Aloha, friends. Getting ready for Thanksgiving? More on that below! Let’s get right to it…
APEC is done and many are more than a bit ‘thankful’ for traffic to return to its normally sticky state. Driving 10mph through Honolulu is better than standing still, right? I was conveniently in San Diego (and Idyllwild – great mountain town!) last week, so I luckily missed all the craziness. Still, in hindsight it’s always nice to put our state on the world map. As a vacation hotspot, we can never have enough press.
2012 Economic Thoughts
Just last week KITV ran an article on some economic expectations for 2012. Now I’ll be upfront and say that I’m not an economist, but I found some good tidbits in there. Firstly, I think most people understand that the world is more global now than ever before. Yes, local economies are often heavily driven by local policies and activities, but we’re more intimately connected around the world now than ever before. That means that economic bailouts in Greece, Portugal, Italy and elsewhere in Europe can substantially impact your investments while shopping in Lahaina. The domino effect of this year’s “Arab Spring”, as the revolutionary efforts of Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Jordan and now Syria are termed, is a particular shocker for me, having once lived in the region (Tel Aviv). If Assad is overthrown in Syria, the fallout from regional uncertainty could ripple through your IRA while you’re hiking Waimea Canyon on Kauai or tending to your bromeliads in Hilo.
So while real estate is definitely driven by local markets, whether Hawaii or elsewhere, it’s definitely worth keeping your eye on world events. And yes, I know the news is often depressing and I’ve often considered a “news fast”, but “no man is an island” — even on an island (bad pun, I know).
Jobs (not Steve)
However, there’s some good news in there. You may or may not know, but the current Hawaii unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the nation, hovering around 6%. Compared to our mainland neighbors, that’s a promising number. The trick will be whether that sustains into the new year, but on the surface it is a possible signal of a potential housing rebound. The thinking is that the more people are working, the more income there is which leads to greater affordability of houses. Of course, there are always other factors at play but it’s something to at least keep our eyes on.
Visit Hawaii – PLEASE!
The other side of the Hawaii economy coin is almost always our travel industry. The same article points out a higher uptick in visitor numbers than expected. Right now, any growth at all is to be celebrated. We’re a luxury market, and it stands to reason that most people need to be financially secure in their own home and household before taking a vacation to Hawaii. You could call us a “secondary market”. Again, we can look to China and other promising economies to fill in the visitors gap of the mainland.
Again, here’s an opportunity to remind those of you who sell Hawaii real estate to look beyond the good ol’ USA for your buyers. China is HOT right now. If you don’t speak Chinese, there are countless resources here to hire or partner with someone to help get you hooked into the Chinese market. Of course, Japan, Korea and Canada remain great sources or international buyers. And of course, we have to hope that the collaboration of world leaders will provide benefits to us all into the future.
As I sit here writing this article in my favorite neighborhood coffee shop, Thanksgiving Day sits just 6 days away. This will be my 6th Thanksgiving in Hawaii and while I’d love to be with my family back in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, I’m happy to be able to celebrate it here with some great friends. I’m also thankful that I’m not responsible for preparing the turkey. I’m a fan of all things culinary — including people with better culinary skills than this guy here — so I’ll do my part, but I’ll leave the turkey to the others (don’t be this guy).
So to all you turkey chefs, what are your tips to preparing the best bird on the block? Is there a magic temperature or time for cooking that leads to no-fail perfection? Some secret glaze or do you use one of those ‘flavor injectors’? Any turducken cookers out there? Share your tips below…