Maui Real Estate Blog

What Does the end of Forbearance Mean for Borrowers and Maui The Real Estate Market?

The initial economic impacts of Covid-19 included lost jobs and disruption of income for large numbers of people around the globe. With the local Maui economy largely dependent upon tourism, our small island was among the nation’s hardest hit. The original CARES act that passed in the spring of 2020 offered relief to homeowners who struggled to pay their mortgages due to job loss or depressed wages. Those struggling homeowners were able to work with their lender to pause or reduce their mortgage payments for a period time. What started as a 6 month program was extended to 18 months. A total of over 7.25 million borrowers used forbearance as a means of relief for at least some period of time. That number of homeowners in forbearance is down to approximately 2,000,000 by around the end of June.

As of September, some of the borrowers who were among the first to enter the forbearance program will come to the end of their 18 month forbearance period. At this time, it does not appear as if there will be additional extensions of the program. What does the end of forbearance mean for those borrowers and the market as a whole?

The good news is that Fannie, Freddie and FHA are saying the right things about borrowers coming to the end of their forbearance. Recent guidelines released by those entities are focused on loan modifications for borrowers struggling to make their payments due to Covid related financial struggles. If you are a homeowner faced with the end of forbearance in the immediate future, remain proactive in your discussions with your mortgage holder. Ask about loan modification programs.

For those that may not be able to get a loan modification or the terms of a modification are too onerous, selling may be the only option. During the mortgage meltdown of the 2000s, borrowers struggled with the dual challenge of economic hardship and plunging prices. The result was a wave of foreclosures. Current market conditions couldn’t be more different as prices on island and for much of the continent climbed steadily over the last twelve months. The good news is that the recent appreciation should allow the majority of borrowers who need to sell to pay off the balance of their loan. That should significantly curtail the number of foreclosures. Feel free to Contact The Maui Real Estate Team if you are trying to get a sense of the current market value of your property. We would be more than willing to help out with a free broker’s price opinion.

Based on the above, it seems unlikely that the end of forbearance will significantly change the Maui market. The impact of the end of forbearance in the Canadian market seems to reinforce that notion. About 17% of the mortgages in Canada went into forbearance. As of February, 98% of the forbearance programs expired. As of the end of June, the average home price in Canada was up 25.9% year over year.

While the end of forbearance might lead to a small bump in inventory, a drastic influx of distressed property seems less likely. Real Estate economists are predicting a gradual increase in inventories as the year progresses. Post forbearance properties should be one component of that increase.

Pete Jalbert

Maui Real Estate Blog

Maui County Property Tax Rates for the 2021/2022 Fiscal Year

July 1 marks the start of the new fiscal year and that means updated property tax rates for Maui County. While there are quite a few rates that stayed the same this year, there were also a few notable changes.

Here are a couple of things to note about our tax rates before detailing the changes by property classification. Tax rates are impacted by the use and zoning of the property. The county has a tiered tax system based on the value of the property. Tier 1 is for properties assessed at a price of upto $800,000. Tier 2 is for properties assessed between $800,001 to $1,500,000. Tier 3 is for properties assessed for more than $1,500,000.

All tax rates below are per $1,000 of assessed value. Here are the tax rates for 21/22 with notes on any change in rate from the last fiscal year.

  • Owner occupied Tier 1 $2.41 (down .10), Tier 2 $2.51 (down .10), Tier 3 $2.71 (up .10)
  • Non-owner Occupied Tier 1 $5.45, Tier 2 $6.05, Tier 3 $8.00 (up $1.10)
  • Apartment $5.55
  • Short Term Rental Tier 1 $11.11 (up .03), Tier 2 $11.15 (up .07), Tier 3 $11.20 (up .12)
  • Hotel & Resort $11.75 (up $1.05)
  • Agricultural $5.94
  • Conservation $6.43
  • Timeshare $14.60 (up .20)
  • Commercial $6.29
  • Industrial $7.20
  • Commercialized Residential $4.40

Property taxes are paid biannually in Maui county with payments due on August 20th and February 20th. Check out the Maui County Property Tax Frequently Asked Questions pages if you have additional questions on assessments and classifications.

