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Taking the Pulse of the West Maui Vacation Rental Condo Market

We recently posted on a surge in activity in the South Maui Vacation Rental Market. Wailea and Kihei both saw a big increase in condo sales for the year to date. West Maui is home to the other big concentration of vacation rental condos on island. The West side has not been the best side for sales this year. Condo activity is off compared to 2016. This post takes a look at sales activity in the different areas of West Maui, looks at a few condos that have seen stronger activity and takes a look at a couple of factors that could be driving the slower sales on this side of the island.

As of June 7th, there have been 145 vacation rental condos sold in West Maui this year. As of the same time last year, there were 176 vacation rental condos that sold in West Maui. That is an 18% reduction in sales volume. I broke down the sales by price ranges to try to see if the decrease in activity occurred across the board. Condo sales $500,000 and under were down 22%. There were 57 sales this year as compared to 73 last year in this price range. The middle part of the market between $500,001 and $1,000,000 performed the strongest of any market segment with a modest increase of 4.6% over last year. There were 67 sales compared to 64 over the same period of 2016. The high end of the West Maui vacation rental market saw the steepest decline in activity of any market segment. Sales were down 51% for vacation rental condos priced from $1,000,001 on up. There were 23 sales compared to 45 sales over the same period of 2016.

Lahaina Condos
The Lahaina condo market was the one area of West Maui that saw an increase in activity compared to last year. Lahaina has a small number of vacation rental condo complexes with four total properties. Those four complexes saw activity increase by 35% for the year as of June 7, 2017. It was a good five plus months of sales in Lahaina, but one condo stood out above the others.

Aina Nalu
Aina Nalu is located one block off of Front Street in historic Lahaina Town. There are 190 units at the complex spread over 11 buildings on 18 acres. There are studio, one bedroom and two bedroom floor plans. Prices range from the $300,000s for one bedrooms to the low $400,000s for two bedrooms. Owners value the grounds, the two nice pools, the tropical design elements and the location. If you were so inclined, this is a place where you could stay without driving your car with Front Street so close by. The property had 5 sales through just over five months of 2016. As of June 7th, there were 12 sales in Aina Nalu. That is an impressive 240% increase in sales activity.

Ka’anapali Condos
As you head North from Lahaina, the Ka’anapali condo market has seen a dip in condo sales activity for the first five months of the year compared to the same period of 2016. Sales slipped from 63 sales to start 2016 to 42 sales as of June 7, 2017. That is a 33% decrease in activity. The decrease in sales was almost across the board with only Ka’anapali Royal registering more sales this year than last year with 4 sales compared to 2. While I typically focus on the condos that stand out among the crowd for higher sales activity, I wanted to take a look at the condo complex that saw the biggest dip in activity.

Honua Kai
Honua Kai is the last fee simple whole ownership condo to be built in the Ka’anapali Area. It has 711 units spread over two seven story towers on 40 acres. The Hoku Lani tower was completed in 2009 and the Konea tower was completed in 2010. Honua Kai has extensive amenities including three separate pools and an onsite restaurant, grocery store and spa. It has studio, one bedroom, two bedroom and three bedroom condominiums. Prices range from the high 600s for a select few mountain view one bedrooms up to over $5,000,000 for the best located three bedroom units. People who own at Honua Kai appreciate the significant amenities, the beachfront location, the newness of the location and the rental demand.

Honua Kai has had a big impact on the West Maui Condo market since 2005 when they started taking the first round of pre-construction reservations. Those reservations generated a significant number of sales during the doldrums of the post crash real estate market. This goosed the condo sales numbers when overall demand was low. I dubbed this distortion of the statistics The Honua Kai Effect.

Ocean Views from the Lanai of Konea 402

June of 2016 was the last new developer sale at Honua Kai. There were 15 new developer sales between January 1, 2016 and June 7, 2016. That gives some context before I provide this year’s sales numbers. There were 14 Honua Kai Sales for the year as of June 7th. Last year, there were 32 over that same period of time. That is a 54% drop in sales volume. The new developer sales account for most, but not all of the difference between this year and last year’s sales volume.

The Kitchen at Konea 402 at Honua Kai

The deluxe kitchen area of one of the three bedroom units in the Konea Building of Honua Kai.

Honua Kai remains a popular choice for West Maui condo buyers. While we saw a big dip in activity, it still saw more sales than any other West Maui condo.

