Everything you need to know from Karen's Point of View

Karen E. Bail is a top producing, high quality real estate salesperson.  An Islander at heart, Karen has lived in Hawaii most of her life and on the Big Island since 1977.  Her intimate knowledge of all aspects of island living make her the preferred professional for all types of Big Island real estate.  Her experience as a real estate professional for nearly 25 years, past professional associations and networks add immense value to every transaction and for every client, whether buying or selling.  She can also help you with real estate purchases throughout the state.  Why go to anyone else, when you can work with a dedicated professional who puts you first!

March 3, 2023

Not One but Two Big Island Hotels Made the Top 15 Lis

US News & World Report, launched in 1948 and in its eighth decade of providing consumer advice and analysis, recently released their 2023 list of the top hotels across the nation—and wouldn’t you know it, two Big Island experiences have placed near the top of the list!

The Four Seasons Resort Hualalai in Kailua-Kona came in at number six overall, and Mauna Lani/Auberge Resorts Collection (located in Puako) was right behind at number fifteen.

(While we politely disagree that neither hotel was ranked number one in the world this year, there’s always next year’s rankings to look forward to.)

The Four Seasons, which we’ve written about before, features an 18-hole golf course designed by none other than the ‘Golden Bear’ Jack Nickalus, which also recently hosted the PGA’s Mitsubishi Electric Championship.

Mauna Lani, meanwhile, nestles into the famed Kohala Coast and features two golf courses, two saunas, and a slew of cultural activities and top-flight amenities, making this a must-see for your next island getaway (or in-island getaway!).

US News & World Report utilized a methodology that combined industry awards, guest rankings and ratings, and verified hotel star ratings in determining this year’s winners. Both Big Island hotels have also now earned the highly-coveted ‘Gold Badge’ ranking, bestowed upon each hotel in the top 10% of the list.

A word to the wise for our off-island friends, though—be careful when you visit either of these stellar hotels on your next trip...as you may not want to ever leave! Don’t worry, though: Karen Bail has you covered. Give her a call to start exploring how you can make the world’s greatest island getaway your new island home today.

Posted in Real Estate Trends
Feb. 24, 2023

A Few Tips and Tricks for the Would-Be Buyer (or Seller!) Here in Hawai’i

Aloha, friends!

The holidays have come and gone, and we figured now’s the time to go over several of our most-asked FAQs, tips, and tricks around buying and selling a home here on the Big Island of Hawai’i to help you make 2023 a year for the books and beyond. Let’s get started!

For the home buyers:

What’s the deal with fee simple and leasehold on the Big Island? This can definitely be a sticking point and more than a little confusing. In a nutshell, fee simple owners own the land and the improvements upon it, whereas leasehold owners lease the land and (usually, but not always) own the improvements. We wrote a blog not too long ago detailing each, which we also encourage you to check out.

How long does the process take? Unfortunately it’s hard to say, as there are several variables typically at play. Escrow is usually between 1-2 months, but each property and purchase is nothing if not unique!

How much might it cost to buy a home on the Big Island? Trick question—as a faithful reader of our blog, you know the old adage holds true—location, location, location! Why not check out the latest stats and see our breakdown for the month that was?

And for the home sellers:

How much work will it be to list my house for sale? A lot more work if you don’t go with a pro! Karen and her team will take all the headaches out of the process, helping you and yours to simplify an otherwise-complex process to the maximum.

How long until my house sells? Ultimately there are several factors that go into deciding when a home finds a buyer, many of which are up to the whims of the market, i.e. the time of year, the current interest rates, etc.

Should I fix up the place before going to market? It depends! Some houses could definitely benefit from some pre-sale TLC, whereas other circumstances will dictate placing your home on the market as-is.

And perhaps the most important question, buying or selling: why go with Karen Bail?

Let us count the ways!

  • A shimmering track record on the Big Island, with countless satisfied customers
  • An unrivaled knowledge of the marketplace
  • Expertise in every aspect of real estate
  • Abundant resources and a can-do attitude
  • Heaping helpings of aloha


To learn more, be sure and check out our list of currently featured properties, and be sure to scope out our advanced search to see all the single-family units, condos, and land available for sale on the Big Island of Hawai’i. And, of course, above all—make sure you give Karen a call so we can get started on turning those island dreams into a reality today!

