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Hawaii Island Market Report Q4 2021

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Big Island Market

Hawaii Island Commercial Real Estate Sectors Hit by Pandemic

As we near the start of the third year of the global COVID-19 pandemic, it appears that each new coronavirus variant placed a crimp in our return to normalcy. The Delta and Omicron variants pushed back our return to the office workplace, curtailed our dining-out habits, and postponed vacations for many. Immunization passports, masks, temperature checks, and hand sanitation became accepted norms for nearly every activity outside our homes. 

Hawaii Island’s economic vulnerability to shifts in travel behavior resulted in immediate declines to hotel, airline, and travel service sales with the drop in visitor arrival counts and a reduction in tourism expenditures. Despite having achieved a record-high in 2019, air passenger arrivals in 2020 fell 72.3% to its lowest level in more than thirty years.  

While 2021 visitor counts enjoyed a rebound, the total visitor arrival count remains 33.4% below pre-pandemic 2019 levels. Occupancy levels of Hawaii Island’s hotels, which dipped to 26.3% for December 2020, recovered strongly with a 73.5% occupancy rate for December 2021. While this upward trajectory in hotel occupancy provides optimism that Hawaii’s tourism is poised to recover, there remains concern about whether future coronavirus variants would impede the pace.

The combination of fewer jobless claims coupled with the addition of 300 new non-agricultural wage and salary jobs contributed to the steady improvement to Hawaii Island’s unemployment rate. As a result, the unemployment rate fell from a record high of 23.3% for April 2020 to 4.9% for December 2021. The island’s retail sector was the hardest hit and lost 1,600 jobs during the past year, whereas the accommodations jobs category gained 2,200 positions since December 2020.

Big Island Market

Hawaii Island Market Report Q4 2021

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Related Experts

Mike Hamasu

Research & Consulting Director

Hawaii - Honolulu

Michael brings to Colliers over 25 years of marketing and marketing research experience. Michael has directed research efforts at commercial brokerages with a focus on providing information to assist in strategic decision making for real estate investors and brokerage clientele. This effort reported on nearly 600 million square feet of commercial/industrial properties in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Having been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Real Estate Forum and Commercial Property News as well as other regional publications, Michael has been recognized for his detailed analysis of the commercial real estate marketplace and has  become the recognized source for commercial real estate trend analysis and forecasts for Hawaii’s marketplace.

In addition to managing the primary and secondary research efforts in the collection of commercial office, retail and industrial market information and statistics, Michael established the company’s real estate consulting division. Utilizing market factors such as: vacancy rates, absorption, net effective rents, and sales comparables, this consulting unit is able to advise developers, investors, property owners, and tenants on current and projected market trends.

Whitney Cressman Limited — Commercial Real Estate Marketing Research Director
Directed brokerage, internal research efforts, and generated real estate consulting assignments at a busy boutique firm in San Francisco Bay area. Served as the principal liaison to press and media. Analyzed office, retail, and development site criteria for market demand and feasibility.

Cushman & Wakefield — Commercial Real Estate Research Services Manager
Oversaw the compilation of market analytics for 600 million square foot commercial and industrial markets throughout the San Francisco Bay area. Recognized nationally and regionally for innovative data management and analysis. Selected to serve on a national career development board for research services. Directed research staff of 12 in five Bay area markets.
Identified by brokers as a manager achieving service excellence.

• Development Feasibility Analysis
• Market Demand and Absorption Report
• Broker Opinion of Market Pricing
• Highest and Best Use Studies
• Real Estate Portfolio Analysis
• Strategic Positioning Study
• Market Rent and Vacancy Forecasts

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Debbie Parmley

Vice President | Hawaii

Hawaii - Big Island

I am the “boots on the ground” for Colliers International on the Big Island of Hawaii.  Working for the Master Developer of Waikoloa Beach Resort for 21 years has given me the understanding and commitment to make sure both Landlord’s and Tenant’s have a partnership for success relationship.  My current role as Vice President-Leasing Services for the Island of Hawaii, has me in Hilo, Waimea, Kona and the Kohala Coast and Waikoloa Village.  Whether I am working to make sure tenant mix of a center is the best it could be or making sure a tenant is choosing the best location for their business, we make retail magic happen. The optimum goal is for both landlords and tenants to maximize profits and success for both.  Marrying the two needs is an art that we strive to perfect deal after deal.  All of our partnerships are created with Aloha and attention to each party’s special interests.

My career has allowed me the absolute pleasure to participate in many exciting projects.  Prior to joining Colliers, I was a member of the development and management team for Queens’ MarketPlace (a 135,000 square foot first class destination shopping center on Hawaii’s Big Island which includes an adjoining 4,000 person outdoor amphi- theatre); Kings’ Shops (a 70,000 square foot retail shopping center); The Shops at Mauna Lani (a 75,000 square foot retail shopping center); and served in a leadership role for the Big Island Portfolio of Colliers Monroe Friedlander, overseeing and executing both management and leasing activity. My passion in commercial real estate was created in Waikoloa Beach Resort commercial real estate property management and continues today  in leasing and investment sales.  The depth of my resort retail expertise is a unique and valuable tool when working with landlords and tenants  within resort areas on the Big  Island.

The team we are a part of here on The Big Island is a true asset for property owners who want to lease their spaces and have a true professional  property management team.  Also, those who are looking to sell their property or buy new properties on the Big Island can count on the Colliers Big Island Team to make deals happen. Our attention to detail can yield potential buyers/sellers for the greatest possible returns.


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