Pete Jalbert

Maui Real Estate Blog

Spreckelville Real Estate June 2021 Market Update

While last week’s stats post was the first in a long time, it’s been even longer since I posted a neighborhood specific update. With that in mind, no time better than the present to catch up on the real estate happenings in the Spreckelsville neighborhood on Maui’s North Shore. This beachfront community is a favorite of the Maui Real Estate Team. Our broker Billy calls it his home as does Martin Lenny, one of our agents. The combination of convenient location, great beaches and access to world class wind and water sports make this an incredibly desirable location. Today’s post takes a look at market activity during the Covid-19 era.

Notable Sales Numbers

  • Eight properties sold in Spreckelsville between April of 2020 and June of 2021. That includes 6 homes and 2 lots.
  • Seven of the eight sales were cash transactions. The one other sale was a trade.
  • The Maui Real Estate Team represented the buyer or the seller on seven of the eight sales.
  • There was only one off market sale during this period. All of the other sales made it to the MLS.
  • The sales activity was spread throughout all but the Kai Holu Subdivision. The sales included one home closed in the Sprecks V area, one home on Stable Road, one home and one lot in E Paepae Ka Puko’a (The Spencer Subdivision). The rest of the sales were in Old Sprecks.
  • One oceanfront home closed thus far during Covid. There is a second oceanfront home pending.
  • The highest priced transaction to close came in at $4,000,000 for a home on .57 acres on Stable Road. The four bedroom, two bath home sits one lot back from the oceanfront with easy beach access. This transaction closed in March of 2021.
  • The highest priced lot closed for $2,750,000. This .789 acre lot is situated off of Nonohe in Old Sprecks is right next to the Maui Country Club with deeded access to Stable Road.
  • In addition to the 8 sales, there are three properties under contract including our office’s listing at Sugar Cove.
Aerial view of 581 Stable Road. The highest priced transaction price to close to date in Spreckelsville to date during Covid.
581 Stable Road. The highest Spreckelsville sale to date during Covid-19

Thoughts on The Sprecks Market

Maui’s high end real estate market boomed during Covid-19. More accurately, it took off in late 2020 and through the first half of 2021. Home sales over $2,000,000 are up 335% during the first five months of 2021 compared to the same period of 2020. They are up 368% compared to the first five months of 2019. Areas like Kapalua, Ka’anapali and Upcountry Maui saw record sales volume for luxury property. That also meant the occasional bidding war and an above asking sales prices became more common.

The Sprecks market hasn’t hit the same heights as some of the other areas of the island. While the five properties sold for the year to date is the highest since 2014, it wasn’t unprecedented. None of the properties that sold closed above asking price and we only saw one multiple offer situation. This is not an indictment of the Sprecks market or the appeal of the neighborhood. It is more of a reflection of the fact that Spreckelsville is a high demand low sales volume area. Inventory levels consistently remain low with limited turnover. Many of the markets that saw the sharpest increase in activity came into Covid with an abundance of inventory. Plentiful supply combined with strong demand to create record sales volumes.

Lanai views from Sugar Cove 5C. This is a rare listing in Sugar Cove. It is under contract with a buyer.
The lanai view from Sugar Cove 5C. This is one of those truly rare listings in Sugar Cove. This unit is under contract and scheduled to close in July.

Spreckelsville Market Outlook

Based on the above, I imagine it isn’t too much of a surprise that I view inventory as the driving factor in the market for the remainder of 2021. There are currently four active listings and three pending listings. Based on recent trends, I would imagine that additional inventory will remain relatively scarce. Check out our Spreckelsville Real Estate listings page for the current inventory of homes for sale. Contact the Maui Real Estate Team if you are interested in buying or selling a property in Spreckelsville. We know the market since it is our own backyard.

Pete Jalbert

Maui Real Estate Blog

June 2021 Maui Real Estate Market Update

When the pandemic started, we provided weekly updates on market conditions on Maui. There were a lot of unknowns at that point and plenty free time to put together statistics. As market conditions improved from the doldrums of the spring and summer of 2020, carving out time became harder. By the middle of fall, weekly updates slipped to once every few weeks. I last posted a market update in mid-January. The frequency of the posts inversely correlates with market conditions. A quieter market meant more frequent posts, while the dearth of posts over the last 6 months is a testament to the busiest period of real estate transactions seen on Maui to date.