Posted in Real Estate Trends
Feb. 17, 2023

The Big Island’s Market is Normalizing...What Does That Mean for Potential Buyers and Sellers?

After an unprecedented run these past three years or so, there’s no doubt about it: the Big Island’s housing market is currently going through a normalization.

What, exactly, does that mean?

In a nutshell, it’s just like it sounds—the Covid-19 pandemic caused quite a kerfuffle in the local and national marketplaces, creating a buying frenzy the likes of which have never been seen.

Several factors contributed to the bonanza, including:

  • The increasing ability for workers to work from anywhere (and the never-ending allure of living in paradise!)
  • Record-low interest rates
  • The ongoing lack of new and available housing, a trend that began after the market crash of 2008

All in all, these circumstances created a perfect storm for buyers of choice and sellers of every kind, with some open houses seeing lines of potential buyers stretching for blocks.

The first stats of 2023 (for January) are officially in, and there’s no doubt that the sales numbers are down by way of comparison to the past few years:

  • Single-family units saw a 39% reduction in total number of sales year-over-year last month
  • Condos saw a 47% drop in total sales

However, this is certainly not bad news!

Not only is the market normalizing across the Aloha State and across the nation, but this also means that opportunities for home ownership are likely to increase for many as the year rolls on. It’s a wonderful time for both buyers—who will enjoy an expanded and more-affordable marketplace—and sellers, who will experience an expanded pool of potential buyers to choose from.

Here’s something else to be aware of as you ponder the possibilities:

Is your current realtor up to the challenge?


If not, then you’d best give Karen Bail a call on the double! She’s got the know-how and the knowledge to help make 2023 your very best year yet. Aloha!

Posted in Real Estate Trends
Feb. 10, 2023

Luxury home Sales Were Down in 2022...Or Were They?

You may have heard—being a faithful reader of our blog and all!—that the state’s luxury home market (roughly defined as those homes that sold for $3 million or more) declined in total number of sales by 22% last year as compared to 2021. 

However, this is why a deeper dive into the numbers for context is always paramount: within this, there were over $3.7 billion in sales of residential properties (single-family units, condos) in 2022, which was more than double the sales volume of 2019, the last year on record before the pandemic came and held sway over the sales statistics. 


That’s a pretty big difference!


Furthermore, it was a tale of two half-years in 2022 with regard to the decline in high end home sales: 

  • The first six months of 2022 saw record-breaking numbers
  • The final six months evidenced the decline, yet sales numbers and sales prices remained extremely high, with scads of buyers still competing for the island’s best homes

And how did the Big Island fare regarding luxury home sales overall in 2022?


Let’s take a look!

  • 157 total home sales of $3 million or more
  • Total volume of these sales: $927.4 billion
  • 16 total home sales of $10 million or more
  • The biggest sale of 2022: $33.75 million (for vacant land in Ka‘ūpūlehu)


Pretty impressive stuff! It just goes to show you that the numbers can always be deceiving—and that’s why you need the expertise of a true real estate professional to shepherd you towards the home sale or purchase of your dreams. Karen Bail has been the Big Island’s best realtor for decades and counting, so give her a call and let’s swing for the fences together in 2023!

Posted in Real Estate Trends
Feb. 3, 2023

A Downtown Kona Landmark Nears Its Return

Are you and your ‘ohana looking to make an island getaway—either as kama’aina or as visitors from afar?

Then get ready to say aloha once again to one of the most-distinguished hotels in all of Hawai’i in the coming years!

The iconic Kona Bay Hotel—often known as ‘Uncle Billy’s’ throughout the years, located on Ali’i Drive in the heart of downtown Kailua-Kona—is set to make its triumphant return in the not-too-distant future, having been purchased by 12th and ‘A’ Hotel Partners, LP and being scheduled for a major face lift.

