April and May traditionally allow Kauai realtors to catch their breath and transition into a wave of summer activity. Yet, this spring, a dose of anxiety has crept into a normally relaxed period. Both buyers and sellers want to seize the day and strike. Sales numbers are on the move with the number of closed residential transactions trending at 33.8 percent above the first four months of 2015, land sales slightly below 2015 at -2.2 percent, and condominiums pushing forward by 17 percent.
Buyers feel that value priced properties are slipping away and although interest rates remain low, there is a general sentiment that it won’t be for long. Conversely, sellers are working hard to lure in their buyers, but are reminded that price is king and these same sellers are now leaning toward pushing prices higher. It’s a challenge for brokers to make a living.
Based upon percentage gains, the hottest market on Kauai is the West Side. Interestingly, just one year ago, you could barely give away a property in Waimea and Kekaha. In 2015, the media brought about its own block busting of these cute West Side towns. The headlines focused on rampant pesticide use by seed companies on their vast leased acreage. It also did not help matters when changes in federal flood insurance combined with flood insurance rate increases pushed the cost for flood insurance beyond the price of a homeowner’s policy by thousands of dollars. What a difference a year makes. Today, 15 properties have closed producing a 160 percent increase in sales and $5,224,920 in sales volume, or a rise of 113.9 percent over last year.
Where are the buyers coming from? Reviewing the public record data, it appears that out of the 15 sales, 11 were Kauai buyers, three were from afar and one is not yet decipherable. The local buyers love the West Side lifestyle, its incredible outdoor environment, and the closeness of the community. In addition, and let’s not be fooled by lifestyle alone, the West Side is where the bargains are. The 15 closed transactions track as follows:
As credited to the late author, Horace Greeley, the term “Go west, young man” seems to have some appeal to young men and women, and we expect to see more people jumping on the bandwagon.