Market Conditions Report – Hilo Update


Hilo is the second largest city in all of Hawaii. Most of the services and businesses on the east side of the Big Island are located in Hilo. It is also home to the county seat and includes the county, state, federal, and judicial buildings. While Hilo tends to be a rainy place, the weather patterns are not always predictable. Several weeks or months may go by without any substantial rainfall. Nearly all of the important educational and financial institutions are located in Hilo. The University of Hawaii at Hilo was ranked one of the top twenty small universities in the nation and has a very diverse, international student body. Visitors and residents find Hilo to be a “local” town with warm and friendly people. While tourism is very important to the east Hawaii economy, it does not dominate, as in Kona. Cruise ships regularly dock at the Hilo Harbor and Hilo Bayfront frequently has canoe paddling regattas with statewide participation. The world renown “Merrie Monarch Hula Festival” is held in Hilo every Arpil and draws contestants from all over the world. Hilo is a very diverse  community that is low key and very modest.

(Ratings: 1=Strong Buyer’s Market; 5=Strong Seller’s Market):
Current Rating: 2


If a new listing came along today, would you expect it to sell for more or less than if it had come on the market one or two months ago?  (1=Down significantly; 2=Down; 3=Unchanged; 4=Up; 5=Up Significantly)
Current Rating: 2


Hilo is a relatively conservative community and sees less volatile market swings that other areas of Hawaii. Some first time home buyers and renters are taking advantage of the soft market conditions and relatively low interest rate environment to purchase Hilo homes. This is an excellent time for first time home buyers to negotiate a deal. Builders and contractors are sharpening their costs and overhead and looking to provide lower cost and more value in the new home construction market, which has seen a downturn in volume due to the slowing market. Several new residential condominium projects in Hilo are being readied for construction, with a targeted buyer profile of baby boomer and retirees. Most existing condominiums in Hilo were built over 25 years ago.

Here are the MLS statistics on the greater Hilo area (tax map key 3-2) from Jan. 1 to March 21, 2008:

  • There are 220 homes listed for sale, with a list price range from $165,000 to $3,490,000 
  • The median list price of homes is $397,500
  • There are 29 homes in escrow, with a list price range from $218,000 to $2,399,000
  • There have been 30 homes sold, with a sold price range from $73,200 to $650,000 
  • The median sold price was $349,500
  • The median days on market to sell was 55 days. Selling price to Listing price percentage was a median of 95.1%

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