Today marks the 16th Day of Quarantine Life on Kauai — and it has changed from what we all remember. We made it through the first two weeks at home in isolation. There are hardly any people on the beach, due to the Mayor’s emergency rules, hardly anyone out and about unnecessarily, and the County has brought in the Hawaii National Guard to support our local law enforcement in screening drivers and air passengers to keep us safe.
Although life has changed as we all know it, we are still very much #KauaiStrong and are supporting our local small businesses and restaurants as much as possible while wearing cloth masks. Our sense of community is still evolving as we are learning how to help lift each other’s spirits. You can still help, too! Many small businesses selling locally-made goods are still shipping and can be purchased from their websites.
Virtually, there have been several websites pop up connecting our local restaurants, businesses, and farmers to consumers. Check out my post on Where to Find Fresh Produce on Kauai blog for links and more info.
I have put together a few local announcements, national and local real estate market updates, and a few Kauai market reports.
Kauai COVID-19 Updates
In most recent news, Kauai now has 19 confirmed cases of COVID-19, while statewide there are 435 confirmed cases. Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami has implemented 5 Emergency Rules with THREE NEW AMENDMENTS as of April 8, 2020. For more information, visit www.kauai.gov/covid-19
- Mayor’s Emergency Rule #1 – All Kauai campgrounds, community centers, and large pavilions are closed. In addition, all county Stadiums and their associated parking lots are closed.
- Mayor’s Emergency Rule #2 (AMENDED RULE) – A curfew from 9:00pm to 5:00am is established. Every individual within the County of Kauai must remain in their residence during the specified hours.
- Mayor’s Emergency Rule #3 – The following list of businesses are now closed: bars and clubs; restaurants and cafes that serve food; and theaters, entertainment centers, and visitor attractions; and suspend services and activities in places of worship.
- Mayor’s Emergency Rule #4 – No more than 100-day use permits will be issued for all island-wide County beach parks. A park permit fee of $50 per vehicle and $5 per person shall be assessed. State of Hawaii residents are exempt from these permitting requirements.
- Mayor’s Emergency Rule #5 (AMENDED RULE) – Local guidelines to the Governor’s statewide State-at-Home Order. The Stay-at-Home rule essentially keeps people at home, with very limited exceptions.
- Mayor’s Emergency Rule #5 (AMENDED RULE #2) – The County of Kauai announces the following County-related changes in Stand Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the Department of Public Works, Building Division:
- No permits (building, plumbing, and electrical) will be issued through April 30 or until further notice.
- New applications and payments for permits ready to be issued may be mailed or submitted online to the County.
- Inspection Requests
- Building, plumbing, and electrical inspectors will only honor requests for essential projects. Vertical construction, including renovation and remodeling activities, is not considered essential.
- *NEW* Mayor’s Emergency Rule #5 (AMENDED RULE #3) – Effective Saturday, April 11, 2020
- All Golf Courses on island are to close.
- Employees of food service establishments and stores that sell prepared foods, groceries, and medicine must now wear coverings over their nose and mouth. All public-facing businesses are encouraged to require your customers to wear cloth masks upon entry into your building.
- All transient vacation rentals and homestays on island must cease operations, including advertising. Current occupants may stay until the end of the pre-booked period.
- *NEW* Hawaii National Guard (HING) Soldiers –
- The HING Soldiers and representatives from Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources are supporting the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) with the medical screening of incoming and departing passengers as well as airline crew at five Hawaii airports, including Lihue Airport.
- The HING Soldiers are assisting Kauai Police with coronavirus checkpoints around the island to ensure drivers are legally exempt from the order.
GOOD NEWS – 11 confirmed cases here on Kauai have made a full recovery and have returned home. The additional eight (8) confirmed cases are held in isolation.
I have created a COVID-19 Resources page on my website with a list of National, State, and Local sites to help you better understand coronavirus and how it’s affecting Hawaii and the Real Estate industry. Real-time updates are made, so please check it out and share this with anyone you feel should know it too!
I have also created a Kauai Life with COVID-19 Facebook Group to update each resident or visitor with recent store closures/updated hours, share staying indoor ideas, update the general population with real estate updates, and lastly spread positivity and encouragement for all to use!
National Real Estate Market Update
In an attempt to answer some Frequently Asked Questions about the housing market, I’ve pieced together answers from experts at Keeping Current Matters, Hawaii Office of Consumer Protection, and the National Association of Realtors.