I had a little bit of time to catch my breath this week so I wanted to catch you up on market conditions through the first five months of 2021. While I am loathe to enter the world of prognostication after the surprising turn in market conditions last year, I will also provide a few thoughts on the outlook for the next few months.

Booming Demand

The Covid-19 Pandemic created a real estate boom in a number of markets throughout the mainland United States as early as late Spring of 2020. Due to the travel restrictions to Hawaii, the Maui market remained comparatively quiet. We saw a modest uptick in activity in June after stay at home orders were lifted. As the year progressed, momentum increased. The resumption of tourism in October caused another uptick in demand. The Maui market hit a whole new gear in 2021.

This chart compares the number of homes sold in Maui County during the first five months of 2021 and the first five months of 2020.
Monthly Homes Sold in Maui County, Hawaii in the first five months of 2020 and 2021

Maui Realtors reported 598 homes sold during the first five months of the 2021. That calculates to roughly a 57% increase over the 389 homes sold during the same period of 2020. The difference in sales between 2021 and 2020 increased in part due to growing demand, but also due to the fact that Covid-19 impacted April and May 2020 sales volumes . The monthly difference in sales volume started at 18.8%in January and peaked at 290% in May. To be clear, the sales volumes for 2021 don’t look strong just due to weaker 2020 numbers. By comparison, home sales for the first five months of 2021 were 33.4% stronger than the same period of 2019.

A comparison of monthly Maui condo sales volumes between the first five months of 2020 and 2021
A comparison of monthly condo sales volumes in Maui County Hawaii during the first five months of 2020 and 2021.

Maui Realtors reported an impressive 1,019 condos sold over the first five months of 2021. That represents an 81% increase in sales volume over the 564 condos sold during the same period of 2020. As with the single family home market, the difference in sales between the two years is due in part to depressed sales in April and May of 2020, and a big surge in activity in 2021. This is evident in the monthly numbers. The January 2021 sales volume actually fell below January 2020 by 10%. Sales volume picked up dramatically in February of 2021 as evidenced by the 24.6% increase over February 2020. By May, the difference in monthly sales volume between 2021 and 2020 rocketed up to 448%. It is notable that the months of March through May were the first ever months where condo sales volumes exceeded 200 closed transactions on Maui.

Shrinking Inventory

While the number of properties going under contract soared, the number of new listings coming to market remained limited. The result was rapidly shrinking inventory for the first five months of the year.

This chart shows the monthly inventory of homes and condos for sale in Maui County. The chart starts right before the start of the pandemic through May.
The monthly inventory of active homes and condos for sale in Maui County at the end of the month. This chart starts in February 2020 right before the start of Covid and runs until May of 2021.

According to the Realtors Association of Maui (RAM), there were only 203 active home listings at the very end of May. That is 37% below the 318 active home listings at the end of December. It is 54% lower than at the end of February 2020 right before covid impacted the market. The home inventory declined steadily throughout the pandemic.

As of the end of May, RAM reported 224 active condo listings. This is 68% below the number of active condo listings at the end of December. It is 58% below the number of condos for sale listed right before the start of Covid at the end of February of 2020. The decline in condo inventory hasn’t been quite as linear as the decrease in home inventory. Active condo inventory grew every month between March of 2020 and December of 2020. That makes the decrease in inventory in 2021 all that much more dramatic. It is also worth noting that the home and condo inventory weren’t exactly robust going into the start of Covid. Pre-Covid, there was less than 6 months of homes and condo inventory.

I would surmise that some of the recent decreases in sales volume may be due in part to the lack of inventory. Buyers are looking, but there just isn’t much out there to buy. Well priced properties are still seeing a frenzy of activity.

Rising Prices

Strong demand and shrinking inventory resulted in a lot of upward price pressure over the first five months of 2021. This is evident as Maui’s median sales priced crossed the $1,000,000 barrier for the month of May.

If you are long time readers of this blog, you may know that I am somewhat wary of using median sales price as a means of tracking changes in property values. The change in median price is based in part on change in value and also in part due to the composition of sales. A higher number of high end sales in anyone month can help push median sales price upwards. There is no doubt that this is a factor in the current market. We are seeing a much higher number of high end properties closing in this market. That said, it is also clear that prices are increasing.

