We described 2023 as the year that Kaua‘i real estate was “stuck”. With golden handcuffs on sellers, and considerably higher interest rates derailing buyers’ aspirations, it was challenging to make anyone happy. In fact, Kaua’i waited until November and December for 2 months with YOY gains in the number of sold properties.
The South Shore of Kaua‘i, otherwise known as the Kōloa district, took top honors for 2023 in both sales and sales volume. The South Shore, ranging from Kalāheo through Poʻipū, offered a healthy mix of both permanent housing and vacation homes and condominiums along with upscale vacant land options within Kukui‘ula and newcomers such as Makahū’ena Estates. Through 2023 Kōloa posted 217 closed sales, and sellers received 93% of list price generating a total sales volume of $300,000,000 by year end.
The charts offered here highlight the strength in condominium sales, driven by condominiums that function as permanent housing. As residential median prices remained flat with 2022, buyers pivoted to lesser priced condominiums and broadening their searches and prioritizing features and value.
Condominium buyers are paying attention to insurance coverage and condominium reserves. Whereas the 2023 Maui fires spiked an awareness on insurance, members of the Board of Directors for any sizeable association find that they must also stay on top of maintenance to remain in compliance with condominium reserves. In Hawai‘i, condominium associations must maintain reserves to required state levels with most relying upon professional management companies to assist the Board of Directors through it.
Land sales surprised everyone this year with buyers who were unfulfilled or unable to close on homes and condominiums opting to jump into secure property. The supply of land options proved flexible and provided a natural gateway for many despite the spike in building costs that have sustained since the Covid 19 pandemic.
Here in January of 2024, we see sales picking up through the year and concluding single digit gains over 2023 sales numbers and volume with median prices climbing yet again. The boost for buyers will come in a marginal increase in inventory.