Home sales up, Realtors cautious

LIHUE — The total number of properties sold last month on Kauai is slightly higher than a year before, but some Realtors are saying those numbers are not necessarily a positive sign.

Overall real estate sales figures for the island show that 94 properties sold last month, up from 89 in January 2018.

Forty-eight single-family homes sold in the first month of 2019, compared to 45 in 2018, and condo sales dropped by the same number, down to 31 from 34. Vacant land properties made up the majority of the overall difference — 13 lots were sold last month compared to just nine the year before.

A cursory glance at the number of sales could lead to an interpretation of positive growth, but Ron Margolis, a broker with eXp Realty in Kapaa, cautioned against drawing any firm conclusions based on those figures, and said the significance of those statistics requires a closer look.

Kauai’s real estate market slowed down toward the end of 2018 after a prolonged period of growth. Margolis and some other Realtors said last month that the market slow-down was the start of the market correcting itself, and predicted that 2019 would be a less-robust year than 2018 had been.

Now, a month into the year, Margolis is sticking with his prediction, saying that while some neighborhoods may still be fostering strong real estate sales, he is not seeing any indication that the market as a whole is picking up.

“The market is continuing to level, but there are areas where the inventory is limited and the demand is still high, where that may not be the case,” he said.

For the majority of the island, Margolis said he is seeing fewer calls on listings, and properties are staying on the market longer.

Kauai Board of Realtors President Kelly Liberatore said it may be too early in the year to predict where the market is headed with any degree of certainty, but she too has noticed some buyer reluctance.

“We’re still getting pushback from buyers,” Liberatore said, adding that while low interest rates are continuing to add momentum, “the forward-looking seller is asking for more, but the buyer is sill resisting.”

Her husband, Mike Liberatore, also a Kauai Realtor with Coldwell Banker Island Properties, also predicted a slow year in real estate, and hasn’t been surprised so far.

“It’s doing exactly what we said it was going to do,” he said Friday. “It’s slowed down a lot right now.”

Mike Liberatore said that while there is plenty of inventory on many parts of the island, sellers are simply asking too much. He said he has seen a lot of houses that are only worth about a half-million dollars, often listed between $600,000 and $700,000.


Caleb Loehrer, staff writer, can be reached at 245-0441 or cloehrer@thegardenisland.com.

  1. Charlie Chimknee February 4, 2019 5:51 am Reply

    Aloha Kakou,

    Can you tell us how many are KAUAI buyers and sellers and how many are Hawai’i but off island, and how many are mainland buyers and sellers, and how many are foreign buyers and sellers???



  2. harry oyama February 4, 2019 8:30 am Reply

    “Only” worth $500,00 but sellers asking for $600,00 to $700,00 who can afford it? Not locals for sure and while those realtor’s make at least a 3 percent commission for practically doing nothing but shuffle papers while sellers do mininal work, but make a huge profit which in fact contributes to the homeless problem in Hawaii since most cannot afford to pay these prices, nor its high rental rates.

    That is why a limit to population from outside should be enforced to reduce the housing crisis and besides there are limited resources in water, sewage, highways, schools and government services. On Oahu, the population demand on water has reached its limits and the only way the BWS is managing this supply is to redistribute water from less demand areas such as Waianae and pump it to dense areas like Honolulu.

    I’ve seen the water table graphs of the entire island of Oahu and the water acquier is at a critical level where in some places sea water will begin to seep in if they draw any more than what is being drawn, so it is being capped by pumping from other areas, which too are beginning to reach a critical level as well.

  3. Z February 4, 2019 9:45 am Reply

    How many of those buyers are locals as to mainland buyers for a week end getaway.

  4. Craig Millett February 4, 2019 10:00 am Reply

    What a cold-hearted and insensitive way to talk about where people live and the neighborhoods on Kauai.

    1. Sheeples February 4, 2019 6:51 pm Reply

      I felt the exact same thing as I read this article. Using houses as an investment vehicle, illegally renting them out short term, or flipping them as the market fluctuates is a sick thing in my opinion. It’s too bad humans have destroyed earth and at the same time put salt of the earth people out on the streets. Selling out your aina is good for your bottom line but it can’t be good for your soul.

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