Determining an exact number for the change in values is difficult. The Maui market is pretty heterogeneous in terms of structure size, lot size, location, view and finishing. There is also some variability in how much values are increasing in different geographies and price points. Contact us to discuss changes in value specific to areas of the market of interest to you.

What to Expect Going Forward?

I gave up prognosticating on this market earlier in the pandemic. If you told me market conditions would be what they are now back in April of 2020, let’s just say I would be skeptical. With that in mind, there are some things that I will be watching for over the months ahead.

Inventory The number of active listings tumbled throughout the spring on Maui. The limited inventory means a continued seller’s market. That said, we are starting to see increasing inventory on mainland markets. According to Axios Research, the inventory of single family homes nationally is up 7% since April 30th. Will our market start to see the increase in inventory? We seemed to lag behind the mainland market in terms of market trends throughout Covid-19 due to our inaccessibility. Will that continue?

Overly Ambitious Sellers As mentioned above, we are currently seeing strong appreciation in the market. Over the last month, I have started to see some pretty ambitious list prices with prices well above recent comparable sales. Will buyers be willing to absorb these higher prices due to lack of inventory? If not, will sellers be willing to adjust their pricing downward. Thus far, I am seeing a little bit of both. Some sellers are adjusting quickly to negative market feedback. Others have the means to wait and see if the market will come to them.

Interest Rates Global supply change disruptions due to Covid are causing inflationary pressure. There is a lot of argument amongst people a lot smarter than me as to how long this will continue. Inflation can bring rising interest rates. Thus far, the Federal Reserve is not inclined to raise rates. They view the inflation as temporary. If inflation were to be more prolonged, pressure to react may increase.

Other Impacts on Buyer Demand Rising interest rates are just one factor that could impact buyer demand. It’s pretty clear that a significant portion of buyers over the last year came from off island. Maui became a Zoom Town so to speak. With rising levels of the population fully vaccinated, some businesses are calling their employees back to the office. What does that mean for demand going forward? Could that also impact supply if some of those called back to the office decide to sell their homes?

Covid also brought a surge of second home buying. There are some signs that this may be cooling in other markets around the country. Redfin released a report this week that showed mortgage applications for second homes are decreasing. They attributed this in part due to tightened rules for second home lending. They also attribute decreased demand due to rising home prices. Some second home buyers are feeling priced out after recent price increases.

These affordability issues already knocked a lot of local home buyers out of the market. Some are priced out. Others are struggling to compete with the cash or higher down payments from affluent buyers relocating from the Continental United States.

Contact The Maui Real Estate Team

While I am again tentative to offer any sort of forecast, I would surmise that we won’t see any seismic shifts in market conditions anytime soon. Any relief in supply is likely to be gradual while the recovering economy should sustain some demand. Buyers looking in this market are likely to find that well priced properties generate a lot of interest. Bidding wars are common at all price points. The competitions can be particularly fierce at and below the $1,000,000 mark. Sellers will find favorable market conditions. With such limited inventory, it is hard to be overlooked by the market. This means that sellers will get market feedback on their pricing pretty quickly. Contact The Maui Real Estate Team if you are considering buying or selling property on Maui. We would welcome the opportunity to provide a free consultation.

Pete Jalbert

Maui Real Estate Blog

January 16, 2021 Maui Real Estate Market Update

Maui’s Real Estate market started 2021 on a similar foot to how it ended 2020. Strong buyer demand continues to persist. I haven’t quite gotten back to weekly posting, but this week’s post should at least have us caught up. I will take a brief look at the numbers over the seven day period between December 30th and January 5th followed by a more in depth look at the very busy week between January 6th and January 12th. Keep reading for more numbers.

Buyer Activity Between December 30th and January 5th

Christmas time is traditionally thought of as the start of peak buyer season on Maui. This correlates with the start of peak visitor season. That said, the weeks right after Christmas and around the new year tend to be something of a mixed bag for Maui Real Estate. Some years, buyer activity is particularly robust. Other years it is more quiet. Despite comparatively low visitor numbers, the seven days between December 30th, 2020 and January 5th, 2021 showed solid activity.

