The first quarter of 2020 was very robust on Kauai versus the same time frame last year.  Total sales volume was up 17% year-over-year.  The number of transactions was relatively flat, which implies that the average price increased... and it did... also by 17%.  The big year-over-year Q1 difference was in the number of transactions over $1M – there were 47 $1M+ sales in 2019, and 64 $1M+ sales in 2020.  The largest sale in 2019, including both homes and land was a $6.5M trade on Kauapea Road.  In 2020 through Q1 alone, we’ve had a $6.3M at Kukui’ula, a $6.3M on Kauapea Road (one of ours) and $8M at Anini Vista.

Relative to product mix, there were 107 homes, 84 condos and 37 vacant lots sold in Q1 2019.  In 2020, there were 121 homes, 88 condos and 16 lots sold in Q1 2020.  There were 20% fewer transactions in Lihue in 2020, but otherwise units sales in Waimea, Poipu, Kapa’a / Wailua and the North Shore were just about identical to 2019.

So... now what?

In Q1 of 2019 there were 73 properties withdrawn from the market, in 2020 that number increased to 123.  We’re seeing Sellers taking their properties off the market during this time of uncertainty and simply sitting on the sidelines until things clear.  Pursuant to MLS rules, in order to reset the Days-on-Market to zero a property must be withheld for a minimum of 30-days, so there’s some strategic value in that approach.  Also, according to the Mayor’s proclamation, property showings are deemed non-essential, so withdrawing listings may be a good tack to take.  

However, one has to imagine that with many folks stuck home with time on their hands, looking at properties online, especially in Hawaii and on Kauai, might be a frequent activity for many people, so there could also be some merit to leaving the listings active.  Ultimately, once the restrictions lift a little bit, we'll be able to resume helping buyers experience properties remotely via video, facetime or Zoom, so they won't necessarily need to travel to Kauai to get a really good feel for properties they are interested in.

Overall, at this specific point in time, Buyers are apprehensive and Sellers are anxious – completely natural given the circumstances.  It remains to be seen how we all emerge from our current predicament, but we remain bullish on Kauai – being here during times like these seems to make everything a little less stressful than it may be elsewhere.  Thankfully, we can still go to the ocean, feel the trade winds, wake to the midnight showers and bask in the spirit of aloha.  We hope you can do something somewhat similar in your locale.

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For more information about local happenings on Kauai, or to inquire specifically about Kauai real estate, you can reach us at:

Sean Ahearn & Jim Karlovsky
[email protected]
(800) 808-6373