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Hilo Brokers, Ltd.
400 Hualani St.,
Hilo, Hawaii, 96720
Quality Big Island Real
Estate Service & Experience
for Over 20 Years!
Big Island REALTOR®:
Kelly H. Moran
Nino ... How it Affects the Big Island
- By Kelly
It’s an “El Niño” winter, right
now, and it’s a mixed blessing for Hawaii.
Every few years, starting around Christmastime, the
warm equatorial currents of the Pacific shift northward,
toward the Tropic of Cancer. This causes a region of “high
pressure” to hover around the Hawaiian Islands, keeping
normally cool, wet weather at bay, and provoking a shift in
the usual wind pattern. Instead of tradewinds swooping down
on us from the northeast, most breezes this winter are
coming from the southeast and southwest, which are warmer
than the northeast trades.
So the Big Island stays somewhat warmer, and a whole
lot drier, in an El Niño winter than it does in “normal”
years. North and South Kohala, and most of Ka’u, are in a
drought; and even Puna and Hilo, which should have gotten a
couple of feet of rain by now, have received only a few
inches. The Hawaii County water department is warning
residents who order a tanker-truckload of water for their
parched catchment tanks that they may have to wait three or
four days for its delivery.
An earthquake in October 2006 knocked out the major
irrigation system for the Honoka’a area and North Kohala;
some repairs have been made, but farmers are not yet
receiving the amount of water they need to sustain their
crops, and rainfall has been nowhere near sufficient to make
up the difference.
And the shift in prevailing winds has given East Hawaii
a taste of something that normally plagues Ka’u and South
Kona: we’re getting Kilauea’s notorious “vog” [read
all about vog here]. Some days in Hilo and Hamakua have
been downright gray, with obscured views and occasional
drifts of noticeably sulfurous fumes.
[It looks like haze, but
you sniff it, and . . . you’re reminded. It’s the volcanic
smog known as “vog.”]
While an El Niño gives local folks great
cause for concern, most visitors won’t be aware of this situation,
and will construe the warm, dry days as a blessing for walking
around and sightseeing: they might even pooh-pooh Hilo’s reputation
for clouds and rain. But dry weather also means that streams are not
flowing heavily; Rainbow Falls and Akaka Falls and Umauma Falls are
not as attractive, right now, as the guidebooks say they should be.
[Rainbow Falls nearly dry due
to lack of rain]
Other sights are more subtly affected.
Waimea celebrated its annual Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival the
first weekend in February. Normally, a wet and chilly winter would
stimulate great masses of pink blossoms to festoon the dozens of
trees that stretch along Church Row, and provide the thrilling
experience that the Japanese call hanami – “viewing flowers” in
Springtime. (Like the cherry trees in Washington DC, those in Waimea
are ornamental, and do not produce edible fruit.)
[Waimea's cherry blossoms in a normal
This year being dry and warm, however,
only a few sparse petals were on the branches; full bloom will
likely not come for another two or three weeks. Of course, to put
the best face on the situation, that means there’s still time to see
them at their peak!
U.S. averages as of January 28 20109:
30 yr. fixed: 4.98%
15 yr. fixed: 4.39%
1 yr. adj: 4.29%
View current rates
View All Featured Listings Here
Immaculate Large Custom Home on 3 Acres with Bonus
Room/Bath & Bonus Utility/Farm Building
Immaculate large custom
home with cathedral ceilings on quiet Koloa Maoli
(Road 9) in Hawaiian Acres. The interior features
easy-care laminate flooring, gorgeous African
Mahoghany cabinetry in the kitchen, tiled bathrooms
and high ceilings throughout. This spacious custom 4
bedroom, 3.5 bath home has extra bonus space too! A
separate farm and utility building has double
extra-height Martin garage rolling doors — ideal for
a home gym, boat or farm vehicle storage, vehicle
repair area, art studio, or a large home office.
Here for More Info
Hilo Brokers iPhone Real
Estate Search Application
Kelly H. Moran
created a customized, FREE, iPhone application that
allows you to search hawaii real estate from your iPhone.
Read More or Download Here
Tax Credit Boosts Economy
new survey reveals that savvy consumers cashing in on
the new and improved homebuyer tax credit are helping
fuel economic recovery.
The vast majority of current homeowners say they would
spend the expanded version of the homebuyer tax credit
on repaying existing debts, home improvements, savings
and investments and household expenses, according to a
National Association of REALTORS® survey of 1,000
Paying off debts affords consumers more spending power,
home improvements likewise put more equity money in
their pockets and savings and investments generate
Consumer spending, of course, is the real fuel for the
nation's economic engine. And much consumer spending is
fueled by the housing market -- provided the housing
market is energized.
Helping to energize the housing market and the economy
is the idea behind the homebuyer tax credit and its
recent extension and expansion.
By October 2009, before President Obama signed the
latest extension and expansion, more than 1.2 million
tax returns had claimed about $8.5 billion in the
refundable tax credit, for both new and resale homes -
according to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax
The new law extends the existing credit for first-time
homebuyers, worth up to $8,000, through April 30, 2010.