  • Maui Realtors reported 62 pending sales between the 30th and the 5th. That is 11% higher than the week prior. It is 63% more activity than the same seven day period last year.
  • The 62 pending sales include 21 homes, 35 condos and 6 lots.
  • The high end market remains busy with 9 properties priced $2,000,000 or above going under contract.
  • Sales were solid with 65 closed transactions. This reflects the solid buyer demand from October through early December.
  • New inventory was limited between the 30th and the 5th with 40 new listings. That includes only 12 homes and 1 lot.

While this week represented represented a solid start for our “typical” buyer season, the numbers for the 6th-12th of January are pretty eye popping.

New Pending Sales January 6th-12th

Weekly new pending sales in Maui County During the Covid-19 Pandemic. This chart runs from late February up until January 12th.
Weekly new pending sales in Maui County, Hawaii by property type. New pending sales are the best indicator of current buyer demand in the market.

Maui County Realtors reported 92 new pending sales over the seven day period between January 6th and 12th. That is a 48% increase in buyer activity over both the seven days prior and the same seven day period of 2020.

Notable Numbers From the Pending Sales Between January 6th-12th

  • The 92 pending sales included 35 homes, 47 condos and 10 lots.
  • This is a highest number of weekly pending sales than any seven day period of 2020.
  • The 47 new pending condo sales represents the highest weekly total since I began tracking this data during Covid.
  • Of the 47 pending condo sales, 26 are vacation rental friendly condos. Another 6 new pending condo sales are located in resort developments that prohibit vacation rentals.
  • The high end market continues to be busy with 10 new pending sales over $2,000,000. That includes 7 homes and 3 condos.
  • The 10 new pending land sales ties the previous Covid era weekly high.

January 6-12 Closed Transactions

Weekly closed transactions by property type in Maui County. This chart shows the time period from late February 2020 through January 12th 2021.
Weekly Closed Transactions by Property Type in Maui County, Hawaii during the “Covid era.”

Maui Realtors reported 57 closed transactions over the seven day period between January 6th and 12th. That is 10% lower than the seven days prior. That is 68% higher than the same seven day period of 2020.

New Inventory Between January 6th and January 12th

This chart shows weekly new inventory by property type in Maui County, Hawaii over the period between late February of 2020 and early January of 2021
Weekly new inventory by property type in Maui County Hawaii during “the Covid era.”

Maui Realtors listed 74 properties over the seven day period between January 6th and 12th. That is an 85% increase in new listings over the week prior. It is 4% lower than the same seven day period of 2020.

Of the 74 new listings, 22 are single family homes. That is well below the 35 new home pending sales this week. That means a further reduction in inventory. Thus far, the new year is not bringing a respite from our home inventory shortage.

Forty new condo listings came to market between the 6th and the 12th. Normally, that would represent a pretty strong week for new inventory. That said, it is still below the 48 new pending condo sales. The condo inventory is not as limited as the single family home inventory. It is worth noting that there is also a fair amount of variability in the supply depending on geography and price point.

The land inventory is the only market segment with a net increase this week thanks to 12 new listings. That compares to 10 pendings. This modest increase is hardly anything to move the market. As a whole the inventory of lots for sale remains pretty stable.

Contact The Maui Real Estate Team

Needless to say, the numbers point to continued robust market activity. Buyer demand remains strong and supply limited. Contact The Maui Real Estate Team if you are thinking of buying or selling property. We look forward to working with you and learning more about your real estate needs.

Pete Jalbert

Maui Real Estate Blog

January 7th, 2021, Semi-Weekly, Occasional Maui Real Estate Update

I haven’t quite reclaimed my weekly posting mojo hence the title of this post. That said, I wanted to look at sales activity for the seven day period between December 23rd and 29th. I also wanted to highlight some of the numbers from December 16th-22nd. That was a pretty extraordinary week for real estate activity on Maui. Keep reading for notable numbers from those 14 days.

