Driving along the Big Island’s scenic coastline from Papaikou (approximately 6 miles from Hilo town) toward Laupahoehoe (at about the 25 mile marker) you will find yourself passing through former sugar cane land that has been transformed in recent years into what can be called “Hawaii’s Bread Basket.”
In addition to spectacular ocean views and balmy warm temperatures, people from around the world have discovered that this area’s rich deep soil and consistent rainfall (approximately 84 inches per year) make the Hamakua Coast one of the most sought after destinations on the Big Island for anyone considering undertaking agricultural production. Many Hamakua Coast residents are growing their own gardens and some are raising crops for re-sale (including sweet potatoes, corn, hearts of palm, root ginger, tomatoes, coffee, palm trees, bamboo, nursery plants, flowers and exotic fruits such as rambutan, longan, and lychee). Others have gone into ranching and are raising cattle, sheep and horses.
The Hamakua Coast real estate market saw a resurgence of sales AND prices in 2011 – both in land and existing dwellings. In 2010, there were 21 homes sold below $500,000 and 11 homes sold above that price with the highest sale being $630,000. In 2011, there were 31 homes sold below $500,000 and 11 sold above that price. However, there were 4 sales above $1,000,000 and 2 sales just below $1,000,000. The last sale in this area over $1M was in 2009 when just one property closed escrow over the million dollar mark.
In 2010, 19 parcels of land sold in this area with the highest priced being a 119 acre parcel that sold for $995,000. The median price in 2010 was $289,000. So far in 2011, 38 parcels of land have sold with the highest being a 38 acre piece that sold for $650,000. However, the median price rose slightly to $297,500.
Please note: These numbers do not include Hamakua District sales. Hamakua District market activity will be discussed in a future post.
There are currently 59 homes listed for sale on the Hamakua Coast with prices ranging from $100,000 to $5,900,000. There are 74 parcels of vacant land for sale ranging in price from $85,000 for a 10,000 sq. ft. lot in Papaikou to a 564 acre parcel listed at $6,495,000 located above Papaikou. If you are looking for an estate on the ocean, MLS 243693 is truly a spectacular 15 acre oceanfront retreat. Or, if you are looking for a producing exotic fruit farm, take a close look at MLS 232414 and MLS 232415. If you would like to build your own home on 22 acres with access to a year around stream and that has already been planted with palm trees, fruit trees and flowering bushes, check out MLS 249554.
Considering the activity in the Hamakua Coast real estate market in 2011, I believe that the rise in numbers of sales and prices indicates we can expect more of the same in 2012. There are still many great buys on the Hamakua Coast. Now is a great time to explore opportunities in this beautiful area.
For more information about North Hilo or Hamakua Coast real estate listings, please contact Linda West, R. Linda, a member of Clark Realty’s Luxury Portfolio team, has been a Big Island real estate professional for over 30 years. She specializes in the South Kohala, Hamakua and East Hawaii markets.