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Kapalua September 2014 Midyear Real Estate Market Report

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The Kapalua Real Estate market has had a tumultuous last five years. The real estate downturn battered the Kapalua Resort’s parent company Maui Land and Pineapple. The financial difficulties and eventual foreclosure of the Ritz Carlton Residences was perhaps the biggest symbol of the recent struggles of the resort. All of that said, the Kapalua Real Estate market showed signs of life in 2013 and the Ritz Carlton Residences are under new ownership and management. The relaunch of the Residences under the Montage brand has brought a buzz back to Kapalua. While Montage brings the buzz, Kapalua wasn’t exactly going to seed. This remains one of the more beautiful resort communities on the planet with renowned golf courses and some of the prettiest beaches in the country. This post takes a look at the state of the Kapalua market for 2014. We compare how the market performed compared to 2013.We take an even deeper dive into recent market history with some of the condo complexes. We also give our thoughts on what some of the numbers mean and the current state of the Kapalua Real Estate Market.

Kapalua Condos

When comparing the first eight months of 2014 to the first eight of 2013, the Kapalua Condo market has seen a modest decrease in sales activity. There have been 22 condo sales to date this year vs 24 in the same period last year. There are seven different condominium communities within the Kapalua Resort. The difference in sales between those communities year to year has been more substantial.

A Comparison of Sales Volume at the seven different Kapalua Condo Communities

This chart compares the sales volume at the seven different condominium communities of Kapalua during January through August of 2013 and 2014.

With the differences in sales volume, I thought it might be worth delving into the market dynamics at a number of the seven different condo communities.

The Montage Residences at Kapalua Bay
Montage has grabbed the most headlines of the Kapalua Condo communities this year. The project was previously known as the Ritz Carlton Residences on Kapalua Bay. It came to market in 2009. Developer sales at the upscale condo complex were shut down in 2011 as the development faced headwinds in a more difficult real estate market. While the property has always been impressive, so were constructions costs. Coming to market in the doldrums of the real estate downturn was too tall of a task. The property was foreclosed on in early 2013. Lantern Capital, the new owners, subsequently appointed Montage Hotel and Resorts to manage the property. Montage is a well established luxury brand with a loyal following thanks to communities in Deer Park, Beverly Hills and Laguna Beach. Prior to coming back to market, significant improvements were made to what was already arguably the nicest physical plant of any condo community on island. Among the improvements was the opening of a new restaurant and bar Cane and Canoe. It has been receiving rave reviews since it opened.

The Pool Area of the Montage Kapalua

One of the Pools at The Montage Residences at Kapalua Bay

The combination of the Montage brand, the beautiful property and the five star service create a package that has been very well received since the property came back to market in June. There have been five developer sales and one resale over the last few months. This is particularly impressive considering the price points that are involved. The lowest priced sale was $4,300,000 while the highest sale was $8,250,000. The high sale was the highest priced condo sale in Kapalua history. The second and third highest priced sales in Kapalua history also occurred at Montage over the last couple of months. There was one other thing that I found to be notable among the sales that have occurred. Four of the Montage buyers were represented by Wailea based agents. While Wailea and Kapalua are both world class resort communities, they each have their own distinctive feel. You seldom have buyers torn between the two communities. The buyers tend to gravitate toward one community over another. While the agents in our office are location agnostic, you tend to see more agents who focus on one of those communities instead of both. It says something about the compelling nature of the The Montage Residences at Kapalua that you are seeing Wailea based agents, and presumably Wailea type buyers making the trek up the coast to Kapalua.

At this time, there are two additional Montage Kapalua condos that are currently under contract with five others units listed. They will slowly release the remaining developer condos out on to the MLS as other units are sold. We anticipate that this luxury development will remain a popular offering for Maui Luxury condo buyers for some time to come.

Coconut Grove and The Ironwoods
I thought it was worth touching on these properties as they formerly had the distinction of being Kapalua’s most upscale condominium developments. One might think that the introduction of Montage into the market might have an adverse effect on both of these condos. I am not so sure that will be the case. It could be argued that Montage will be a complimentary rather than a competitive offering. All three condominiums have their own diverse personalities, locations and physical plants. Coconut Grove offers a lower density complex with an incredible location right on Kapalua Beach. The Ironwoods are also lower density and have their own beautiful setting nestled between Oneloa Beach and the fifth hole of the Kapalua Bay Course. The Ironwoods are also available at a lower price point than either Montage or Coconut Grove. Both the Ironwoods and Coconut Grove are different from Montage in that they prohibit vacation rentals. Neither condo complex tends to see a high volume of real estate transactions in any one year. It will likely take a few years before we get a better sense of how those properties continue to be received by the market with Montage available as another options for Ultra Luxury Condo buyers.