Napili, Kahana, Honokowai
The three communities located between Ka’anapali and Kapalua offer the greatest concentration of oceanfront condos in West Maui. It was another area that has seen a decrease in activity in 2017. There were 57 sales in this area five months and a week in to 2017. That is down 22% from the 73 sales through the same period of 2016. The bulk of the condo complexes in this area saw a decrease in activity with a few exceptions.

Papakea
Papakea is an oceanfront complex in the Honokowai area. It has 364 condos spread over 11 buildings on just over 12 acres. There are studio, one bedroom and two bedroom floor plans. This complex is predominantly fee simple, but there are some leasehold units. Papakea has a pretty broad range of prices. Leasehold one bedrooms start right around $200,000. The most expensive units are direct oceanfront two bedroom units. They sell for as much as $1,000,000. Owners like the oceanfront location, amenities and relaxed feel. Papakea had a pretty good start to 2016 with 10 sales in just over five months. This year was 40% better with 14 sales in the same period of time.

Papeakea Oceanfront Views

A couple of palm trees frame the ocean views of a direct oceanfront unit at Papakea.

Kapalua
While most of West Maui was either markedly stronger or weaker this year compared to last year, Kapalua has been pretty steady with the same number of sales this year as last year. There were 14 vacation rental condos sold this year as of June 7th, compared to 14 over the same period last year. While the overall numbers were the same, there were some shifts in activity among the five complexes that allow vacation rentals. I wanted to highlight the one condo that saw the biggest increase in activity and the highest number of sales overall.

Kapalua Golf Villas
Kapalua Golf Villas is situated along the beautiful Kapalua Bay Course. There are 186 units spread over 16 buildings on 15.8 acres. Amenities include three pools. The property went through extensive renovations in 2014. Prices range from the high $500,000s for one bedrooms lower on the golf course to just under a million for fully upgraded two bedrooms with good ocean views. Views, finishing and floor plans are the primary drivers on price. Kapalua Golf Villas offer the lowest priced entry point into the Kapalua Real Estate market. Owners appreciate the location on the Bay course, the views and the proximity to Kapalua Beaches and to other resort amenities.

Kapalua Golf Villas has been the busiest of the Kapalua condos in 2017. There have been 7 units sold as June 7th. There were 4 sold over the same period last year. That is a 75% increase in sales activity.

What’s Driving the West Maui Market
South Maui vacation rental condos have been booming this year while West Maui has been slower. They are two seemingly similar markets. What is driving the difference in market behavior? I was able to give some pretty good reasons as to why I think the South Maui market has surged to start the year. Determining what might be holding things back in West Maui is a little more challenging. The one clear cut cause was already discussed. Honua Kai is seeing less activity now that it is just resales and there are no more new developer listings.

Are there any other factors keeping down West Maui sales numbers? The state of Kahana Bay may be impacting sales. This section of West Maui coastline has significant erosion issues. Hololani has been struggling with erosion issues for a number of years. Those issues expanded down the coast last year. Royal Kahana and Valley Isle Resort had to put up emergency sandbags during the winter of 2016 to halt a rapid loss of shoreline. There are now nine condo associations that are a part of efforts to develop a shoreline replenishment plan. With the cost of beach replenishment expected to approach ten million dollars, the individual owners in those nine complexes are facing a big assessment to pay for the project. While the numbers of condos sold in the nine complexes this year is pretty similar to what we saw last year, the uncertainty over this coastline and the potential future costs may be limiting the potential for growth in this market.

The one other factor that could be at play is plain old variability. We see that in the market from time to time. Some years West Maui has stronger years for sales activity and some years it is South Maui that has a big year. The underlying reasons aren’t so clear cut. This may be just one of those years for West Maui. When you add in the other factors previously mentioned, those three things in and of itself could account for the 18% drop we have seen. If you are a close follower of the West Maui market and you have any other theories, we would welcome your input in the comments below.

The good news for potential buyers is that there is still a lot of inventory in this market. This is particularly the case with condos priced from $500,000 and up. You can search through the current inventory of Kapalua Condos for Sale and Ka’anapali Condos for sale on MauiRealEstate.com. You can also search the MLS for condos listed in Lahaina, Napili, Kahana and Honokowai. Contact The Maui Real Estate Team if you want to talk to a real estate agent about West Maui Vacation Rental Condos. We would welcome the chance to learn more about what you are looking for and to assist you in your search for a condo that will fit your needs.

