People moving to Hawaii to escape the virus

As Hawaii holds tight to its reputation as a relatively safe place to ride out the COVID-19 pandemic, people with the ability to work remotely are leaving behind virus hotspots and transporting their lives to the Hawaiian islands.

Some of these newcomers are expediting future plans to relocate to the islands, while others are hatching the idea of Hawaii residency, and quickly seizing it, for the first time.

A portion are buying homes without even seeing the house first.

“We’re getting calls from people who say, ‘I’ve never been to Hawaii, but it checks all of my boxes and I’m interested,’” said Beth Thoma Robinson, a Hawaii Life real estate broker on the Big Island.

Although the pandemic initially brought a decrease in new residents moving to the islands, a burst of newcomers started materializing in midsummer.

From Aug. 1 to Nov. 15, the daily number of intended new residents increased 20% to an average of more than 180 people compared to an average of about 150 people in 2019, according to voluntary survey data collected by the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

By Kristofel Abella
Ka Lā News staff writer

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