Big Island

Lower North Kohala Gated Communities – 2018 Report

The lower north Kohala gated communities of Kohala Ranch, Kohala by the Sea and Kohala Waterfront, together with ungated Kohala Estates, often function as an extension or logical next step for second home and retirement buyers who have vacationed or owned in the Kohala Coast resorts.

Real estate activity was strong in these Kohala Coast communities in 2018, both in terms of number of sales and the price levels achieved.

Ocean views and spectacular sunsets are typical of homes in these Kohala Coast communities.

More Sales and Higher Prices at Kohala Ranch in 2018

Kohala Ranch had an active year. There were twelve residential sales at Kohala Ranch in 2018, compared with eight homes sold in 2017. Prices ranged from $972,000 for a home of 2,365 sq ft on 3.78 acres, to $1,950,000 for a home of 4,049 sq ft on 5 acres.

Both the lowest and highest priced sales were in the lower Heathers section, as were 10 of the 12 sales. Only two homes sold in the Meadows and none at all in the Summit section in 2018.

One indication of market strength is that the homes are selling for about 95% of asking price. Although median days on market was only 73 days, that figure can be a bit misleading as several of these homes and been off and on the market multiple times over the years, finally finding the right buyer.

Summary – Kohala Ranch Home Sales 2018
# Lowest Highest Average Median Mode
Listings 12 $1,099,000 $1,950,000 $1,495,833 $1,422,500 $1,099,000
MLS Sale $ 12 $972,000 $1,950,000 $1,408,702 $1,408,713 $1,700,000
DOM to sale 12 9 245 87 73 N/A
Sale/Current Price 12 84.7% 101.7% 94.3% 95.9% 100.0%

The first quarter of 2019 is looking strong at Kohala Ranch, with 4 listings in escrow. While the median sales price was $1.4 million last year, three of the homes currently under contract are priced at or over $2 million. This is encouraging as the median asking price for the 17 active listings is $1,925,000.

Kohala Ranch home most desired features: pool with a view and separate guest quarters (MLS 622359)

There were two big changes in 2018 that may affect sales and pricing going forward. First is the removal of the free range cattle from Kohala Ranch, although the resulting increase in property taxes will affect mostly vacant lots rather than residence. The passage of a bill limiting short term vacation rentals means Hawaiʻi County will begin to enforce a state statute that currently prohibits short term rentals at ag-designated communities like Kohala Ranch.

Kohala by the Sea Sales Steady in 2018

Four homes sold at Kohala by the Sea, the same number as in 2017.  The previous yearʻs sales ranged from $1,380,000 to $1,999,999 with a median price of $1,620,000. This year’s sales look like a significant drop in the median price, but that is because of an anomalous single sale, of a smaller, older home with no pool, for $875,000. Median prices are often quoted in real estate statistics, but this is an illustration of how misleading that can be, especially with wide variability and a small number of data points.

Summary – Kohala by the Sea Home Sales 2018
# Lowest Highest Average Median Mode
Listings 4 $982,500 $1,599,000 $1,367,375 $1,444,000 N/A
MLS Sale $ 4 $875,000 $1,480,000 $1,244,750 $1,312,000 N/A
DOM to sale 4 6 686 305 265 N/A
Sale/Current Price 4 88.2% 93.3% 90.8% 90.9% N/A

This 4 bed, 3,462 sq ft Kohala by the Sea home is elevated for sweeping ocean views (MLS 620856)

Two Home Sales at Kohala Waterfront in 2018

Of the lower North Kohala gated communities, the one most visible from the road is Kohala Waterfront. Perhaps that is because drivers are looking towards the ocean in hopes of spotting a whale, which tend to hang out right at that spot. And the most prominent impression has been one of construction activity, with several owners building on lots in the past couple of years.

Primarily due to lack of homes for sale, there were no residential sales at Kohala Waterfront in 2017. But two properties changed hands in 2018. The home directly on the oceanfront sold for $4,700,000, apparently a nice profit for sellers who bought for $3,600,000 three years earlier. The other home, which was listed for only $2,795,000, sold in 15 days for $2,485,000.

Kohala Waterfront is on the ocean side of the highway with views like this home for sale (MLS 620768)

There are currently three active listings at Kohala Waterfront, which is the most choice buyers have had in years. Prices range from $2,675,000 to $3,485,000. I like the highest priced home which is 50% bigger than the other two, with 4 bedrooms…and killer views.

With a good variety of quality homes to choose from, the first decision is usually which of these communities makes the most sense for you. Let me know if youʻd like to discuss or take a drive around Kohala Waterfront, Kohala by the Sea, and Kohala Ranch.

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