A good number of our buyer clients are couples or singles in their 50's who have emptied their nests but aren't quite at retirement age yet. They have extra income, extra time and are thinking ahead to the third act of their lives.
Most of these people come from the mainland and are done with winter and dream of perpetual tropical vacations and have realized they could stop dreaming and make it a reality.
These dreamer-realists eventually set their sites on the Big Island of Hawaii (particularly the east side) because of all that this tropical paradise offers.
For starters, it's affordable. When compared to other islands and to the west coast of the United States, home prices here seem almost crazy cheap. You can still get a newer home on an acre of land for under $300k. Even oceanfront prices fall into the "pinch me" column if you compare to similar homes in, say, coastal California.
Second, the east side of the island is home to the university and several telescopes and comes with all the intellectual and cultural trappings that surround colleges. For example, people interested in the cosmos will find lectures free to the public given by real life astronomers. We also have the Imiloa Astronomy Center.
Gardeners or fledgling farmers will find a climate that is rich for growing as well as one that is ripe for experimentation and entrepreneurship, as we discussed in our last blog.
And all that is in addition to our fabulous climate and endless activities that are fostered by the sunshine and ocean.
We find that people who are in pre-retirement planning buy homes early and take advantage of the strong rental market here to help support their home financially until it's time to move here permanently. Then, they come visit on vacations and get acquainted with their new community over the years before making East Hawaii their permanent home.
However, a little warning. We have known many pre-retirees that decide after a short while that they can't wait the 10 years or so to move here and they make the leap early, sometimes finding a new career but often starting their own business.
In a future blog, we will talk about the folks that have done just that; their ideas, successes, failures and advice.