Kohala Ranch Land Values Dropping After Change In Agriculture Use

Kohala Ranch is a large gated community on the sunny west coast of Hawaii Island

Kohala Ranch, located on the Big Island of Hawaii, has seen a drop in land values this year after losing the nondedicated agricultural use tax benefit. When the subdivision was allowing open range grazing from a nearby cattle rancher, vacant parcels were taxed $200 per year. Since the homeowners association decided to remove the cattle from the development, lot owners are now paying the full rate of $9.35 per $1000 assessed value. An owner who had been paying $200/year for a lot assessed at $300,000 is now paying $2800/year. This increased tax burden has motivated a large number of owners to put their property up for sale. Kohala Ranch covers approximately 4000 acres divided into about 445 lots. Less than half of these lots have been built out. Of the vacant lots, there are currently 48 listed for sale and 4 pending.

Sweeping ocean and mountain views from lot 525 in the Meadows section (MLS #629071)

Median sales prices in the past 6 months have dropped to $200,000 compared with $260,000 in 2018. In 2018 there were 11 lots sold in 12 months. In the past 6 months, 9 have sold, and 4 are pending. I believe the driving force behind this massive sell-off is the increase in taxes after expelling the cattle. Owners who were sitting on lots and not building soon no longer want to pay the $271/month HOA fee plus a ten fold tax increase.

If you are a buyer looking to purchase a lot in a beautiful area and plan to build soon, Kohala Ranch may be just the right spot. With inventory so high, it is definitely a buyers market.

Yet to be seen is any negative effect on the home market in Kohala Ranch. Prices, sales, and inventory appear to be stable so far. There are 7 active listings and 3 pending sales ranging in price from $1.495M to $2.895M. The average sale price remains about $1.4M. Since adoption of the Short Term Vacation Rental ordinance, un-hosted vacation rentals are no longer allowed in the Ranch. One would anticipate a sell-off of homes that were vacation homes partly funded by STVR. Realtors, owners, and buyers continue to watch the situation. See “The Future Of Big Island Vacation Rentals” or more information on Hawaii’s STVR law.

Infinity pool at home in the Heathers section of Kohala Ranch (MLS #627506)

If you have questions about Kohala Ranch lots or homes for sale, or are an owner looking for more insight, please feel free to reach out to me or your favorite Realtor.

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December 26, 2019

Very interesting development. Thank you for updating us on this.

Val Moanon

December 26, 2019

Very sorry to hear that the ranchers are being taxed this way. It may be great for development but not so good for the environment and a way of life which is why we look to live in such areas.

Lisa Velasquez

December 26, 2019

I think you misunderstood. The rancher is not being taxed more, the landowner is.
The rancher was using the grazing land at no cost and the landowners received the tax benefit for using the land for agriculture. I agree it is unfortunate that this symbiotic relationship is gone.

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