Tuesday, 25 November 2008

For sale

A little while ago I wrote about the houses for sale in my neighbourhood; there are some fantastic looking houses with great views of the Pacific ocean especially at this time of year when we get some surf and the whales are returning from the Arctic. For some perspective, however, and for those not on a dial up, click on the image above to see all the "For Sale" signs. I was standing just to the left of the house with the blue roof in the picture below, about 20-yards from the surf crashing against the cliffs.

I didn't count the signs but several houses are up for sale. I don't know if they were bought by people who now need to sell them or were built by contractors during the housing bubble and cannot sell them in the current financial climate. What I can tell you is that most of these houses did not exist five years ago.

There are some stunningly beautiful places to live here such as this house right on the cliffs, a few hundred yards down the road from the first picture:

This photo is from Remax, the house looks like a perfect vacation getaway or somewhere for a retired couple to enjoy a work-free life together. It's a secluded spot with a great view of the Pacific (and I can confirm it's secluded, it's impossible to get a decent photo without trespassing, so I haven't got one). All you need is $625,000 and, in my opinion, a disregard of the tsunami threat.

I'm going to try and follow this one. I wish I knew what it was originally being sold for.

Then you get a little closer to home. Two or three years ago a family, or at least a group of people, started to build a house not too far away from my own. I don't know when they bought the land, but three years ago the land itself would have cost about $100,000. Ten years ago it would have been $15,000.

I passed them every day on the way to work. We'd wave but I never actually spoke to them - they didn't seem particularly interested in any social contact. I'd often pass what I assume was the mother or grandmother driving to the plot in the morning in a very expensive car. I'd wave to her but she'd never wave back and that's so unusual here, everyone acknowledges each other in this neighbourhood - even if you've never seen them before. It's part of what makes this such a wonderful and friendly place.

Today, their place looks like this.

The old lady no longer arrives in her luxury car every day, in fact I haven't seen her for months. I don't see the family out for walks with the dog anymore. I do, however, know someone is still living in a trailer there because I can hear them most evenings and see the lights turn on when it gets dark.

I suspect there's a very sad story behind this.


Zuzana said...

Oh Tom, this is very sad indeed. Life can be so cruel sometimes and our faith can change in a turn of a moment. Sometimes this makes us reflect back on what we have and makes us grateful, just in time for the Thanksgiving holidays.
With that said, the picture of the ocean crushing against the black cliffs is breathtaking.

Tom said...

Just the other day I discovered that the place I've gone fishing on the cliffs with my local friends, and a fantastic whale watching spot as well, has been blocked off and has a big "No Trespassing" sign. I don't know when it happened, but at least some people are still buying property here. I guess progress has its good and bad sides, but I was devastated to find I now no longer have access to one of my favourite spots on the island.

It's partly the reason I just posted a song by Iz about how the islands have changed in the last few decades.

Lou Minatti said...

For some perspective, however, and for those not on a dial up, click on the image above to see all the "For Sale" signs.

Holy crap! I suspect that Hawaii houses are a lot like Houston houses, insofar as without regular maintenance they fall apart quickly. Warm, humid places with lot of rainfall tend to be very destructive to houses that are not rigorously maintained.

Think of the billions (trillions?) wasted in the US and around the world on this stupid mania. Wasted capital.