Here on Hawaii Island's Kohala Coast, nine out of ten people who hire me to find their Hawaii residence want a second home in a luxury resort neighborhood. Every once in a while someone walks in the door looking for a non-resort primary residence. They want "old Hawaii." If they don't need to work, or can do so in Waimea (Kamuela) or Hilo, I direct their attention to the Big Island's Hamakua Coast.
Living in the rain, and lots of it, must not only be okay, preferably that will be ideal. A rain forest lifestyle isn't for everyone. You may have to commute 45 to 60 minutes to play tennis and golf, or to deliver the kids to the island's best school. Living with mold, mildew and feral roosters is part of the deal.
The payoff is spectacular scenery, an extremely small town rural life, affordable Hawaiian acreage possibly with its own waterfall, and an opportunity to grow organic vanilla or exotic fruit and flowers in ideal conditions. I even know of a tree house - literally - for sale in a sacred valley. A Hawaiian rainforest attracts a special family.
If you think you might be that special family, today little plantation home fixer uppers start in the $200,000s, and beautiful estates top out at nearly nine million. This afternoon I prepared a snap shot of Hamakua Coast improved real estate trends, using Hamakua and North Hilo district numbers:
•· This year from January to May 7 homes sold with a median sale price of $460,000.
•· In 2007 from January to May 12 homes sold with a median sale price of $375,000.
•· In 2006 from January to May 16 homes sold with a median sale price of $440,000.
•· In 2005 from January to May 26 homes sold with a median sale price of $356,000.
Newcomers don't want the Hamakua. They want the dry leeward island weather for endless blue sky days and plenty of dry weather recreation. The folks who've been here long enough to slow down to Hawaii Time, or folks leaving the Honolulu city lights, they are the ones to whom the Hamakua calls. As this year's median sales price tells us, more local folks are willing to pay more to make the move to the rain forest. I expect the trend to continue into 2009.
Curious? The next time you visit the Big Island, call me for a custom home tour of that beautiful place. Be sure to wear shorts and hiking sandals under your hooded rain coat to easily drip dry!