If the Kona-side of the Big Island is a bit too dry and desolate for you, consider Hilo. Located on the windward side of the island of Hawaii, Hilo’s climate is classified as “tropical rainforest,” so you might imagine how much rain the area receives.

Officially, Hilo’s annual rainfall is over 126 inches per year, making it the third wettest area of the United States (the first two areas are in Alaska), and one of the wettest areas in the world.

While all that rain may take some getting used to, it provides lush scenery to this side of the island, including numerous rainforests and cascading waterfalls.

While Big Island real estate in general took a hit during the recession, it seems to be rebounding nicely, especially in Hilo. One forecaster reports that, in 2012, Hilo will be the third worst housing market in the country. Statistics so far, prove that forecaster wrong.

From 2010 to 2011, Hilo home values increased almost 5 percent. While that’s not huge, it does show some positive movement in the Hilo real estate market. 

Furthermore, while Hilo’s condo market isn’t large, condo values have increased from $90,000 to $145,000. Single-family homes have increased in median sales price from $439,000 to $460,000.

What this means for anyone hoping to buy Hilo real estate is to move now before prices increase further. If you’ve been waiting for the market to recover to put your Hilo home up for sale, now is the ideal time to do so.

Taking a quick look at the current real estate market in Hilo shows that prices range from $145,000 for a 2 bedroom 2 bath home to $990,000 for an over 3,000 square-foot home on almost 28 acres.

Many Big Island newcomers arrive with dreams of building their new home from the ground up. If you’re among them, there is lots of land on the market. The top list price for vacant land in Hilo is $3.6 million. This will buy you a 12-acre development parcel. You can also pick up an ocean-view residential lot for $255,000. If you plan on buying vacant land in Hilo, plan on spending from $125,000 to $635,000.

Keep in mind while house or land hunting that property in Hilo priced in the lower ranges moves faster than higher-priced homes. Higher priced real estate may sit on the Hilo market for a year or longer.

You’ll find a lot of diversity when it comes to Hilo neighborhoods. This is why it’s important to decide what you’re looking for in a new neighborhood before heading out to look at houses.

Neighborhoods within close proximity to shopping and medical facilities are popular with retirees. If you value good schools, shop in your chosen school’s district.

If you long to get away from it all choose from among the neighborhoods above town where it’s quieter and more rural, yet still close to the conveniences offered in town.

Whichever Hilo neighborhood you choose to settle in – or if you need help finding a suitable neighborhood – give me a call. I’m happy to answer any questions you have.