She was joined on the tour by Rebecca Keliihoomalu, a top realtor with the Kamuela, Hawaii company.
Because of the strength of the Canadian dollar and economy, snowbirds are taking advantage of reduced prices to get into home ownership.
The Gold Coast of the Big Island is a favourite area for resort property investment, says Keliihoomalu. “That’s an area where Canadians tend to gravitate.” Macarthur and Keliihoomalu aim to educate Canadians on the many opportunities that come with being a full or part-time resident of Hawaii.
Working with Sotheby’s International Realty Canada offices, they are presenting a diverse selection of properties from all over the Big Island, including those at island resorts such as Mauna Kea, Mauna Lani, Waikoloa and Hualalai. “I’m excited to have our company interact with our Canadian neighbours,” says Macarthur, adding that she wants potential snowbirds to have an opportunity to meet Sotheby’s agents face to face, ask questions and learn about Hawaii’s real estate opportunities.
“Thanks to the current economic conditions in the United States, the Canadian dollar can buy more, and those same conditions have created an opportunity to buy the property they want — not just to get their foot in the door,” says Macarthur.
In her opinion, the Big Island has some of the best
MVisit our website under the heading, ‘Rec Properties,’ for more photo galleries and stories. value opportunities in Hawaii.
Depending on the resort, the style of housing and the location on the property, residences are being discounted anywhere from 25 per cent at Kamilo at Mauna Lani to more than 60 per cent at Waikoloa Beach Resort, she says.
For example, a property at Mauna Kea Resort sold in 2006 for $2.35 million US. That same property is currently listed for $1.35 million.
At the Waikoloa Beach Resort, a property in the Fairway Villa section of the development was purchased in 2006 for $695,000.
Earlier this year, it was listed for sale at $309,900, but sold for $260,000.
“Prices are starting to creep back,” says Keliihoomalu. “Tourism dropped dramatically in 2008, along with the economy, so now we have a strong inventory and great prices.”
A Calgary businessman named Maurice (who doesn’t want his full identity revealed) went in with other family members to buy a condo on the Big Island at Waikoloa Beach Resort.
“Condos there are going for less than half what they did between 2005 and 2007 — and substantially less than on Maui or Oahu,” he says.
They purchased a twobedroom, 1,172-square-foot home in the Fairway Villas section of the resort for about $260,000. The plan is to use it as a rental property for now and as a retirement destination in the future.
Deborah Kurtz, a realtor with Sotheby’s International Realty Canada in Calgary, works with Canadians looking to buy or sell properties in Hawaii.
The islands are continuing to draw potential homebuyers, she says.
“It’s still attracting Calgarians looking for retirement, or second or third homes, or for just a getaway place,” says Kurtz, adding that prices can run from as low as $70,000 for an apartment condo up into the millions of dollars for estate homes.
“It’s my role to work with clients here, narrow down what they are looking for and where, and then pass them along to our Sotheby people there,” says Kurtz. “Everybody wants their dream place with ocean views, but sometimes, you have to start with something else.”
Calgary buyers are looking for value and lifestyle, says Macarthur. “It’s about them and what they want to do with the rest of their lives.”
This 2,040-square-foot home at Kapoho on the Big Island of Hawaii was recently voted the listing with the best ocean view. Canadians are seen as potential buyers of such properties.
The living room of a home at The Shores at Waikoloa.
A home at Mauna Kea has plenty of outdoor living space.