Beautiful Oneloa Beach in Kapalua

Beautiful Oneloa Beach in Kapalua

Kapalua Golf Villas
The condo complex that saw the sharpest decrease in sales activity when comparing this year to last year is Kapalua Golf Villas. I would argue that the decreased activity may be a reflection of the a strengthening situation at Golf Villas rather than a weaker market. To understand my reasoning, it is worth taking some time to look at the history of the complex. Aside from the former Ritz residences, it is safe to say that Golf Villas has seen more upheaval over the last few years than any other condo complex in Kapalua. The challenges stemmed from a large assessment that was imposed on the condos. When crews began work re-roofing the condos in the fall of 2011, they started to uncover some much larger maintenance issues that needed to be addressed immediately. Each of the condo owners were required to pay a special assessment over a 24 month period. The assessment ranged from an extra $700 to well over $1,200 a month depending on the size of the floor plan. Within a couple of months of the assessment being announced, there was a flood of inventory that hit the market. The numbers below provide some interesting context for the market dynamics over the last four years.

  • In 2011, there were 11 sales at Kapalua Golf Villas and the median sales price was $510,000. The low sales price for the year was $425,000. It was November of 2011 when the need for a special assessment was announced.
  • In 2012, there were 25 sales with a median price of $480,000. The low sale was $330,000. That was one of five sales during 2012 below $400,000 at Kapalua Golf Villas.
  • In 2013, the sales volume at Kapalua Golf Villas dipped to 11 sales, but the median rose dramatically to $650,000. The low sale price was $489,000.
  • In 2014, there have 5 condos sold year to date with a median price of $710,000. The low sale was $645,000.

The flood of inventory that hit the market in late 2011 and 2012 forced some sellers at Kapalua Golf Villas to slash prices. It was clear there were owners that didn’t want to pay or couldn’t afford to pay the new assesment. As a result, you saw those five exceptionally low sales prices. The scope of work covered by the assessment was comprehensive and suggests that the heavy lifting for the maintenance should be covered for some time. The high volume of sales suggests that there were quite a few buyers who saw the upside in the improvements and the long term potential. By the beginning of 2013, the pool of discounted condos at Golf Villas was largely gone and prices began began to recover quickly. You can see that reflected in the significant increase in median prices. By 2014, sales volumes have slowed even further. Sellers have been trying to push the envelope at Golf Villas on pricing. As it stands, the low sale for this year is just $5,000 below last year’s median. This should make for lower sales volume and lower potential for appreciation the rest of the year.

The Ridge at Kapalua
The Ridge at Kapalua hasn’t seen the same tumult that was experienced at Golf Villas, but there have been some similarities in recent market dynamics. In 2011, sales at the Ridge were slow with only 3 transactions recorded. In 2012, we saw some more motivated sellers as well as a few bank owned properties hitting the market. That contributed to a stronger year for sales with a total of 14 transactions recorded. Buyers were able to take advantage of some lower priced opportunities, and we even saw some Bank owned sales in the $400s. In 2013, the lower priced inventory was gone and we started to see stronger appreciation. That said, it was interesting to note that the progression wasn’t linear. The first half of the year saw only one transaction, the second half of the year had 12 sales. Buyers appeared reticent to support the higher prices at the first half of 2013, but the barrier was broken as the comparative value of the Ridge was recognized. Well maintained grounds, beautiful views and a good location compared to comparable priced properties helped drive buyers into the market. For 2014, sales volumes have slowed and the rate of appreciation has begun to slow as well. Buyers seem to be putting a premium on quality over the lower priced units. The 2 one bedroom units that have closed have been very high quality condos in the $800s, while 2 of the 3 two bedroom units have been priced in the $1,400,000 range. I suspect we will continue to see a focus on quality for the remainder of the year.

Kapalua Bay Villas
When looking at the year to year sales, Kapalua Bay Villas has seen the same number of sales to date this year as it did over the same period last year. That isn’t necessarily a good thing in light of current inventory. There are currently 24 active listings at Bay Villas with one condo under contract. Bay Villas has had pretty extensive inventory for the last few years. I would anticipate that the depth of inventory will significantly limit the potential for appreciation. Sellers will need to listen to market feedback and adjust pricing if we are going to see any significant increase in sales volumes.

