KeÂ’olu, the Tom Weiskopf-designed members-only golf course at luxurious Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, is named for the Â“gentle breezeÂ” that brings a sense of calm and coolness to the Hualalai ClubÂ’s Â“maukaÂ” or mountaintop setting. The name is befitting because HualalaiÂ’s exclusive residential community has been more than a breath of fresh air for HawaiiÂ’s high-end residential real estate market.
At a time when many upscale private and resort-style communities are struggling against recessionary headwinds, Hualalai Realty is having another banner year for the prestigious community located on the Big Island of Hawaii 10 minutes from the Kona International Airport.
Situated along the renowned Kona-Kohala Coast where exquisite resort communities and multi-million dollar home sites dot a 40-mile stretch of pristine oceanfront real estate, 865-acre Hualalai is home to just 500 families and the perennially ranked AAA/Five Diamond Four Seasons Resort. The resortÂ’s private residential enclaves, home to billionaires and celebrities alike, make Hualalai one of the worldÂ’s most distinguished addresses.
One of HualalaiÂ’s celebrity residents, entertainer Cher, kicked off 2010 with a bang when Concierge Auctions sold her five-bedroom, 8,630-square-foot oceanfront home in January for $8.72 million to a buyer from Arizona. Nine months later, Hualalai Realty was reporting $98 million in closed transactions for the year, a pace to surpass the previous yearÂ’s $150 million in sales revenue.
Last August, Hualalai RealtyÂ’s director of residential sales Rob Kildow did nine sales, the communityÂ’s largest single month for transactions in its 14-year history. ItÂ’s just another small sign that the luxury real estate market is slowly regaining its health.
Â“ItÂ’s still no picnic,Â” adds Kildow, one of the 300 resident members at Hualalai Club that costs $225,000 to join. Â“WeÂ’re ahead of last yearÂ’s numbers but not by tons. Tour traffic is up by 35 percent though and prices have started to climb some.Â”
Kildow says the lower-end luxury condominium homes priced from $2-$3 million are slow in moving, with the bulk of HualalaiÂ’s sales falling in the $5 million-plus range.
What that tells Kildow is the Â“high-end is still fine in Hawaii.Â”Â It helps to be associated with one of the leading upscale resorts, where villa homes can rent for $3,500 to $4,500 per night.
Interestingly, nine of HualalaiÂ’s 21 closings through mid-October involved existing members that Â“valued up,Â” according to Kildow. Kildow says resident members appreciated how HualalaiÂ’s overall ownership group, led by Michael Dell, handled the post-financial crisis meltdown. For example, Hualalai forged ahead with its $40 million resort enhancement project last August, adding several new resort and club amenities and held firm on home site valuations while comparable communities were slashing prices.
Â“Instinctively, (Hualalai members) know nowÂ’s the time to get great values,Â” says Kildow, partly explaining the late 2010 sales activity. Â“We havenÂ’t pulled back 40 percent like others. Plus weÂ’ve got an obvious 15-year track record and weÂ’re so diverse. WeÂ’re not staking the value or experience of Hualalai on one or two things.
Â“At Hualalai itÂ’s more than about sticks and bricks. ItÂ’s the people that make this resort community so special. I have billionaires tell me thereÂ’s no other place as comfortable as Hualalai. They tell me half donÂ’t know who I am and the other half donÂ’t care. They can walk out to the club in their sandals and enjoy whatever it is they want.Â”
For many, it starts with that gentle breeze called KeÂ’olu.
For more information, contact Rob Kildow at Hualalai Realty; Toll-Free 1-800 983-3880; www.hualalairealty.com