UPDATED | July 24, 2020:
Hawaii Cautiously Reopens
Back in May, Hawaii’s Governor David Ige unveiled a four-phase plan for reopening Hawaii’s economy. Hawaii has the lowest mortality rate in the country and one of the lowest rates of infection, thus far. However, the previously well-controlled virus has seen a spike in new cases since the state began reopening.
For Hawaii visitors, it’s important to know that a mandatory quarantine for all trans-Pacific travelers remains in place and has been extended until September 1, 2020. A proposed Covid-19 testing program for incoming travelers has been delayed until September.
Hawaii Real Estate Market Update
Many of our clients have been asking how the coronavirus is affecting Hawaii’s real estate market and how it may shape it in the months to come. Hawaii Life CEO Matt Beall reported in his recent article Break Glass, Pull Pin on the events of the first few months of this crisis. It hasn’t all been doom and gloom here in our state. As of July, Hawaii Life has closed almost $800 million in sales in 2020. With hundreds of millions more currently in escrow. Our company is on track to reach sales volumes comparable to those achieved in 2019.
Technology Has Been Key to Success
We are primed to handle the changing landscape occasioned by Covid-19. We have been showing homes virtually and using technology to streamline the entire home buying process for years, and we’ll continue to serve our clients in this way.
Realtors in Hawaii are permitted to show homes in person under the “Safer at Home” phase of Hawaii’s reopening, with social distancing measures in place, using masks. Travel restrictions for foreign and U.S. mainland buyers have been a barrier, but not entirely disqualifying. Some agents (like Jake Chancer and Ben Puccetti) have reported on buyers making purchases of Hawaii homes sight unseen.
U.S. Housing Market Showing Growth
In April, Maui agent Dave Futch shared a video interview with Dr. Lawrence Yun entitled “This Too Shall Pass” that provided some encouraging signs about the future of real estate. Dr. Yun is the chief economist and senior vice president of research for the National Association of REALTORS® and is widely considered a renowned leader in both real estate and economics.
“There will be more people working at home…so we may actually begin to see more people wanting to search for different homes to fit their lifestyle a little better, said Dr. Yun. “The housing market has a huge potential for growth.” You can read Dave’s take on it and watch the interview with Dr. Yun here.
Since April, his prediction has held. The Economist recently reported on the U.S. housing market’s unexpected resilience in the face of this current health crisis, calling it “strangely oblivious” to the economic downturn, relative to other sectors.