Overall, the Kapalua Condo market seems to be transitioning from a period where a good portion of the transactions were value driven. After seeing significant appreciation at condos like Golf Villas and the Ridge over the last couple of years, the opportunity for bargain hunting is limited. It is safe to say that the surge of activity at Montage is not bargain hunting. More buyers are seeking quality above all else. There is plenty of quality to choose from among the active listings. You can check out the current inventory of Kapalua Condos for Sale at MauiRealEstate.com.

Kapalua Homes

The Kapalua Home market has not been as robust as the condo market for the year to date. There have been five sales thus far with a median sales price of $3,250,000. By comparison, last year there had been nine sales by this point in time at a median price of $3,500,000. There are a few things that I thought were noteworthy about this year’s closes.

  • The five sales included one close in Honolua Ridge, two closes in Pineapple Hill and two more sales at Pineapple Hill Estates.
  • The Honolua Ridge close was a bank owned property. This neighborhood was just coming to market towards the tail end of the last real estate boom. As a result, there have been quite a few distressed sales.
  • The bank owned property was the lowest priced sale at $1,700,000. This was the only home sale under $3,000,000 in Kapalua this year.
  • The high sale was $4,700,000 for Carlos Santana’s home in Pineapple Hill. That home has 7,687 square feet of living space.

Island wide, home sales over $2,000,000 are up 32% compared to last year. It is interesting that Kapalua sales activity has dropped in light of the island wide increase in high end sales. That said, the relatively small sample size of Kapalua sales makes me reticent to read too much into the drop in activity. One thing that I can say is that there have been fewer opportunities for owners looking for bargains. Over the previous two years, a number of the homes that have changed hands have been value purchases priced at the very low end of the various Kapalua neighborhoods. This year there was just the one sale under $2,000,000. There has also just been one other listing priced below $2,500,000. The smaller pool of purchases this year appear to be skewed more towards buyers seeking quality homes that fit their needs.

Pocket Doors make for indoor outdoor living at a home in Pineapple Hill Estates in Kapalua

Moving forward for the rest of the year, Kapalua still has a significant inventory of homes available with 24 active listings. Based on the current pace of sales, that would suggest that there are at least a couple of years worth of inventory still available. While conventional wisdom indicates that more than six months of inventory can lead to price decreases, that isn’t as applicable to a market like Kapalua. Kapalua and other high dollar markets typically have much longer days on market. It is not uncommon for some of the highest priced properties to sit for years. The sellers of these homes are typically high net worth individuals with the staying power to hold on to the property long enough to wait for offers that fit their needs. There may be one or two sellers among the active listings who are motivated; the challenge lies in identifying those sellers. While values are unlikely to fall at this point, the depth of inventory should blunt any movement to push prices upward. You can see the full inventory of Kapalua Homes for Sale at MauiRealEstate.com.

Kapalua Land

The land market on Maui hasn’t seen a ton of transactions as of late. When you look at a smaller community like Kapalua, the number of transactions shrinks even further. There have been three land transactions in Kapalua this year. One sale was located in the Plantation Estates subdivision. The other two were in the Honolua Ridge area of Plantation Estates. That total is lower than the five sales that we saw last year as of this time. There are a total of nine active listings currently. They are spread amongst all of the residential communities including Plantation Estates, Pineapple Hill, Pineapple Hill Estates and Honolua Ridge. Plantation Estates and Honolua Ridge offer acreage for potential buyers with some lots in Honolua Ridge in excess of 20 acres.

Kapalua Long Range Outlook

There is much to like about Kapalua property over the long term. The resort seems to have weathered the storm of the last real estate downturn and is positioned to grow as a destination. Montage will help to draw new visitors to the resort community. Some of those visitors may find themselves compelled to own their own slice of paradise in Kapalua. Some of those will snatch up some of the remaining new developer inventory at Montage, while others may opt to look at one of the nearby condos, one of the residential neighborhoods or identify a lot to build a dream home. The natural environment, beaches, golf and other amenities make Kapalua as a whole offer a world class destination resort and make for a compelling place to own a home. Contact The Maui Real Estate Team if Kapalua appeals to you. We would welcome the chance to speak with you about the various properties available for sale around the resort. There may be one that fits you!

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9/4/2014

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