How hot is the real estate market in Hawaii? You could say lava-hot, except the molten rock that erupts from Hawaiian volcanoes typically moves very slowly. Now buyers are having to act quickly as well as bid boldly, no matter what their budget.
At the highest of the high end, a late Sonoma County winemaker’s 6,755-foot, 5-bedroom, 5.5-bathroom house in Kohanaiki listed for $22 million will set the record for the luxury Kona Coast golf course development’s highest-priced residence when its escrow closes next month. But don’t worry: construction is expected to start soon on more $20 million-plus homes nearby.
Although the exact purchase price or purchasers have to be yet revealed, a Kohanaiki spokesperson confirmed the sale of the mansion on its “front row” (closest to the ocean) will be the highest priced since the invitation-only, private club community began sales in 2013. Kerry Murphy, co-founder of nationally renowned DuMol Winery, bought the just over 1-acre lot on Ala Kohanaiki in 2014 for $4.86 million and hired architect Shay Zak to design a dream home with multiple living and sleeping pods, koi pond, and an infinity-edge pool overlooking the Rees Jones golf course, a lanai with built-in bar and custom beer tap, and of course, a wine room.
Following Murphy’s death last July, a spokesperson said his family reluctantly decided to put the house on the market this spring — just as post-pandemic visitor numbers have reached new heights and a number of pandemic-inspired temporary residents have decided they’re putting down roots.
On Hawaii Island, that has meant vacation condos, resort homes and even houses in residential areas such as Waimea are selling sight unseen, for over asking price and/or with multiple offers, and many are selling before they hit the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). “This is an incredibly busy time — properties just don’t stay on the market,” said Suzanne Kilner, co-owner of Paradise in Hawaii, which manages some 90 luxury vacation homes on the Big Island.
She was interviewed while showing a 4-bedroom, 3.5-bath vacation home on the Mauna Lani resort, listed for $1.795 million, to prospective Bay Area buyers touring it via FaceTime. The owners put it on the market April 13 and were accepting offers just six days later.
“You have to be decisive if you really want something now,” said Starr Maria-Sutherland, a buyers’ agent with Property Buyers Hawaii. But even she was taken aback by the recent listing of a 4-bedroom, 5-bath house on 1 acre in upcountry Waimea for $7.483 million — less than a year after its purchase for $4.25 million.
Admittedly, the house itself is under 2 years old, and built on the site of a home formerly owned by Don Ho and visited by Elvis Presley. But it’s just one more proof that when it comes to Hawaii real estate, there’s a whole lotta shaking going on.