Due to Historical Low Interest Rates & COVID-19, Buyers are Buying Hawaii Homes

Updated: Feb 16, 2021

We get a lot of calls and emails from those who are thinking of buying properties and moving to the peaceful Big Island from crowded cities on the mainland. Many of them can keep the same job working remotely, but some of them are looking to find new jobs here. And of course, many retirees want to move here for the great weather and fresh ocean breeze, and the feeling of security of being in a place with relatively few COVID cases.

The historically low mortgage interest rates encourage them to search for properties on the Big Island now. But then the realization sets in that there are not many single-family homes available. In most areas, the number of properties for sale is less than the number of properties in escrow.

When they find one and decide to submit an offer, pretty often they have to compete with other buyers. Reasonably priced homes go very quickly.

Some of the off-island buyers are buying Big Island real estate without physically viewing the properties.

The following statistics show that the number of single-family home sales in October 2020 on the Big Island is up 28.1% vs 2019 according to Statewide Housing Statistics. Similarly, November sales increased 27.6% over last year according to Residential Sales Report.

In contrast, there are many available lower-priced vacant lots in Pahoa which are mostly purchased by cash buyers, so the historically low-interest rates are not a factor in spurring sales. Additionally, those who want to move here from the mainland don’t find these lots fill their needs as building a home takes time and quite a bit of effort. So those parcels are not actively selling.

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