Better than Beachfront?

Is 101C Kuau Beach Place better than a beachfront home?

You be the judge.

Aerial view of 101 Kuau Beach Place with Tavares Bay in the Background

Similar to a beachfront property:
101C Kuau Beach Place has a beautiful unobstructed view.
101C Kuau Beach Place has easy beach access.
101C Kuau Beach Place is on over 1/2 acre of land.

Better than a beachfront property:
101C Kuau Beach Place has privacy!
101C Kuau Beach Place has multiple producing fruit trees.
101C Kuau Beach Place has less wear and tear from wind and salt.
101C Kuau Beach Place has no erosion.

You might also like the solar PV system that reduces the electric bills; the open living area and the short walk to Paia…

101 Kuau Beach Place C has a large and open living and dining space. A wall of sliding glass doors offers lot o light and beautiful ocean views

But best of all…it is half the price (or less) of comparable beachfront homes!
Now offered at a better price of $2,200,000

Better than beachfront? Come take a look and you be the judge…Contact The Maui Real Estate Team to arrange a showing. Check out the 101C Kuau Beach Place listing page for additional photos and details. If you are off island, take a 3d tour of the house for the next best thing to being at the property.

Kihei Villages 12-103

We are excited to add a quality, new listing to the limited inventory of the entry level condo market. Kihei Villages 12-103 is a ground floor, two bedroom, one and a half bath condominium. The unit has been extensively renovated. The kitchen upgrades really stand out with floor to ceiling custom cabinets, tile floors, custom tile back splash and even a pot filler. The floors in the bedrooms, living room and hallway are a high quality laminate. There is a spacious yard with a lime tree, room to barbecue, room for pets, space for a bigger garden and more.

Kihei Villages 12-103 living room and kitchen

The living room and kitchen of Kihei Villages 12-103.

Kihei Villages 12-103 kitchen

The kitchen has been upgraded with floor to ceiling custom cabinets, tile floors, a custom tile back splash and a pot filler.

Kihei Villages 12-103

The master bedroom of Kihei Villages 12-103.

Kihei Villages 12-103 yard

The spacious yard of 12-103 has a fruit tree and plenty of room for pets, gardening or a small storage shed.

Kihei Villages is walking distance to sugar beach

Sugar Beach is located just a few minutes walk from Kihei Villages.

Kihei Villages is a large complex in North Kihei with 60 buildings over 24 acres. As mentioned above, the complex is pet friendly! You can have two pets including bigger dogs. Kihei Villages is located within walking distance of Sugar Beach, arguably the island’s best beach walk. South Maui’s other really good beaches are located within ten minutes drive. The North Kihei location offers a convenient commute to anywhere in South Maui or Central Maui.

This condo is offered for $310,000. Check out the Kihei Villages 12-103 listing page for more details and photos. Contact The Maui Real Estate Team to arrange a showing or to discuss the property with an agent. If you don’t have time for a showing, check out the 3D tour for next best thing to being there in person.


Wailea and Kihei Vacation Rental Condo Sales Surge

The Maui Real Estate market has seen a healthy bump in condo sales during 2017. Sales volume for the first five months of the year are about 10% higher than the same period of 2016. Much of that growth can be attributed to the vacation rental condo market in Kihei and Wailea. After a couple of relatively slow years, this year has seen a resurgence of buyers interested in South Maui. I wanted to take a look at the numbers specific to Wailea and Kihei, the condos that are seen the biggest increase in demand, and provide a few thoughts on what might be driving the increase in activity.

Wailea and Kihei saw a 56% increase in vacation rental condo sales between January 1st and May 22nd, 2017 compared to the same period in 2016. There were 173 units sold this year vs 111 sold last year. That increase in activity occurred across all price ranges. Condos priced $500,000 and under saw the most activity with 78 transactions. There were 65 closes during the same period of 2015. The 20% increase in sales compared to 2016 was actually the lowest percentage increase in activity for any price range. The price range from $501,000 to $1,000,000 saw a larger increase in activity with 63 sales compared to 33 sales. That calculates to a 91% increase in sales activity. While the $1,000,001+ price range experienced the biggest percentage increase in activity compared to last year with 38 units sold compared to 13. That is a whopping 292% increase in sales activity.

