Not very. You would have to pay for the acres bishop owns at a good price but still it would be based on some percent of the land value. This happens if say somebody else tries to buy the land off bishop you as a tenant have the right to refusal - that means you get a chance to buy it first at what will probably be a pretty good price but may cost as much as the leasehold did (house and improvements). You could also ask bishop I'd be interested to know if they were willing to sell to you if you ask directly.... more
The advice given here is good, but I would place more weight on that given by the pros that live and work in Hawai'i. Mike and Erik are both well versed. The leasehold lands are a great deal for the right buyer. The lessor is typically a board of trustees responsible for carrying on the wishes of the original estate (roughly). In the case of farm lands, the right buyer is someone looking to engage a farming way of life. The rules imposed by the lessor are not that difficult to follow. They are not going to kick a family off land if they are following the rules set forth by the trustees. Often, if there is a problem of compliance, the lessee will be given guidance by an associate and goals to meet at 2,3, and 5 years. Very reasonable in my opinion.
I am currently looking at taking over a coffee farm in south Kona that has a very short term left on it's lease. Initially I was concerned, but with 2 years of research, I am now much more confident to move forward.
Those looking at property in Hawaii have to decide what is right for them. There are advantages on both sides of the tenure argument. Talk to the pros like Mike and Erik, and people that are living on both property types and follow your gut.