Big Island

Kohala Ranch 2019 Year-End Market Update And Recap

Mauna Kea Realty has been extremely active within Kohala Ranch over the past several years, and we continue to have a large share of the listings and sales within the community. In April 2018, Mauna Kea Realty merged with the state’s leading luxury brokerage firm, Hawaii Life. This collaboration augments Mauna Kea Realty’s local knowledge and relationships with Hawaii Life’s statewide network, global affiliations, and unrivaled marketing capabilities for maximum reach and exposure.

In 2019, Mauna Kea Realty and Hawaii Life together closed more transactions and accounted for more in sales volume within the district of North Kohala than any other brokerage firm. Our team sold over $27 Million in the district of North Kohala last year, which is more than twice as much in sales volume compared to the closest competing brokerage; 108% more to be exact.

Please find below the Kohala Ranch market update and recap highlighting 2019 sales information, current available inventory, and local trends. I hope you find this information interesting and helpful*.

The Big Picture

2019 was a very active year within Kohala Ranch as there were a total of 19 residential sales. That is a 58% increase compared to 12 residential transactions in all of 2018, and a 138% increase from the 8 residential sales that were recorded in 2017. For vacant land, there were 18 sales recorded last year, compared to 11 vacant land sales in 2018.

Furthermore, there was a total of $67 Million in real estate sales recorded within Kohala Ranch in 2019, which is a 68% increase compared to the $40 Million in sales recorded within Kohala Ranch in 2018, and a 139% increase in sales volume from 2017 when there was $28 Million in recorded sales.

Possible factors that may be contributing to the increase in both sales and volume is the passing of Hawaii County Bill #108, which restricts unpermitted short term vacation rentals within certain Agriculture zoned areas such as Kohala Ranch. That bill has attempted to eliminate un-hosted vacation rentals. It is possible that homeowners who were previously renting their homes as short term vacation rentals have decided to sell to Buyers who are full or part-time residents and do not intend to short term vacation rent their property. People who live at the Ranch and have not vacation rented their homes are pleased with this. Homeowners who had existing vacation rentals may struggle to keep their businesses going if they are unable to obtain a special use permit. In addition, the pasture lease that was in effect and provided the discounted AG tax rates was discontinued in 2019, thus increasing property taxes by a significant amount for many property owners.  Subsequently, there has been a large increase in vacant land inventory, with 53 vacant lots currently on the market. As a result, we witnessed almost twice as many lot sales in 2019 compared to 2018 with the average sales price decreasing by 23% year-over-year. Although the number of residential sales also increased in 2019 compared to the previous year, we did not see a decrease in residential sales prices. In fact, the average sales price for residential properties increased by 20% from 2018 to 2019. With a high supply of vacant land for sale, and a relatively low absorption rate, there is approximately 3 years worth of vacant land inventory currently being offered for sale within Kohala Ranch. We will continue to watch these trends as we progress into a new year and decade.

2019 Residential Sales Analysis

As a result of a very strong 2019 within Kohala Ranch, the listing inventory of available residential properties is relatively low, with only 9 properties currently being offered for sale. As we progress through a very active Winter season, there is need for additional inventory in the residential segment of the market. The current lack of inventory is sure to create a demand for properties similar to yours.

If you have specific needs with which I might be able to assist you, or if you are curious about the value of your property, our team is here to help. Feel free to contact me with any of your real estate questions.

Please find below detailed data of the 2019 residential sales categorized by the coastal Heathers section, the middle Meadows section, and the elevated Summit section. 

  • (Click Here) to view a comparative spreadsheet of the eleven (11) 2019 sales in the Heathers section. (Lower Coastal Section approx. 200ft -1,000 ft elevation, 3-5 Acre Parcels)
  • (Click Here) to view a comparative spreadsheet of the seven (7) 2019 sales in the Meadows section. (Middle Section approx. 1,200ft -2,000 ft elevation, 3-5 Acre Parcels).
  • (Click Here) to view a spreadsheet of the one (1) 2019 sale in the Summit section. (Upper Ranch Section approx. 2,000ft -3,000 ft elevation, 10+ Acre Parcels).

For a Complete List of Residential Properties Currently Available within Kohala Ranch (Click Here).

For a Complete List of Vacant Land Properties Currently Available Within Kohala Ranch (Click Here).

Local Trends:

BIG ISLAND HOME SALES AND PRICES INCREASE IN 2019: Sales of both single-family homes and condominiums on Hawaii Island increased in 2019 along with the median price, compared to 2018, according to statistics provided by Hawaii Information Service. There was a total of 2,424 single-family homes sold in all of 2019, which was 3.5% more than the 2,342 that were sold in 2018. The median price of those homes was 5.7% higher than the median price in 2018. For condominiums, sales increased by 3.36% for all of 2019 to 861 units sold, from 833 units sold in 2018. The median price of those units sold in 2019 increased 3.43% compared to 2018. (

NEARLY A QUARTER OF HAWAII HOMES ARE PURCHASED BY OUT-OF-STATE BUYERS: Hawaii’s chief economist Eugene Tian reported that 24% of Hawaii homes were purchased by buyers from outside the state. The figure is even higher on the neighbor islands. Tian stated, “The number for the neighbor islands (Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island) is actually over 40%. The overall 24% figure is based on data from the preceding decade, in which roughly 5,000 homes were sold statewide. Tian said approximately 1,000 of those were purchased by residents of other U.S. states. Around 200, or 4% of the total, were purchased by foreign buyers. Tian expects the out-of-state purchase trend to continue. Hawaii has the lowest property taxes of any state in the country, which makes second homes relatively cheaper compared to high-tax states like New York and California. (

BIG ISLAND TOPs ‘TRENDING DESTINATIONS’: Hawaii Island is the No. 1 trending travel destination for 2020 among Kayak users, according to the company’s annual Travel Hacker Guide. The guide, which was released in early 2020, details what travelers are looking for based on Kayak search data. The travel search engine receives more than 6 billion searches each year for flights, hotels, car rentals and more. The top trending locales were determined by examining searches for flight destinations conducted for travel dates between March 1, 2019 to Feb. 28, 2020 and comparing them with searches from the same period during the previous year. According to the report, interest in Hawaii Island has jumped 84% year-over-year. (



Jake Chancer


Mauna Kea Realty

Comments (1) Show CommentsHide Comments (Remember)

Cool. Add your comment...

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave your opinion here. Please be nice. Your Email address will be kept private, this form is secure and we never spam you.

Beth Thoma Robinson, R(B)

February 13, 2020

Thanks, Jake! Saved me having to write my own posts on the Kohala Ranch market this year!

More Articles from Hawaii Life