Island of Hawaii

California residents are snapping up homes in Hawaii SIGHT UNSEEN

PHOTO: The Big Island of Hawaii is still under COVID quarantine for visitors from the mainland, but that hasn’t stopped Californians from buying up houses there and on the other Hawaiian islands. Many are buying sight-unseen

  • From January to June 2020, Californians have bought $587.6 million worth of Hawaii real estate, or 41 percent of the total from U.S. buyers  
  • Since March, visitors to the Hawaiian islands have needed to quarantine for 14 days upon landing
  • Real estate agents cite wildfires and coronavirus as factors motivating California home buyers, who often pay cash before setting foot on a property
  • A tight market has pushed available inventory down over 15 percent vs. last year 
  • One Hawaii realtor has closed 15 sales to ‘sight-unseen’ buyers since March

Beset by fire and a pandemic, Californians are buying up houses in Hawaii at a fearsome clip – often without even having set foot on the islands.

Golden State residents, representing 41 percent of Hawaii home buyers from the U.S., plunked down $587.6 million on Hawaiian real estate between January and June this year.

As COVID fatigue set in and smoke from wildfires clouded the sky, California residents were calling Hawaii real estate agents.

Catherine Pennell, a real-estate agent with KW Kauai Keller Williams who sells homes on the island of Kauai, told SFGate.com that since March, she’s been taking two or three calls a day from U.S. mainlanders wanting to buy a house on the islands.

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