Monday, February 11, 2008

Losing Perspective

When I go on vacation, my RE obsession is always percolating somewhere in the background.

One result is that when I visit places I have been to before, I notice all the for sale signs now. I'm not sure if they were there before and I just didn't notice, or if there really are more signs and lots of empty commercial space. This past week was no exception.

We went on an actual vacation to Maui this last week as part of a family reunion. The Hawaiian Islands are home to some of the nation's most expensive RE....but there seemed to be for sale signs everywhere. Could it be that people are trying to offload expensive vacation homes? Or is it just the norm for that location and this time of year?

I feel I have lost my sense of perspective on what is a normal level of activity.


Patient Renter said...

Hawaii is bubbly too. They have a bubble blog and everything. If you think about it, the same things that drove real estate mania here existed just the same over there.

Mystere said...

Hawaii is a very unique housing market, especially compared with Sacramento. In Hawaii, land truly is a limited resource (it's not uncommon for an existing home to be demolished to make way for construction of a new home), and there exists a significant amount of foreign interest, both of which tend to support prices. On the other hand, the econcomy predominately is reliant on tourism, incomes generally are lower as a result, and affordability is a big issue (price/income is not pretty).

smf said...

"it's not uncommon for an existing home to be demolished to make way for construction of a new home"

In a beach environment, houses are essentially worthless. The ocean (salt) air will eventually eat the house and everything inside.

Not including that a high tide or hurricane can cause significant damage.

Paul said...

I have seen the same proliferation of for sale signs in other "resort" areas, including Sedona (currently with 1,400 listings per Although all real estate might be local, the downturn isn't just local.

Mystere said...

Uh, riiight, smf. Prime beachfront real estate in Hawaii is worthless...

Care to give me some of that worthless property for free?

And no, the ocean air won't destroy a home and all its least not within a millenia or two. My spouse is from Hawaii and the family's homes have survived just fine through generations, as well as through the occasional hurricanes.

Exaggeration is not your friend...

Cmyst said...

Paul did a great job.

smf said...

"Prime beachfront real estate in Hawaii is worthless..."

Umm...did not say that, I said that the HOUSE is nearly worthless. How do I know? Having a summer home IN FRONT (not streets away) of the beach.

"My spouse is from Hawaii..."

And are the homes you are indicating beach FRONT? Not saying streets away, but right in front, with nothing between you and the beach.

"Exaggeration is not your friend..."

You want me to post pictures? Give you some additional references?


Beach houses are also different because of the harsh marine environment. The wind, the sand and the salt air will destroy a house in short order if it's not detailed properly

Mystere said...

Look, here's your quote:

"In a beach envirnoment, houses are essentially worthless."

If you're now trying to say that the land is worth something, but the house is worthless, it's a distinction without a difference, unless you plan to own it as an open space nature preserve...

And yes, they own homes right on the beach.

I don't care if you post pictures, though, as I alluded, it would be nice if you didn't exaggerate. As for your reference, you aren't seriously citing that as authority for your assertion above that "in a beach environment, houses are essentially worthless"....are you? In any case, you can quote whatever you want, but the bottom line is that you have zero chance of convincing me, or I'll venture anyone else with half a brain, that Hawaiian beachfront *houses* are essentially worthless.

smf said...


If you want to play thick, go right ahead and do so.

But to see if I can say it again, the HOUSES, not the LAND they sit on, are essentially worthless. The land, on the other hand, is very valuable.

You have to know how to build beachfront property for it to withstand the environment.

Now, I made a simple statement originally, that you were 'nice' enough to make it a big deal. If you want to get into a pissing match, just let me know.

mystere said...

For the third time, your exaggeration is disingenuous. Having been called on your ridiculous original claim, you peddled back to 'clarify' that (i) you're referencing houses not land (curiously, in your view, the land retains value even though, in your view, any improvements ever placed thereon would be 'worthless,' and (ii) narrowed your claim to apply only to those houses that are right on the beachfront and not even a street or two over.
It's all there above in black and white.

Finally, after two go arounds, in your last post you arrive at your revised claim that "you have to know how to build beachfront property for it to withstand the environment." Wonderful, you've at last arrived at a reasonable and accurate claim -- which is a *far* departure from your original exaggerated claim that "in a beach environment, houses are essentially worthless."

Your original statement was not simple. It was grossly inaccurate. I'll call you (or anyone else) on bs every time.

Buying Time said...

Allright you tow.....Am I going to have to separate you? Don't make me play mom....we are all adults here.

Since we don't live in a beach environment, I don't think we need to pursue this further.

Observant One said...

BT, I think this discussion is pertinent. After all, what about the Big One (earthquake) that's gonna create some prime beachfront Sacramento property, hmmm? :)

Well said, Mystere. It would do us all well to keep the 'puffery' down.