The former ‘Uncle Billy’s’ Kona Bay Hotel will be rebranded as a Hampton inn by Hilton, with 12th and ‘A’ planning to spend over $30 million to renovate the historic, 60-year-old site in Kailua Village. Hoping to begin construction later this year, the renovations are estimated to take around one year to complete. The Kona Bay Hotel has previously been closed since March of 2021, during the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

The planned construction will not increase the current number of rooms, but rather restore the hotel in all its glory, from modern flourishes to important upgrades to the infrastructure.


Karen Bail and company are heartened to see the potential return of this monument to the Kailua-Kona core, and can’t wait to check things out when everything is finished. We’ll be sure to keep you apprised as things move toward their final approvals—and trust us when we say, there’s never been a better time to get in the game, so make sure you give Karen a call to talk turkey on making those Big Island real estate dreams come true!

Posted in Real Estate Trends
Jan. 27, 2023

A Big Island Bargain in Ninole?!

You know what they say---you get what you pay for.

Unless, of course, you’re talking about an 11,000-square-foot, 5-bedroom mansion along the Hamakua coast!

That’s right—a mansion built back in 2005 was listed for auction this past year, and was successfully bid by a Big Island couple who plan to utilize the stunning home as their primary residence in the coming year.

Their price? A cool $5.75 million!

Now that’s what we’d call a bargain.

The property itself, overlooking the ocean along Old Mamalahoa Highway, has previously been rented for around $10k per night by the rich and famous, and features a full tennis stadium for up to 450 spectators, an Olympic-size pool, nine-hole golf course, rooftop helipad, and many more grand amenities.

When no takers initially lined up to buy the property back in 2020 (for its listing price of $12.5 million), the price was dropped until it went up for auction last year.

It really goes to show you just how valuable a quality, knowledgeable real estate professional is. When it comes to hunting down the home of your dreams on the Big Island, you’ll need someone with all the proverbial tools at their disposal, not to mention someone who has their ear to the ground to keep apprised of all that’s moving and shaking on the realty scene—and that’s where your friend Karen Bail comes in. With decades of experience under her belt, she’s amassed the Big Island of Hawai’i’s most-impressive list of satisfied clients, and she can’t wait to help you turn all those island dreams into a reality.


Give her a call today and let’s get started!

Posted in Real Estate Trends
Jan. 20, 2023

Which Neighborhood Had the Most Impressive Sales Numbers on the Big Island in 2022?


We hope you enjoyed our reporting on the final month’s statistics for the Big Island of Hawai’i in the prior year, and this week Karen Bail and company are here once again to help you make sense of the numbers as we cast our gaze towards the final year-end stats for 2022 to give you a sense of what was moving and shaking across the island—and, in particular, which Big Island neighborhoods did the best over the past twelve months.

As we’ve shared in the past, our local marketplace has re-corrected to a normative rate of growth in 2022 (relatively speaking for the Aloha State, that is). So while the total number of sales and total dollar volume of sales was lower than in 2021, it’s also true that many of our most-desirable neighborhoods saw returns that were far above the island median across all three categories (single-family units, condominiums, and available land).

Ready to get started? Let’s get right to it!

Let’s start from the south and work our way up north on the Kona side:

South Kona:

  • 98 single-family units sold, median of $767,500
  • 2 condos sold, median of $457,100
  • 119 parcels of land sold, median of $225,000

No surprises here! South Kona is equal parts laid-back and urbane, with plenty of recreation and natural beauty to entertain its residents and guests. There simply aren’t many condos to be had in this area, but the single-family units that sold have made several new island residents sure to be ecstatic with their purchases.

North Kona:

  • 469 single-family units sold, median of $1.07 million-dollar
  • 422 condos sold, median of $550,000
  • 111 parcels of land sold, median of $629,000

We have a winner for single-family homes! North Kona, featuring some of the island’s best in upscale living, was a smash hit across all three sales categories in 2022. It’s hard to beat the available amenities and surrounding views of Kailua, which makes this island enclave one of the most popular in all of Hawai’i/

South Kohala:

  • 210 single-family units sold, median of $909,000
  • 260 condos sold, median of $1.07 million-dollar
  • 63 parcels of land sold, median of $550,000

The condo king of 2022! While the median sales price for singe-family homes in this sensational region are certainly robust, South Kohala is also notable for its luxurious slate of condo developments, which actually eclipsed single-family homes per the median.