Wailea Condo Sales
Which condo complexes saw the biggest gains? In Wailea, the increases were across the board. Every single condo complex in Wailea that allows vacation rentals has seen more sales in the year to date than they did over the same period of time last year. That said, there were a few condos that stood out over the others.

Wailea Elua
Wailea Elua is a low density complex with 25 two story buildings located on 24 beachfront acres. Prices in the complex range from roughly $1,000,000 for one bedroom units up to over $3,500,000 for front row, beachfront two bedrooms. The property is valued by owners for its low density, location and beautiful Elua Beach. To say that the start of 2016 was not busy for Wailea Elua would be an understatement. There were no closes by this point of the year. As of the 22ndd of this month, there have been 6 closes.

Wailea Elua Aerial Photo

An aerial view of Wailea Elua and Elua Beach.

Wailea Ekahi
Wailea Ekahi is the biggest beachfront complex in Wailea. There are 296 units spread over 54 buildings on 35 acres. It has studio units through two bedrooms in a variety of floor plans. Prices range from the $600,000s for studios all the way up to just under $2,000,000 for two bedrooms close to the beach. Owners like the location, the green belt that goes through the middle of the property, the beachfront pool area and Keawakapu Beach. Ekahi saw decent market activity in 2016 with 5 sales in just under 5 months. There has been double that amount of activity with 10 sales reported this year as of May 22nd.

Wailea Ekahi Pool

The popular beachfront pool at Wailea Ekahi.

Wailea Beach Villas
Wailea Beach Villas is home to the highest priced vacation rentable condos in Wailea. The property has 9 buildings on just over 10 acres. Wailea Beach Villas has larger 2 and 3 bedroom floor plans with some units having as much as 2,900 square feet of living space. Prices range from the low $2,000,000s to over $9,000,000. Owners like the bigger floor plans, amenities, newer construction and central location within Wailea. It is situated right behind the shops of Wailea and next to the Grand Wailea. It only had one sale during the first 5 months of 2016. There have been 4 sales to date this year.

Wailea Beach Villas Pool

One of the pools at Wailea Beach Villas.

Kihei Condo Sales
The Kihei condo market has a far greater number of condos than Wailea. Needless to say, with a bigger pool of condos not every condo complex saw an increase in sales compared to last year. That said, the overall market was much stronger and there were a number of condos that saw big increases in sales activity. Some of the biggest and most popular vacation rental condos in South Kihei experienced the biggest increases in volumes.

Kamaole Sands
When I first started in real estate, I met with a vacation rental manager to discuss popular Kihei vacation rentals. Kamaole Sands was the first condo he mentioned. Kamaole Sands has 440 units spread over 10 buildings on 15 acres. It has one, two and a handful of three bedroom floor plans. Prices range from the mid $300,000s up to the $700,000s. Condos located on the “inner circle” green space and condos closer to the ocean sell at a higher premium. Owners appreciate the large green space running through the center of the complex that features a pool, fountains and tropical landscaping. It is located across the street from Kamaole Beach Park III. It is a big complex and it typically has higher occupancy. Over the last few years, there has been an abundance of inventory and relatively few buyers. In 2016, there were just 5 units sold through the first 5 months of the year. This year, there was a clear market shift. Sales increased over 300%, with 16 closes for the year as of May 22, 2017.

Kamaole Sands Aerial

An Aerial shot of Kamaole Sands shows the central green belt, pool area and Kamaole Beach Park III across the street.

Maui Banyan
If Kamaole Sands was first on the list of condos mentioned when I talked to the vacation rental manager, Maui Banyan was mentioned shortly thereafter. There are 256 units spread over 8 buildings on 8.6 acres. There are one and two bedroom floor plans. The popular two bedrooms have a lock off that allow the units to be rented as a studio and one bedroom. Prices range from the $low $400,000s up to the high $600,000s. View and high quality remodels tend to distinguish the higher priced properties. The lock off option, two nice pools, the location across from Kamaole II Beach Park and proximity to shops and restaurants are typically some of the first things that owners mention about the property. In the first five months of 2016, there were only 3 sales. As of the 22nd of May, there have been 11 sales reported for the year to date. That is an impressive 366% increase in activity.

