Today marks the 10th Day of Quarantine Life on Kauai. From what social media and the fabulous internet has shown me, the beaches are clear, there's no traffic in Kapa'a or Poipu, and our young keiki (children) are entering a new age of learning.
Our sense of community is evolving and expanding as we are learning how to come together. Our support system has stepped up and I've heard many people say they haven't felt this sense of community since Hurricane Iniki. County, nonprofit, and local organizations have recognized the kapuna (elderly) needs our help and have created programs to deliver fresh food to their doorstep. Virtually, there have been several websites pop up connecting our local restaurants, businesses and farmers to consumers. Check out my post on Where to Find Fresh Produce on Kauai blog for links and more info.
I have put together a few local announcements, national and local real estate market updates, and a few Kauai market reports.
Kauai COVID-19 Updates
In most recent news, Kauai now has 13 confirmed cases of COVID-19, while statewide there are 285 confirmed cases. Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami has implemented 5 Emergency Rules as of April 2, 2020.
- Mayor's Emergency Rule #1 – All Kauai campgrounds, community centers, and large pavilions are closed. In addition, all county Stadiums and their associated parking lots are closed.
- Mayor's Emergency Rule #2 (AMENDED RULE) – A curfew from 9:00pm to 5:00am is established. Every individual within the County of Kauai must remain in their residence during the specified hours.
- Mayor's Emergency Rule #3 – The following list of businesses are now closed: bars and clubs; restaurants and cafes that serve food; and theaters, entertainment centers, and visitor attractions; and suspend services and activities in places of worship.
- Mayor's Emergency Rule #4 – No more than 100-day use permits will be issued for all island-wide County beach parks. A park permit fee of $50 per vehicle and $5 per person shall be assessed. State of Hawaii residents are exempt from these permitting requirements.
- Mayor's Emergency Rule #5 (AMENDED RULE) – Local guidelines to the Governor's statewide State-at-Home Order. the Stay-at-Home rule essentially keeps people at home, with very limited exceptions.
- Mayor's Emergency Rule #5 (AMENDED RULE #2) – The County of Kauai announces the following County-related changes in Stand Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the Department of of Public Works, Building Division:
- No permits (building, plumbing, and electrical) will be issued through April 30 or until further notice.
- New application and payments for permits ready to be issues may be mailed or submitted online to the County.
- Inspection Requests
- Building, plumbing and electrical inspectors will only honor requests for essential projects. Vertical construction, including renovation and remodeling activities, is not considered essential.
Some GOOD NEWS – Seven (7) confirmed cases here on Kauai have made a full recovery and have returned home. The additional six confirmed cases are held in isolation.
I have created a COVID-19 Resources page on my website with a list of National, State, and Local sites to help you better understand coronavirus and how it's affecting Hawaii. If you have travel plans here, please follow the state and local sites for more information. Real-time updates are made, so please check it out and share this with anyone you feel should know it too!
I have also created a Kauai Life with COVID-19 Facebook Group to update each resident or visitor with recent store closures/updated hours, share staying indoor ideas, update the general population with real estate updates, and lastly spread positivity and encouragement for all to use!
National Real Estate Market Update
In an attempt to answer some Frequently Asked Questions, I've pieced together answers from experts at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Keeping Current Matters, and the National Association of Realtors.
Q. The Federal Reserve has cut rates by 150 basis points in March, but mortgage rates have increased. Why?
- The Feds work on the short-side of the market. Mortgage loans are priced on the basis of the longer-term side of the financial market.
- Mortgage securities face pre-payment risks. During the recent market upheaval, investors are turning to Treasury securities, driving down yields on Treasury securities. Because of the pre-payment risk, rates on mortgage-backed securities need to be even higher than usual over Treasurys to continue to attract investors.
- The mortgage industry simply doesn't have the capacity to handle the influx of applications coming in due to the low rates.
- But even with all that, industry mortgage rates remain historically low.
Q. How does the newly passed “CARES Act” apply to homeowners and renters?
- The federal Conoravirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or “CARES Act” contains protections for many homeowners and renters. Under the CARES Act, services of federally-backed mortgage loans are prohibited form initiating any judicial or non-judicial foreclosure actions, or from executing foreclosure-related evictions between March 18, 2020 and May 17, 2020.
- Borrowers of federally-backed mortgages experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 may request leniency from their loan servicer for up to 180 days. Be sure to contact your loan provider directly to request more information.
- With regard to renters, until July 26, 2020 property owners with federally-guaranteed loans or participating in federal housing programs, are prohibited from filing for eviction or charging any additional fees for unpaid rent. Also, they may not issue a Notice to Vacate until July 26, 2020.
- Renters seeking additional information or assistance should contact the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii or a HUD approved housing counselor.
Q. What can I do to best position myself to buy a home this year?
- Don't put your home ownership plans on hold just because you're stuck inside.
- There are several things you can do right now to keep your home search moving forward.
- Connect with an agent, learn about resource programs to things like down payments, and get pre-approved today.
Kauai Real Estate Market Update
The County Housing Agency has adopted a policy of NO evictions from County-owned properties, and NO foreclosures of County-issued mortgage loans.
- Additionally, the County will waive any late fees for missed or untimely payments. When the pandemic is behind us, the County will work with their tenants and holders of County loans to work out reasonable payment plans.
- In addition, all recipients of rental assistance through the County who have suffered a loss of income are encouraged to contact the Housing Agency at 808-241-4440 to document your loss of income.
- Please note that these County and federal actions provide protections from foreclosures and evictions for County properties and loans with regard to properties with federally-backed mortgages. These protections do not necessarily cover all mortgages and tenant situations.
- The County, however, encourages landlords and private mortgage companies to similarly show leniency to tenants and borrowers who find themselves in financial hardship.
The below graphics display the tracked listing updates island-wide. Comparing the weeks of February 10 – March 30 in 2019 to February 9 – March 28 in 2020, we are monitoring the number of new listings, sales, price changes, withdrawn listings, homes under contract or holding contingencies, and back on the market homes.
We're seeing some noticeable changes in the market the past few weeks. The number of sales and homes going under contract have decreased; assuming this is due to the pandemic. Interestingly, the number of homes that have been withdrawn has skyrocketed at more than 5x's the average amount, while there are less price changes and still, new listings arriving to the market.
We will continue to monitor and these graphs will be updated weekly.
*We don't have the number of homes under contract or holding contingencies and back on the market homes from 2019. Information from Hawaii Information Service.
Kauai Market Reports
Below are real-time market reports complete with a Buyer or Seller Advantage, Median List Price, Market Profile, Market Segment, and so much more for each respective city.
I'm here to remind you your Kauaian dreams can still come true. Follow me on all the social platforms to view the island from afar or sign up to receive weekly emails covering the pandemic here in Hawaii.
Be safe, stay healthy, and we’ll see you soon!
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