The Price of Living in ‘Paradise’ Is Higher Than Ever

This article is part of our latest special report on Waterfront Homes.

Hawaii has long been a dream destination for wealthy home buyers from the United States mainland. But that has probably never been more true than now.

“From the second half of 2020, into 2021, luxury sales volume in the state of Hawaii grew at a frenetic pace,” said Matthew Beall, the chief executive of Hawaii Life, a real estate firm.

“The state saw triple-digit growth in transactions,” he added, noting that his firm alone had experienced 307 percent growth in total dollar value.

Neal Norman, a director at Hawaii Life, said the influx of buyers from Silicon Valley had been helping to drive the market in Hawaii, which has surged, in part, because of the pandemic. People have realized that they can more readily work remotely — and if they have to go back to the office, they are only a “five-and-a-half-hour plane ride from paradise.”

Lifestyle is driving all of these purchases, with remote work steadily becoming a norm in many industries. “You finish the workday here,” Mr. Cary said, “and you still have the rest of the afternoon to surf, golf and spend the day with your family and friends, not to mention taking in a sunset every evening.”

Mr. Norman, of Hawaii Life, welcomes the new arrivals — and not just because of their deep pockets and home sales. “We call them creative contributors,” he said. “They buy a home and contribute to our local economy in ways that are preferable to being overrun with thousands and thousands of seven-day tourists.”

Mr. Norman said the Hawaii boom predated the pandemic by 10 years, but he estimated that sales had tripled since March 2020. One indication of that demand is the number of homes being bought remotely. “In 35 years of selling,” he said, “I had sold one house sight unseen. This year, I’ve sold eight.”

Ms. Nicholson agreed. “I would say a majority of our purchases were sight unseen,” she said. “Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve seen an increase of visitors coming to Hawaii, because it’s a very remote place to be.”

Buyers are taking advantage of video calls and virtual tours purchased online, she said. “Then they would fly here, go from the airport directly to their properties and begin their Covid quarantine.”

Source link Real Estate

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