It seems that the frenzied lifestyle was really
his comfort zone, and so it goes.
- On the other
hand, if you are one of those who is already "living aloha"
no matter where you live, and if you can come here and fully
embrace the Hawaiian Culture and recognize that the local folks
here are your hosts, this might just be your paradise.
- It is certainly
- Mahalo for
- Skip Thomsen