Maui Banyan Building

One of the buildings at Maui Banyan

Maui Vista
Maui Vista offers one of the lower entry points into the South Kihei vacation rental condo market. The complex has 280 units spread over three buildings on 8.82 acres. Each building has its own pool and set of tennis courts. There are both one and two bedroom floor plans. Prices range from the high $200,000s for fixer units up to the mid to upper $400,000s for two bedrooms. Maui Vista offers good amenities and close proximity to shops and restaurants. It is a block from Charley Young Beach Park. Maui Vista has seen a little more activity over the last couple of years compared to places like Maui Banyan and Kamaole Sands. It had 7 sales through the first five months of 2016. That said, it was another place that experienced a healthy jump in activity. As of May 22nd, there have been 16 sales reported this year.

Maui Vista Buildings

One of the three buildings at Maui Vista

Why the surge this year?
While the overall Maui real estate market experienced fairly strong years in 2015 and 2016, the vacation rental condo markets in Wailea and Kihei were not seeing the same strong levels of activity. Inventories were high and sales volumes were low. A significant factor in the slower sales over the last couple of years was a lack of demand from Canada. The period between 2007 and 2013 was an era of stronger Canadian Currency. With the Looney at or near par with the U.S. dollar, Canadians were flocking to South Maui. They remained pretty consistent buyers through the recession. The slip in oil prices in 2014 pushed down the Canadian dollar and a significant pool of buyers shrank considerably.

While that explains why sales have been lower the previous couple of years, I don’t think that speaks to why we are seeing the increase this year. The Canadian dollar is still well below par with the U.S. dollar. We have seen some Canadian buyers start to come back, but it isn’t enough to juice the market to the extent that we have with this year’s sales increases. I did my best to look at the geographic composition of buyers this year in some of the Kihei and Wailea complexes over the last five years. I say that I did my best in that more recent sales within the last month may not show the geographic origin of the buyer yet. With some of the older sales, the condos may have already resold preventing me from seeing where the previous owner resided full time. In Kamaole Sands, just 1 out of the 16 buyers this year is Canadian. By comparison, in 2013, 3 out of 10 were Canadian and 2 out of 4 units sold in 2012 were Canadian buyers. Maui Vista had a few more Canadian buyers this year with 3 out of the 16 sold. That is still well below the 4 out of 7 and 4 out of 10 Canadian buyers we saw at Maui Vista in 2012 and 2013 respectively. The one place where we did see a little more Canadian activity this year was among the higher priced Wailea condos. At Wailea Elua 2 out of 6 buyers were Canadian, and 1 out of 4 buyers were Canadian at both Polo Beach and Wailea Beach Villas.

If the Canadians played only a small part in the resurgence, what were the other factors at play that drove the sales increase? I can’t say definitively, but I would suggest there were a few factors at play. The strength of our feeder markets play a part. Real estate markets in the Western United States remain strong. Buyers coming from strong real estate markets may be empowered both psychologically and financially to purchase a second home on Maui. The stock market continues to achieve near record highs. Strong stock returns may enable buyers to make a discretionary second home purchase. The last factor is pure speculation on my part, but I wonder if the growing strength of the Airbnb brand might also play a role. With Airbnb doing more and more advertising, maybe just maybe that is planting the bug in some people’s ear to consider a vacation rental condo purchase. The last factor that enabled the upsurge is more tangible. We had supply to sell. Home sales volumes are down this year on island, but not due to a lack of demand. There just isn’t enough inventory for buyers particularly in the price ranges below $1,000,000. There was plenty of inventory in the condo market after the previous two to three slow years. In Kihei, there are also some pretty good values. Places like Kamaole Sands are still selling for prices a fair amount below the last market peak.

While the market has absorbed some of the inventory during the first five months of the year, there is still a good selection of condos available to sustain healthy activity in the South Maui condo market. I would suspect that we will continue to see stronger sales this year unless something in the overall economic picture cuts back demand. Contact the Maui Real Estate Team if you are considering a vacation rental condo purchase on Maui. We would welcome the chance to talk to you about some of the options on the market that might fit your needs. You can also search MauiRealEstate.com for the full inventory of Kihei Condos for Sale and Wailea Condos for Sale.

