This letter along with a copy of Residence International Magazine was distributed to over 800 of our clients and friends earlier this summer.
The summer issue of Residence International Magazine brings with it several exceptional properties here in the Islands and elsewhere. Because of your interest in Hawaii real estate, we are taking this opportunity to provide a brief Big Island market update. For more detailed information, please give us a call.
While controversy in the lending, banking, and securities markets dominates the news, it is worth noting the following:
- During the first quarter of 2008, each successive month produced an ever-larger number of properties going into escrow. Historically low interest rates, modest price decreases and a superior selection of properties may partially explain the increased sales.
- We are seeing a resurgence of foreign buyers, especially from Canada. With most foreign currencies now worth 20% to 30% more than in 2005, the resulting currency exchange “bargains” are approaching irresistible levels as people from other countries visit the Islands.
- In the first three months of 2008, requests for information and showing appointments from our website (www.clarkhawaii.com) have surged by more than 70%. Last year, we responded to over 1,000 specific inquiries.
- The most egregious mortgage lending practices have been halted. With new lending standards in place along with new guidelines and expanded limits for FHA loans, quality loans are more available than ever.
- Major infrastructure projects are underway which will provide relief for Big Island residents, especially commuters. In addition, several new commercial developments are nearing completion which will provide new jobs and an increased demand for housing.
- Finally, Hilo is continuing to see its University of Hawaii campus expand, and a new permanent West Hawaii campus is taking root on land just north and mauka of the Airport.
Clearly, we face challenges in the year ahead. However, the facts listed above suggest that the impact of the national economy should be substantially moderated here in the islands, providing enticing opportunities for serious investors and first time buyers throughout 2008. In the meantime, if you see a property you like, the old adage, “buy low, sell high,” still applies. We encourage you to contact us as the year progresses to stay abreast of current market trends.
Putman D. Clark
President and Principal Broker