A new credit of up to $6,500 is available to qualifying
existing homeowners who buy a new primary residence (or
have one built) by April 30, 2010, if they owned their
existing home for five consecutive years over the last
eight years. Second homes don't qualify.
The new rule also raises the qualifying income limits
Faster: Understand the Buyer's Mindset
most sellers list their home for sale the first thing they think
about is how much will I get and that is usually followed by how
soon will I get the money. It's certainly understandable that those
two concerns are, most often, top of mind. After all, you're likely
selling your home to buy another one or invest the money in
But, if as a seller, you can get into
the buyer's mindset, the sale of your home can come faster and for
Understanding the way buyers think
involves seeing things not from your perspective but from your
potential buyer's mindset. It can sound easy but actually it's often
harder to do than most sellers think. The psychology of buying is
is now available.
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Exterior Remodeling Proves Best Bang for Your Buck
a slow market and a slight decrease in the resale value of most
remodeling projects, Realtors® report that the smartest home
improvement investments may also be some of the least expensive.
Results from the 2009 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report show that
small-scale exterior projects are the most profitable at resale,
according to estimates by Realtors who completed a recent survey.
On a national level, eight out of the top 10 projects
in terms of costs recouped were exterior replacement projects that
cost less than $14,000. Certain types of door and siding
replacements, as well as wood deck additions all returned more than
80 percent of project costs upon resale. A steel entry door
replacement – a new addition to this year’s list – recouped 128.9
percent of costs, followed by
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Island Calendar of Events
FOR THE EDGE OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM
Dates: Tues - Sun through 4/2/10
Times: 1:00 pm & 3:00pm
Place: Hilo’s high-tech Imiloa Astronomy Center planetarium
969-9700 or visit
This dynamic new planetarium show takes you into space to learn
about the Interplanetary Boundary Explorer (IBEX) mission, which
is drawing a new map of our solar system and Milky Way galaxy.
Date: March 10, 2010
LIMITED Reserved Seating. Tickets are $20 General, $15 Discount,
and $7 for UHH/HCC Students with Valid ID and Children 12 &
Hilo Performing Arts Center
Office): 808-974-7310 or
Based on a true story of Hawai‘i in the 1890’s, this intimate
and inventive puppet performance utilizes live music, animated
projections, shadow puppets and Japanese kuruma ningyo style
(wheeled puppet) figures.
was a native Hawaiian paniolo from Waimea, Kaua‘i. In 1892 he
and his son contracted Hansen’s disease. Rather than be
separated from his wife, Pi‘ilani, and exiled, Ko‘olau took the
family to the remote valley of Kalalau where he found freedom,
of a sort. This is the family’s story, recorded in 1906 by
Pi‘ilani, in the Hawaiian language with John Sheldon, an
American journalist. Director Tom Lee addresses the powerful
themes of this story with puppetry that evokes the poetry of the
Hawaiian language and the natural environment of the islands.
The piece is performed by four puppeteers, two musicians and two
projectionists who animate live shadow and video images
projected onto a screen at the back of the stage. Music is
inspired by sounds of nature and compositions of Queen
Lili‘uokalani and is performed on shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo
flute), hammer dulcimer, guitar and percussion.
Date: March 14, 2010
Admission: Tickets $40/$35
Kahilu Theater in Waimea
(808) 885-6868 or visit
Vienna Teng’s sophisticated, piano-driven chamber folk has
everyone from NPR to David Letterman raving. A brainy software
engineer turned talented singer-songwriter-pianist, the
27-year-old has already released two critically acclaimed
independent albums: 2002’s Waking Hour and 2004’s Warm
Strangers, which landed on three Billboard album charts and
reached #2 on Amazon’s best-seller list. She’s appeared on the
Late Show with David Letterman and toured widely, opening for
such artists as Shawn Colvin, Joan Osborne, Patty Griffin, Joan
Baez and the Indigo Girls.
Date: March 20, 2010
Time: Noon - 4:00pm
Place: Kalakaua Park in Hilo
Contact: (808) 961-5711 or
These monthly programs feature musical performances by Hawaii
Island musicians and hula halau, along with presentations by
community groups. Also featured are authentic arts and crafts
vendors and food booths.
PEOPLE AND LAND OF KAHUKU
Date: March 14, 2010
Time: 9:30am - 12:30pm
Place: Hawaii Volcanoes
National Park, meet at the ranch bldgs inside the gate
Contact: (808) 985-6011or
This guided hike explores ways people have lived on the vast
Kahuku lands from the earliest Hawaiian settlements through the
Park`s current and future projects. This moderately difficult
hike traverses 2 1/2 miles of rugged terrain including lava
fields, pastures and historic ranch roads. Boots, long pants,
and raingear are recommended. A treasured home and rich resource
from traditional times, a working ranch since the 1860s, a WWII
radar station and now part of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park,
the varied landscapes of Kahuku tell stories about the past and
offer promise for the future. The Kahuku gate (mountain side of
Highway 11 between the 70 and 71 mile marker in Ka`u) will be
open from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. Meet at the ranch buildings inside
the gate. There is no need to sign up for this hike and
four-wheel-drive vehicles are not required.