By » 5/31/2017 » in

Ma’alaea Mermaid 401

Yes, it is possible to own a condo in an oceanfront complex on Maui for $250,000. Ma’alaea Mermaid 401 is a spacious 700 square foot, one bedroom, one bathroom condo. There is a modest view of Ma’alaea Harbor from the lanai. As an end unit, it has an extra window in the kitchen and bedroom offering light and air flow. The condo has an original kitchen and bathroom that have been well maintained. It is move in ready, but a new owner could choose to update the unit to their specifications.

Ma’alaea Mermaid is a 39 unit complex located in a single building. There is a convenience store on the ground floor. It also has a key pad entry to the front door for security. A photovoltaic system (solar power) helps to keep common area utility costs lower.

The living room of Ma'alaea Mermaid 401

the view from the lanai of Ma'alaea Mermaid 401

the kitchen at Ma'alaea Mermaid 401

The condo is walking distance to shops, restaurants and the Maui Ocean Center Aquarium. If you enjoy ocean activities, the harbor is a primary departure point for snorkeling, scuba, whale watching and sunset cruises. Ma’alaea Freight Trains, one of the fastest breaking waves in the world, is located just a short distance from the property. This challenging wave attracts some of the best surfers in the island on the rare occasions that it breaks at a bigger size. Grandmas and Ukumehame Beach Park offer some more user friendly waves just a ten minute drive around the Pali. If a swim or a beach walk is more your speed, Haycraft Beach Park is located within walking distance of the Mermiad. Haycraft offers beach walks all the way to Sugar Beach in Kihei.

Boats in Maalaea Harbor

the calm water of Maalaea Harbor with Haleakala looming in the distance

The location of Ma’alaea Mermaid couldn’t be much more central to Maui. Downtown Wailuku and Kahului are located within ten minutes of the condo. North Kihei is less than ten minutes away. If you work on the West Side, this is the closest condo to West Maui on this side of the island. Lahaina is a 25 minute drive in light traffic.

Ma’alaea Mermaid is listed for sale for $250,000. Check out the Ma’alaea Mermaid 401 listing page for more photos and details. Contact The Maui Real Estate Team to arrange a showing or to discuss the property with the listing agent.

By » 5/30/2017 » in

Three Takeaways from the Maui Real Estate Market During the First Quarter of 2017

It has been a while since I have done an island wide stats post. After over ten years, I was struggling with rehashing the same format on a monthly basis. I decided to take a different approach this month. Rather than barraging you with lots of numbers, I wanted to try to distill the numbers into a few key takeaways. I also am gong to try to do this on a quarterly basis. With our smaller market, I think there is some merit to looking at slightly longer time horizons to overcome some of the variability we get on a month to month basis. Hopefully, those two changes will make for a better and more informative read. Without further ado, Here are my three key takeaways from the first quarter of 2017 followed by a some thoughts on what we may expect over the next few months.

1. Scarcity was the biggest driver of the Maui Real Estate market for the first three months of 2017. This was particularly true in the home market under $1,000,000. The lack of inventory in this price range has resulted in a lot of bidding wars and upward pressure on pricing. It also meant a decrease in sales volume as there just aren’t as many homes to sell. Buyers are out looking, but they are having a tough time getting into places. This is reflected in the stats with median prices up 15% compared to the first three months of 2016 and sales volume down 5%. The March median home price of $769,000 was the highest that we have since 2006. Again, this really hammers home the scarcity of listings at lower price points.

Scarcity is not a Maui specific phenomenon. It is happening throughout the United States. I was listening to Jill Schlesinger of CBS on Here and Now. She talked about the factors constraining the housing stock nationally. She cited a Baby Boomer generation that has not been quick to sell their homes at retirement. There are quite a few members of that generation who are choosing to modify their homes so they can age in place. Schlesinger also said that a lot of homes were acquired by private equity companies during the last downturn. They have kept those properties as rentals rather than putting them back on the market. I am not sure that the same factors are in play on Maui. For one, private equity firms were not buying property in big numbers on island. I think the biggest constraint we are seeing on Maui is a lack of new construction. New construction is not even coming close to keeping pace with population growth. It takes a longer period of time for new developments to get off the ground on Maui and many times they will fizzle out in between market cycles. We are also seeing a lot of new development occurring at higher price points in the market and less development occurring at the entry points of the market where demand is highest.

2. Luxury Real Estate Sales Trend up and Shift South. Luxury home sales were up in the first quarter of the year. There were 16 sales over the first 3 months of 2017 compared to 11 over the first 3 months of 2016.