North Kohala:

  • 75 single-family units sold, median of $1.02 million-dollar
  • 61 parcels of land sold, median of $453,000

With few condos available, this exclusive area of the Big Island is world-renowned for its natural setting and ritzy neighborhoods, both contributing to its extremely healthy median sales price for any and all available single-family homes in the region.


So while the books are officially closed for 2022, 2023 is shaping up to be an exciting year in Big Island real estate—which is why you need to call the Big Island’s very best realtor to help you make the coming months your very best yet!

Posted in Real Estate Trends
Jan. 13, 2023

How Did the Big Island Market Close Out the Year?

There’s no doubt about it—2022 was certainly quite a year!

The past twelve months saw a great many things changing around the local real estate scene, from buying trends to mortgage rates and pretty much everything in between. Karen Bail and company, as always, are here to shepherd you through the facts and figures to help you better understand the trends and what they mean to make 2023 your best year yet, combined with unparalleled customer service and knowledge of the local marketplace to boot.

Let’s go to the numbers and see what’s the what!

Overall median declines for single-family units, rises for condos

The median sales price for single-family homes on the Big Island dropped to $461,700 in December, down from $495k in November. As always, these numbers are heavily influenced by the purchasing tallies in communities located in the southern half of the island, as many of our most-desirable neighborhoods in the Kona and North/South Kohala regions remain quite robust. Single-family units were on the market for a median of 30 days before being sold, a decrease from November’s 37 per the median.

Condominiums, meanwhile, saw a rather healthy increase to close out 2022, coming in at $610,000 and sporting quite a leap up from the $473,750 we saw the month prior in November. The past month saw several choice units changing hands, with 9 more condos being sold (39) than in the month prior (30). The typical unit saw only 17 days per the median on the marketplace, a few days higher than in November (14).

Year-end tallies demonstrate strong median prices for many island neighborhoods

On the whole, the Big Island of Hawai’i saw a nice increase in median sales prices for single-family homes (5% increase), condos (19% increase), and available land (13% increase) over 2021. Medians for North Kona (+16%), South Kona (+14%), North Kohala (+26%) and South Kohala (+9%) all enjoyed a continual appreciation throughout the year for single-family units, and condos enjoyed much the same trajectory:

  • Kona region: +3%
  • Kohala region: +36%

Overall, while the total number of sales slowed down from the torrid pace set back in 2021 (-21%), the Big Island’s real estate marketplace remains quite strong and primed to continue 2023 along much the same lines. Our slower rate of sales and lower total dollar volume of sales this past year ($3.4 billion) are reflective of the market modulating back to its nominal, normative rate of growth from back in 2019, which was still very impressive in its own right. It’s always hard to predict which ways the market will shift, owing to the multitude of factors at play, but we’re confident in saying things are very much looking up for a continued and steady market here in Hawai’i for the coming year and beyond.

And if you’re looking to make a big splash in the ever-changing marketplace, then make sure you give Karen Bail a call. With years of experience and a deep, intimate knowledge of all things Big Island she is without a doubt your very best resource for buying and selling your next home, and all with the impeccable service and top-notch marketing that your transaction deserves.



Posted in Real Estate Trends
Jan. 6, 2023

Hawai’i’s Economic Forecast Sunny Despite Growing Nationwide Economic Clouds

Of the countless reasons to make the Big Island of Hawai’i home, perhaps none stand quite so tall as the unbeatable weather. We’re so lucky to experience such balmy temperatures and unrivaled natural beauty year-round here on the island, and according to the latest report from the University of Hawai’i Economic Research Organization (UHERO), the Aloha State is set to continue to see sunny dayswell  into 2023—economically speaking, that is!