A Quick Recap of December 16th-22nd

While it may not be getting its own post, this week can’t go without mention. It was far and away the busiest seven day period of 2020. That includes the pre-pandemic market. While it isn’t unusual for us to be outperforming pre-pandemic numbers, the weeks right before Christmas don’t typically see robust market activity. The winter time off island buyers tend to become more active right after Christmas. On island buyers tend to be more focused on the holidays than home buying.

Here are some notable numbers from the 16th-22nd.

  • There were 86 new pending sales. That is 21% higher than the previous high for 2020. It is 56% more activity than the same seven day period of 2019.
  • The home market was a big driver for this robust week of activity. The 40 new weekly pending home sales is a high for the year.
  • Heightened activity at higher price points also played a role. An impressive 11 properties went pending listed over $2,000,000 including 5 over $6,000,000. Of note, 2 homes subsequently fell out of contract.
  • The 16th-22nd also saw a lot of high end sales with 9 transactions closing for more than $2,000,000. That includes a $19,000,000 oceanfront sale in Makena. That comes on the heels of an oceanfront estate in Kapalua that Closed for $24,000,000 the week prior. That sale was the highest ever in West Maui.

Needless to say, the 16th-22nd was an extremely busy week for buyers. Now on to our latest seven day tracking period.

New Pending Sales for December 23-29th

This chart shows weekly new pending sales by property type in Maui County. The chart starts in late February and runs through late December.
Weekly new pending sales by property type in Maui County, Hawaii. New Pending sales are the best indication of current buyer demand.

Maui Realtors reported 56 new pending sales over the seven day period between December 23rd and December 29th. This is a 35% drop in activity from the the extremely busy seven days prior. That said, it is 65% higher than the same seven day period of 2019. It is worth remembering that this seven day period includes Christmas. The drastic increase over last year provides some context for the high demand this year.

Notable Numbers From The Pending Sales Between December 22nd-28th.

  • The 56 pending sales include 23 homes, 30 condos and 3 lots.
  • The 30 condo sales include 16 vacation rentals . There are 4 additional condos located in resort areas that prohibit vacation rentals.
  • Seven properties listed for more than $2,000,000 went under contract. They include 5 homes and 2 condos.

Closed Transactions Between December 22nd and 28th

This chart shows weekly closed transactions in Maui County by property type. This chart starts in late February and runs all the way through late December.
Weekly Sales by Property Type in Maui County, Hawaii. Closed Transactions are a lagging indicator of buyer demand.

Maui Realtors reported 55 sales over the seven day period between December 23rd and December 29th. This is 21% fewer transactions than the seven days prior. It is 62% higher than the same seven day period of 2019. As with the pending sales, we would expect lower numbers compared to the week prior. There is one less day for recorded sales, and some sellers and buyers would want to avoid closing right around Christmas. That said, the 2019 numbers provide some context as to how busy things were comparatively.

New Listings December 23rd-29th

Weekly new inventory by property type in Maui County. This chart shows the period between late February and late December.

Maui Realtors listed 40 properties in the seven day period between December 23rd and 29th. That is 34% fewer properties than the seven days prior. It is 5% more new listings than the same seven day period of 2019. It is not a big surprise that this is a quieter week for new inventory. Listings that come to market right around the holiday may not get as much visibility with buyers.

Of the 40 new listings, only 12 are homes. This is quite a bit less than the 20 that went under contract. Scarcity of inventory remains a big factor in the single family home market as we enter the new year.

The new listings between the 23rd and 29th included 27 condos. This is also below the 30 condos that went under contract. While there is more condo inventory than home inventory available, buyers may find limited inventory depending on where they are searching.

There was just 1 new land listing to hit the market between the 23rd and the 29th. The land market saw a slight decrease in inventory over December. While there is variability based on geography, the land market also suffers to an extent from a lack of options.

Contact The Maui Real Estate Team

As we enter the new year, buyer activity remains strong and supply limited. At the same time, there seems to be growing instability in the world with Covid numbers continuing to rise and significant political unrest. Will that impact the market? Thus far, the Maui market remains resilient. If anything there is an argument that the relative safe haven of Maui may be appealing to buyers. We continue to work hard for buyers and sellers in these challenging times. Contact The Maui Real Estate Team if you are looking to buy or sell property on Maui. We look forward to talking to you and learning more about your real estate needs.

Pete Jalbert