The island of Hawaii, also commonly referred to simply as the Big Island, has, like the other Hawaiian islands, seen a continuously struggling housing market throughout most of 2009. The effects of the financial crisis have caused the prices of Big Island homes for sale to fall, bringing about dual effects. For those looking to sell homes or other properties, this is obviously unfortunate, but for those who have always wanted to buy Big Island real estate but were previously just unable to afford the high values, the dipping prices have encouraged action now while the opportunity awaits.
In the last quarter of 2009, sales activity on the island was actually the lowest of the four quarters of the year. Probably a lot of the heavy activity in the third quarter can be attributed to those rushing to get in on the government’s stimulus program offering up to thousands of dollars in rebates for buying new homes, which was set to expire in November but later was extended. There were just under 1,000 sales in the fourth quarter.
The median price of homes actually began to show a rising trend in the fourth quarter after two consecutive quarters of decline, and was at around $275,000, well off the peaks in 2007 of more than $350,000. In the month of December, the median price on the big island for a home sold was $278,800. Median prices were lowest in Puna in December, at just $175,000, and higher in areas like North Kona, where it was $425,000.
More recently, in February of this year, there were 94 home sales on the Big Island, according to the Star Bulletin, a rise of about 8% year-over-year. Condo sales were up 200% from a year earlier, with 39 changing hands. But prices were still struggling, which many experts attribute to the ongoing batch of foreclosures. The median price for a single-family home was $237,000, down almost 20% from a year earlier, while condos saw a median price of $266,175, down nearly 40% from February 2009’s price of $435,000. Some experts say these prices put the market back to levels not seen since 2003 and 2004.