Buying Houses on Active Volcanos

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Satellite photo Big Island, Hawaii lava flow

Living the dream?

My friend wrote me and told me the good news… he’d just bought a house on Big Island, Hawaii!

Was I happy for him? I’m not sure.

I checked the Google Earth satellite shot and it was just as I suspected… he’s right on the edge of the lava flow. Now, probably every house on Big Island is right on the edge of some lava flow… not to mention sitting on top of a couple trillion pounds of lava underneath the surface.

He wants to rent out the one unit on the property and live in the other one. Do people want to rent out for vacation a house sitting on an active volcano? Apparently so.

Is this rational behavior? He’s from Sweden originally, so we have to take that into account… but, even regular people are buying property on the top of this active volcano.

Would you ever buy a home or property on Big Island, Hawaii?

Are you in the least fearful that the volcano could blow up without anyone having any clue – and drown you in molten lava?


About the Author:

Moving to Hawaii was one of the most amazing moves ever. I strongly encourage you to consider it if you're in the financial position to make it work. Living in Hawaii has a fair bit of both positive and negative experiences awaiting each of us who give it a try. Read some of the articles here and try to get a feel for whether you might thrive in the islands. I wrote an entire book on the subject and it's usually less than $5. It's up there on the right side column. Best of luck and life to you! Aloha! - Vern L.


  1. Albert | UrbanMonk.Net 02/03/2010 at 4:36 am - Reply

    Vern! How are you my friend? What are the chances of the volcano going off? If it isn’t that high then maybe thats part of the attraction – doing dangerous stuff makes some people feel alive I guess.

  2. Christian 02/01/2010 at 4:44 am - Reply

    Well, with almost 1 million visitors every year, its seems as if people are more fascinated with an active volcano that with fear of being killed by it. And they have to stay somewhere, hence a thriving B&B and vacation rental industry up there, since there are no hotels. Besides, there is actually a volcano/lave insurance for home owners… Now my friend Vern, who wrote this, comes from Florida. I heard that on occasion, hurricanes demolish Florida. Yet, every year, the people rebuild and continue living there. So I guess Floridians and Hawaiians are either as ignorant about the dangers, or equally stubborn in nature…

    • Vern 02/01/2010 at 8:08 am - Reply

      Why do you think I left Florida and Hawaii for Thailand? lol… Here we don’t have hurricanes, many earthquakes… but, 2 days after I left Phuket we had the TSUNAMI! But come on Christian – buying land and a house on a volcano? You own everything under the ground – yes? Littoral rights I think it’s called – my real estate career was brief, but I think I remember that word for some reason. You own the rights to the liquid magma that flows beneath your house… that’s just weird! lol… Anyway, when do you expect to have your bed and breakfast ready so people can go spend time on Big Island?

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