Over the last couple of years, luxury home sales have been stronger in West Maui compared to South Maui. Launiupoko has led the charge with Kapalua and Kaanapali following close behind. There were eight sales in West Maui over $2,000,000 during the first 3 months of 2016. There was a a solitary sale in South Maui during that period. This year, there were four sales in West Maui over $2,000,000, and there were eight sales in South Maui over $2,000,000. Makena market activity was particularly notable with four sales over $9,000,000. It is hard to account for the shift in sales volumes between the different part of the island. Sometimes it just depends on the comparative quality of the inventory. Makena may also be seeing a bump due to the development of the Makena Golf and Beach Club. While none of the four sales in Makena were part of this development, this ultra high end development from Discovery Land Company may be drawing some affluent buyers to explore more immediate options for purchase outside of the new development.

There was also an uptick in luxury home sales outside the resort areas. There was a single sale in each of the communities of Hana, Haiku, Kula and Paia.. That compares to a single sale outside the resorts during the first three months of 2016.

The luxury condo market saw some similar trends. Sales were up overall. There were twenty-three sales over $1,500,000 during the first few months of this year compared to seventeen during the first three months of 2016. Twenty of the sales were in South Maui during 2017 compared to nine last year. Conversely, West Maui has seen a dip in activity with three closes compared to eight in 2016. Some of that can be attributed to a decrease in inventory in Honua Kai. All of the developer units have sold there which means we are now depending exclusively on resales.

3. Overall, the condo market had strong start during the first quarter of 2017. Condo sales do not seem quite as constrained by inventory when you look at the sales volume. Sales volume is up 17% compared to last year***. Almost all of that growth in activity can be traced back to the vacation rental condo market.

The vacation rental market had been in the doldrums for the previous couple of years. Much of that can be attributed to a decrease in demand from our neighbors North of the border. The Canadian Dollar has slumped after a number of years of parity. As a result, we saw relatively limited activity and a glut of inventory in some of the more popular vacation rental condos in the Kihei area. That appears to have shifted during this buyer’s season. Overall, sales of vacation rental condos were up 48% county wide. In Kihei, sales of vacation rental friendly condos were up 73%.

It is hard to attribute an exact reason for the sudden boom in the Kihei condo vacation rental condo market. While we may be seeing a few more Canadian buyers, the Canadian dollar remains far below the peak that prompted the last wave of Canadians. I surmise that there may be a number of factors at play. The concept of vacation rental ownership is being more ingrained into people’s psyche as companies like Airbnb become more prominent. A number of our domestic feeder markets are feeling their own real estate booms. West coast markets like Seattle, Portland and much of California continue to see strong activity. We also have seen a sustained bull run in the stock market that may provide people with the discretionary capital to make a second home purchase.

As with the luxury condo market, West Maui hasn’t seen quite the same level of activity for the general vacation rental condos. Numbers are down slightly in West Maui for condo sales. Again, Honua Kai plays a part in the lack of activity. This condo complex has been the driving force in West Maui condo sales in all price ranges since 2010. With the remaining inventory higher priced resale units, sales have slowed substantially at Honua Kai.

What can we expect over the next few months?
There is no immediate relief coming with the housing supply issues on Maui. On the demand side, island rents remain high and interest rates are still comparatively low. Barring a cataclysmic shift in the economy or a major upheaval in global politics, market conditions should remain similar to what we saw in the first quarter of the year. That means that competitive bidding will likely remain the norm for well priced homes in the $1,000,000 and under price range. You may even see a few bidding wars at well priced homes over $1,000,000. This can be a frustrating time for buyers as strong offers can still be trumped by irrational exuberance. That said, buyers should remain patient, make sure they have their ducks in a row when it comes to financing, be realistic about their financial picture and act decisively when properties that meet their needs come to market. While this is a seller’s market, there is some variability in demand by town and even neighborhoods on the island. Not everywhere is booming so sellers should consult closely with their Realtor and study recent sales to develop a realistic market price. Contact the Maui Real Estate Team if you are considering buying or selling property on Maui. We would welcome the opportunity to sit down with you face to face or to talk on the phone to discuss your real estate needs.

***Note the numbers reported for vacation rental condo sales are not 100% accurate. It is not a mandatory field in the Maui Multiple Listing Service to report whether or not a condo may be vacation rented. As a result, vacation rental condo sales can be under reported.


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