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Navigating the Big Island Real Estate Market: A Comprehensive Guide for Potential Homeowners and Investors

Posted by on December 25, 2023

The Big Island, formally known as Hawai’i Island, is a unique juxtaposition of lush rainforests, black sand beaches, and striking volcanic landscapes. It is not just a paradise for vacationers but also a desirable destination for many looking to purchase property, whether as a potential home or an investment opportunity. The real estate market here is as diverse as the island’s ecosystems, ranging from luxurious oceanfront estates to charming plantation-style homes set amidst the rolling hills of Waimea.

In this all-encompassing blog post, we will delve deep into the currents of the Big Island real estate market, offering buyers and investors valuable insights. Expect to gain a well-rounded understanding of market trends, areas to consider for investment, tips on finding the perfect property, and an overview of the buying process in this spectacular part of Hawaii. With this information at your disposal, you’ll be better equipped to make informed decisions and navigate the market with confidence.

The Allure of Big Island Real Estate:

The Big Island is the youngest and largest of the Hawaiian archipelago, offering an array of microclimates and topographies that cater to a wide range of preferences. From the sunny Kona coast, known for its world-renowned coffee, to the cooler, upcountry climes of Waimea, there is something here for every taste and lifestyle.

Real estate on the Big Island has long been sought after, not just for its natural beauty but also for its investment potential. The market has remained resilient despite economic uncertainties, thanks to Hawaii’s enduring appeal to both domestic and international buyers. This resilience makes it a prime spot for those looking to secure a piece of paradise that also holds potential for appreciation over time.

Understanding the Big Island’s Real Estate Market Trends:

To navigate the Big Island’s real estate waters effectively, one must first understand the prevailing market trends. Historically, the island has experienced a steady appreciation in property values, with certain areas seeing more rapid growth than others. Coastal properties, especially those on the west side of the island, tend to hold their value due to their prime location and limited availability.

However, market dynamics can shift due to a variety of factors such as changes in tourism, local economic conditions, and global market influences. For instance, the rise in remote work has spurred increased interest in more secluded, spacious properties, while the temporary downturn in tourism during the COVID-19 pandemic momentarily affected vacation rental incomes.

Investment Hotspots on the Big Island:

When it comes to investing in real estate on the Big Island, it’s crucial to consider the type of property that aligns with your investment goals. If you’re looking at vacation rentals, areas like Kailua-Kona and the Kohala Coast offer a robust tourist infrastructure that makes them ideal for short-term leases. These areas are replete with amenities and activities that keep visitors returning year after year.

For those who are more interested in long-term investment or residential living, towns like Hilo offer a more affordable entry point into the real estate market. The east side of the island is lush, with rainfall that supports an abundance of agriculture, and presents a different kind of lifestyle—one that is quieter and deeply rooted in the local community.

Insights for Finding Your Big Island Property:

Searching for the perfect property on the Big Island requires a strategic approach. Start by defining your priorities, whether they be a beachfront location, privacy, or proximity to urban conveniences. Engage a local real estate agent who specializes in the area and type of property you’re interested in. They will be knowledgeable about specific neighborhood nuances, zoning regulations, and potential development plans that could impact your investment.

One should also consider the implications of owning property in a place that is volcano-active. Lava zones are mapped across the island and play a significant role in the insurance rates, lending conditions, and resale values of properties. Ensuring you do your due diligence by consulting with experts in geology and real estate will safeguard your investment.

The Nuts and Bolts of Buying on the Big Island:

Purchasing real estate on the Big Island is similar to buying property on the mainland; however, there are Hawaiian-specific nuances to be aware of. For instance, a significant portion of the land on the Big Island is held under a leasehold, meaning the buyer owns the structures and improvements on the land, but not the land itself. Understanding the terms of these leases and their expiration dates is crucial to making an informed decision.

Another aspect to take into consideration is homeowners’ associations (HOAs) and their associated fees. Many properties, especially within resort communities, are part of an HOA which maintains shared amenities and common areas. These fees should be factored into your overall budget when evaluating potential properties.

Lastly, working with a reputable local lender well-versed in the particulars of financing in Hawaii can streamline the buying process. They can guide you through the nuances of purchasing on the island, from securing a mortgage to understanding local tax implications.