Q. Will surging unemployment crush home sales?
A. According to Keeping Current Matters, “It’s logical to think there would be a direct correlation between the unemployment rate and home sales: as the unemployment rate went up, home sales would go down, and when the unemployment rate went down, home sales would go up.
However, research reviewing the last thirty years doesn’t show that direct relationship, as noted in the graph below. The blue and grey bars represent home sales, while the yellow line is the unemployment rate. Take a look at numbers 1 through 4:
- The unemployment rate was rising between 1992-1993, yet home sales increased.
- The unemployment rate was rising between 2001-2003, and home sales increased.
- The unemployment rate was rising between 2007-2010, and home sales significantly decreased.
- The unemployment rate was falling continuously between 2015-2019, and home sales remained relatively flat.
The impact of the unemployment rate on home sales doesn’t seem to be as strong as we may have thought.”
Q. Can a Landlord evict me if I don’t pay my rent?
A. According to the Hawaii Office of Consumer Protection, “Currently, the Hawaii Judiciary has issued several orders that impact the ability of Landlords and their agents to use legal process to evict a Tenant for non-payment of rent. The Judiciary has stated that legal proceedings relating to summary possession or eviction have been postponed to at least April 30, 2020. What this means is that absent extraordinary circumstances, no eviction orders will be issued until at least after April 30, 2020.
Governor David Ige’s recent emergency proclamations concerning the coronavirus invoked special legal requirements applicable to Landlords and Tenants in Hawai’i.
The Office of Consumer Protection has created FAQs pertaining to how these provisions impact their legal relationship. The guidance provided is current as of March 31, 2020 and may be subject to change per actions taken at the state and/or federal level.”
The Landlord Tenant FAQ can be found HERE.
Q. My lender indicated that the IRS has shut down, and they cannot process loans without an income verification document that only the IRS can generate. Is this true?
A. According to the National Association of Realtors, “Luckily, there is precedence for an IRS shutdown based on several recent government shutdowns. Some lenders may require this document, but Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and FHA do not so this is a lender overlay.
Fannie and Freddie both issued guidance in January 2019 following the previous government shutdown to note that they do not require the 4506T IRS tax transcripts at closing. Rather, they only require a request for the document be signed by the borrower. However, they do require the tax transcript be submitted as part of their post-closing review. NAR has asked both Fannie and Freddie to clarify and publish updated guidance given the unique challenges posed by COVID-19.
Furthermore, the IRS reopened this facility during the shutdown as it was deemed essential. We have reached out to the IRS on this point.”
Congress has passed three relief packages to respond to COVID-19. Bank regulators have also adopted many new policies in light of needs COVID-19. See those provisions and actions FAQs that are designed to address homebuying, homeowner/landlord, and personal finance issues.
Kauai Real Estate Market Update
The below graph displays the tracked listing updates island-wide. Comparing the weeks of February 10 – April 6 in 2019 to February 9 – April 4 in 2020, we are monitoring the number of new listings, sales, price changes, withdrawn listings, homes under contract or holding contingencies, and back on the market homes.
We’ve seen some noticeable changes in the market the past three weeks. The number of sales and homes going under contract have decreased, assuming this is due to the pandemic. Interestingly, there are fewer properties with lowered price changes these past two weeks than the beginning of February. Many seller’s have decided to withdraw their homes, as well in the past two weeks.
The average number of sales in 2019 for this particular period hovered around 15 for the island. As you’ll see in the 2020 Listing Update graph, there was a spike in sales the first week in March then, declining by the month making the average sales for this period close to 20. It’s important to note; Hawaii transactions typically issue 60-Day escrows for conventional loan purchasers, so I’m assuming we’ll start seeing more of the Coronavirus’ effects in the coming weeks.
Still, many new properties arrive on the market each day. If you’re looking for a home here on Kauai, let me help you monitor the market and find the right one. Contact Me!
Follow my blogs as these graphs will be updated weekly.
*Hawaii Information Service cannot provide the number of homes under contract or holding contingencies and back on the market homes from 2019.
Kauai Market Reports
Below are real-time market reports complete with a Buyer or Seller Advantage, Median List Price, Market Profile, Market Segment, and so much more for each respective city.
Aloha for Now
Be safe, stay healthy, and keep dreaming of Kauai!