That’s right: in their latest report, UHERO reports that their overall outlook for the Aloha State has not changed substantially since the fall, even in the face of rising costs and a darkened economic forecast for the rest of the country. The scourge of rising interest rates, inflation, and a potential downturn in the US market will likely do some disrupting to the economy at-large in 2023—yet Hawai’i is nevertheless predicted to weather much of the proverbial storm with a smile.

How could this be? Let’s hear it from the report itself:

  • For starters, inflation here in Hawai’i is high, yet is lower than is seen in the US as a whole.
  • Our state’s labor market is not as tight as that seen on the mainland, with excess demand for workers helping to bring up wages
  • Home prices have begun to fall with reduced affordability running rampant across the islands the past two-plus years

And, of course, perhaps the biggest reason that the Big Island and the rest of Hawai’i are set to weather any potential economic storms is that we’re simply the place to be! With the visitor numbers nearly eclipsing the pre-pandemic tallies from 2019—and all the business said tourists, including our friends from Japan, are bringing back to our local economy—Hawai’i once again stands apart from the pack when it comes to our ability to thrive under otherwise difficult conditions.

Speaking of thriving...have you been itching to get in the real estate game as of late? With the total number of housing sales slowing down this may well provide the perfect opportunity for buyers of choice to hone in on the home of their dreams. Or maybe you’re curious about what it would look like to add an investment property to your expanding portfolio, or wondering about all the ins-and-outs of the vacation rental market?

No matter what question may bring you, Karen Bail and company have been delivering the goods here on the Big Island of Hawai’i for decades, providing top-notch customer service and expert analysis at every step of the way. She and her team are well-versed in any aspect of real estate that you can think of, and they’d be honored to make your acquaintance soon. Why not give her a call and get started on tracking down the home of your dreams today?


Aloha, mahalo, and a hui hou!

Posted in Real Estate Trends
Dec. 30, 2022

The Big Island is Back in Business for 2023 and Beyond

There’s no doubt about it—the pandemic decimated tourism and our local economy back in 2020.

Life became very hard for so many among us due to the complete lack of visitors and the slow rebuilding from the Safe Travels program, but as the years have passed so too have the restrictions on travel, allowing for visitors the world over to once again start experiencing the islands and re-expanding our local economy.

According to a recent release by the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), the Big Island and the Aloha State are forging ahead to a total recovery in the tourism sector—and are even forecasting for growth in 2023, even as the national economic sector experiences far slower growth itself.

Just how much are we talking?

  • U.S. Economic growth is projected to come in at only 0.2% for 2023, according to the latest projections

  • However, the state of Hawai’i welcomed over 7 million visitors during the first ten months of this year, an 88.6% recovery from the pre-pandemic levels of 2019

  • What’s more, it’s projected that the total air seats—or number of flights purchased to travel to the Aloha State—during December and January 2023 are expected to be fully-recovered from the December 2019/January 2020 period

Furthermore, the statewide hotel occupancy rate was at 72% during the late third quarter of this year, only 7.5 percentage points below the tally from October of 2019. Hawai’i County alone saw a 51.6% increase in room rates over the past year—not too shabby, if we do say so ourselves!

On the whole, the state is forecasting that the year’s total number of visitors will come in around 9.3 million by the end of the month, a scant million off the 10.3 that had arrived during the same time frame back in the pre-pandemic days of 2019.

The primary takeaway here? The Big Island—and the Aloha State in general—are nearly as ‘recession-proof- as they come, even in the face of a grimmer nationwide economic forecast. Although some leaner times may well be ahead for the nation at-large it’ll take far more than that to curtail the national appetite for sandy beaches, palm trees, and the very best natural scenery to be found anywhere in the whole wide world.

And it only makes good sense, after all: who wouldn’t want to spend their vacation frolicking on the Big Island of Hawai’i and escape the winter doldrums a bit? So if you’ve been thinking it’s time to make a major move and relocate here to paradise—or you’re looking to get in on the lucrative vacation rental marketplace—then give Karen Bail a call, the Big Island’s very best resource for all your real estate needs.



Posted in Real Estate Trends