Hawaii volcano destroys at least 26 homes

"You’d have to be a real risk taker to purchase anything," Realtor says

Lava from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano (credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Lava from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

At least 26 homes in a Hawaii subdivision were destroyed by lava flow following a series of earthquakes that caused the island’s most-active volcano to erupt.

Leilani Estates, an area with 700 homes and 1,800 residents, was under mandatory evacuation earlier this week during the eruption of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano, Inman reported.

Bill Pareci, a Realtor with Elite Pacific Properties, said he had a high-end listing in the neighborhood asking $560,000.

“I don’t know if that house is still standing,” he said. “Everything for sale in Leilani might be on the market, but I can’t imagine anything selling. You’d have to be a real risk taker to purchase anything.”

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In a twist of irony, Leilani Estates had actually been developed for families who lost their homes in another community during a previous eruption in the 1980s.

The Hawaii Island Realtors association kept busy giving advice on the insurance moratorium that put a temporary stop on writing new policies and raising limits, as well as helping agents and clients with housing and storage needs.

Realtors are concerned about the future of Leilani Estates, where homes sell for around $250,000.

“We have amazing Realtors with a fantastic work ethic and community spirit,” said Kehaulani Costa, executive director of the Hawaii Island Realtors. “We have agents evacuating themselves who are (at the same time) helping their clients who have bought recently.”

An owner last year listed a 15-acre compound for $70 million, which was Hawaii’s most expensive listing. [Inman] – Rich Bockmann