The Big Island’s real estate market offers an enticing blend of opportunity and challenge. It calls for savvy purchasing strategies and a clear understanding of the island’s unique conditions. From breathtaking natural scenery to a robust cultural heritage, the Big Island is more than just a place to live—it’s a lifestyle choice that continues to attract discerning buyers from around the globe.

Whether you’re an investor looking for a potentially profitable venture or a future resident seeking your own slice of Hawaiian paradise, the Big Island’s real estate market promises a wealth of possibilities. By staying abreast of market trends, partnering with local experts, and approaching the process with careful thought and planning, you can successfully navigate this complex and rewarding market.

Remember to savor the journey of discovering your perfect Big Island property just as much as the destination itself. With its stunning beauty and welcoming spirit, the Big Island is not simply a place; it’s an experience that enriches anyone fortunate enough to call it home.

Frequently Asked Questions:
FAQ – Big Island Real Estate Market

Q: What is the current state of the Big Island real estate market?
A: As of , the Big Island real estate market is showing steady growth and strong demand. The market has experienced an increase in both sales volume and median prices in recent years.

Q: What factors contribute to the growth of the Big Island real estate market?
A: The growth of the Big Island real estate market can be attributed to several factors. The island’s scenic beauty, diverse landscapes, and vibrant culture make it an attractive destination for homebuyers. Additionally, the island’s tourism industry and its popularity as a retirement destination has increased demand for real estate.

Q: Are there any specific areas of the Big Island that are particularly popular among homebuyers?
A: Yes, certain areas on the Big Island are highly sought after by homebuyers. The resort areas of Kailua-Kona and Waikoloa are popular among buyers looking for a luxurious beachfront lifestyle. Hilo, the largest city on the island, offers a more affordable cost of living and is often favored by families and those seeking a more laid-back atmosphere.

Q: How do the prices of homes on the Big Island compare to other locations in Hawaii?
A: While each island in Hawaii has its own unique real estate market, the Big Island generally offers more affordable options compared to more sought-after islands like Oahu or Maui. However, prices can vary depending on the location and type of property.

Q: Are there any investment opportunities in the Big Island real estate market?
A: Yes, the Big Island presents various investment opportunities in real estate. The island’s thriving tourism industry creates a potential for short-term rental income. Additionally, the development of new resorts and infrastructure projects offers potential for long-term property value appreciation.

Q: Are there any restrictions or regulations for purchasing real estate on the Big Island as a foreign buyer?
A: Non-US citizens can purchase real estate on the Big Island without any additional restrictions compared to US citizens. However, it is recommended to consult with a local real estate agent or attorney to ensure compliance with any specific regulations or requirements.

Q: What should I consider before purchasing real estate on the Big Island?
A: Before purchasing real estate on the Big Island, it is advisable to consider factors such as location, property type, budget, and your long-term goals. Consulting with a local real estate agent can help you navigate the market, understand property values, and make informed decisions.

Q: How is the rental market on the Big Island?
A: The rental market on the Big Island is generally strong due to high demand from both long-term residents and tourists. Rental properties can provide an additional income stream for homeowners or serve as a potential investment opportunity. It is important to research local rental laws and regulations before renting out a property.

Q: Are there any incentives or tax benefits for homeowners on the Big Island?
A: While specific incentives and tax benefits may vary, homeowners on the Big Island can take advantage of certain tax deductions, such as mortgage interest and property tax deductions. It is recommended to consult with a tax professional or accountant for personalized advice regarding tax benefits.

Q: How can I find a reliable real estate agent on the Big Island?
A: To find a reliable real estate agent on the Big Island, you can start by asking for recommendations from friends, family, or colleagues who have experience with the local market. Additionally, online platforms and real estate websites provide a directory of licensed agents. It is important to interview and research potential agents to ensure they have relevant experience and a good reputation.

Related Links & Information:
1. Zillow – A popular real estate website with listings specifically for the Big Island of Hawaii:
Zillow – Big Island Real Estate

2. Hawaii Life – A brokerage specializing in luxury properties and vacation rentals on the Big Island:
Hawaii Life – Big Island Real Estate

3. – Another widely used real estate website with a dedicated section for Big Island properties: – Big Island Real Estate

4. Trulia – A real estate platform offering listings and market information for the Big Island:
Trulia – Big Island Real Estate

5. Hawaii Information Service – The official multiple listing service (MLS) for Hawaii, providing comprehensive property listings for the Big Island:
Hawaii Information Service – Big Island MLS

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