''Although our company has offices around the State of Hawaii, we’re based on the Big Island.''

An Interview with Kurtis Becker and Carl Hulen
Luxury Realtors, Hawaii Global Luxury Group at Coldwell Banker Island Properties

In our final interview in Hawaii with KURTIS BECKER and CARL HULEN at Coldwell Banker Island Properties, we explore the changing environment of wealth preservation, and how real estate investments in markets such as Hawaii are attracting the attention of wealthy investors worldwide.

Executive Global: Can you tell us about who is currently investing in Hawaii, where the investors are coming from and what they’re looking for?

Kurtis Becker: In past years, investors in the Hawaii real estate market were individuals and families looking for second homes and vacation rentals, and they were typically from reasonably close markets such as the west coast of the U.S., Canada and Asia. We should note that the islands of Hawaii are the most geographically remote of any island chain on the planet when measuring distance from continents. Recently there has been a shift, possibly due to the pandemic or other global socioeconomic factors, and we are seeing investors from the UK, central Europe, South America, essentially the far corners of the world. Many are moving investments in commercial real estate, equities or even crypto into Hawaii real estate, typically residential or estate properties. In many cases, our group and our associates are dealing with ‘family offices’ who are looking at wealth preservation opportunities, and considering investments here as an important facet of their portfolio. 

EG: Why Hawaii? What makes property investments there any better than other alternatives?

Carl Hulen: That’s a question best answered by our clients, and because of the various backgrounds and areas they come from, all the answers would be somewhat different, but lifestyle is an important factor. Investors in Hawaii are not only considering long-term stability, but planning to actively utilise the asset as part of their new lifestyle. And the lifestyle here is unmatched - with nearly perfect weather 365 days a year and wide array of activities available, including virtually every water sport, golf, world class restaurants and shopping, Hawaii offers attractive lifestyle options to everyone who decides to invest here..

EG: You mentioned ‘Wealth Preservation’. What is it about Hawaii that appeals to those looking to preserve wealth? 

KB: Again, this is another question best answered by our clients, but we are seeing investors moving from commercial real estate, equities and even currency- into real estate here. This began in 2019 and accelerated over the past two years, possibly due to inflationary factors that were developing in countries worldwide. Historically in times of fast moving inflation, real estate is considered one of the safer havens for investments. One also considers the location of the investment, the stability of the region and today, even climate factors. Hawaii is one place that checks all the boxes and also offers the fringe benefits of the lifestyle here. And it’s not just a destination for the super-rich, you’ll find something for everyone here – from ultra-high-end luxury resort areas to laid-back beach towns. In Kona, where we have one of our offices on the Big Island, it is common to have a millionaire’s estate located a short distance from a coffee farm up on Hualalai mountain. The one thing they have in common is both are living their version of the Aloha lifestyle.

EG: Are there still ‘new opportunities’ for those looking to invest in Hawaii?

CHNot as many as there once was. When Laurance Rockefeller was traveling around Hawaii in the 1960’s looking for the ideal location for one of his ‘RockResorts’, he essentially had the entire island to pick from and eventually selected the area where his original Mauna Kea resort now stands. Opportunities like that in Hawaii are much more rare, but they still exist. We currently have an oceanfront estate with 4 homes for sale on Ha’ikaua Point in Kona, the kind of property that becomes available once in a generation, or in a lifetime. Also, our company is currrently in the process of releasing a new oceanfront development phase in the Waikoloa resort south of the Mauna Kea resort area. Today, however, new developments take much longer to come together due to a variety of factors.

EG: Tell us something about Hawaii our readers may not be aware of?

KB: When most people envision Hawaii, they see palm trees, blue ocean, maybe even a Hula dancer. We have all that and more. Although our company has offices around the State of Hawaii, we’re based on the Big Island. One interesting fact about the Big Island is the different climate zones around the island. We have 4 out of the 5 major climate zones in the world and 8 of the 13 sub-zones. The top of Mauna Kea for example will sometimes have snow earlier than many regions of the northern U.S. mainland. If you have a 4-wheel-drive, you can ski in the morning and surf in the afternoon on the same island, and sometimes be joined by pods of dolphins or humpback whales in the winter season. Another interesting fact, you can fit all the other islands of Hawaii on to the Big Island, and still have room to spare. It is truly the ‘Big Island’ of Hawaii.

EG: In past interviews, you’ve shared information about investing in Hawaii, how it has become a new destination for virtual workers and other reasons to visit or relocate there. If you had to pick one main selling point, what would that be?

CH: That’s an easy question to answer for those of us who live here and a simple one word answer too – Aloha! There’s only one place on the planet that captures the spirit of Aloha like no other- and that is Hawaii. Even the word itself is special with so many meanings – “Greetings, Welcome, Love, Compassion, Good Wishes, Safe Travels” and more. It is a word imbued not only in the lifestyle, but in the people here. Yes, Hawaii is a world class tropical destination. It is also a great option as a real estate investment or wealth preservation asset, but if you spend some time here and get to know the people, you’ll receive something far more valuable than that. Hawaii is ready for you and the world is ready for more Aloha - what are you waiting for?  EG