Maui Real Estate Blog

Walkable Maui

Rising gas prices. A more chaotic climate. Improved health and wellness. There are a lot of reasons why driving less has more appeal these days. Maui is a pretty rural place. As a result, it is not exactly an easy place to live car free. That said, there are parts of the island where there are more conveniences and amenities accessible by foot or by bike. We recently created a handful of Walkable community pages on MauiRealEstate.com that highlight areas within a higher concentration of amenities within walking distance. This is a quick overview of those new pages on the site and a few communities that are worth an honorable mention.

Featured Walkable Areas of Maui

  • Walkable Paia : For a small town, Paia has a lot going on. It has restaurants, a great grocery store, a Bank of Hawaii Branch, a yoga studio, massage studios, coffee shops, a post office, the beach and more all in and around town. If you live in the neighborhoods to the East and North of town, almost all of this is accessible via your own two feet. As an added bonus, the North Shore bike path runs to the West of town, through Spreckelsville and into Kahului. Paia is the one area of the island where you really could go for longer stretches without driving.
  • Walkable Wailuku : Downtown Wailuku is the seat of Maui County Government. It is also home to federal and state agencies, medical facilities, law offices and other professional services. The homes and condos in the downtown area give options to those who work downtown that want to avoid commuting by car. Add in restaurants, the Iao Theater, shops, a library and other amenities and there are plenty of things accessible by foot. While you will still find yourself driving to some amenities, your odometer is less likely to get a workout.
  • Walkable Makawao : Upcountry Maui may not be the first place you think of when it comes to walkability. That said, downtown Makawao is another small town with a lot going on. There are restaurants, a public library, Eddie Tam Park, a post office, shops, coffee, yoga and more. There are quite a few neighborhoods within walking distance of these attractions. Again, this is a place where it may be difficult to completely avoid car dependence, but you could get away with driving less when you live close to Makawao.
  • Walkable Lahaina : Front Street is a renowned tourist destination. That said, residents living in the neighborhoods close to Front Street are located close to restaurants, shops, grocery stores, the beach, surfing and more. Put on your walking shoes or grab your cruiser bike. This is an area where you can leave your car parked in the driveway more often than not.

Honorable Mention

The Kulamalu area of Pukalani wouldn’t have received a mention 10 years ago. While there was a Long’s Drugs and a Fitness Center, this was a convenient but car dependent community. Then came the Saturday’s Farmer’s Market, followed by Food Trucks. A new brewery and a great pizza place in the last year are two great new additions. The Cottages at Kulamalu and Kulamalu Hilltop are now two neighborhoods where owners now have some great amenities within walking distance.

There are parts of Kihei where you may not need a car as much depending on your lifestyle. Areas of South Kihei and Central Kihei offer restaurants, shops, grocery stores and beaches within walking distance.

Contact The Maui Real Estate Team

Contact The Maui Real Estate Team if you are looking for a home that decreases your car dependence. We would welcome the chance to help you find a home or condo that might help change your lifestyle.

Pete Jalbert

Maui Real Estate Blog

Maui Market Musings Volume II

This week’s edition of Maui Market Musings is another grab bag of topics. I look at days on market on Maui, try to get a sense of price increases since the start of Covid and check in on sales activity at Hoku’ula, the new development in Upcountry Maui.

Properties Continue to Move Quickly

One way of gauging the strength of the Maui market is looking at days on market. The local Realtor Association publishes days on market for sold properties. I wanted to use data from recently listed properties for a more current look at market activity. Between February 9th and February 16th, 71 listings came to market. Of the 71 listings, 40 already went under contract. Of the remaining 31 listings, 7 are waiting to review offers until a later date or are in the process of reviewing offers. One bank owned listing successfully completed an auction with the buyer and the bank completing contract paper work. Two additional listings are vacation rentals with no opportunity for showings as of yet.

We are seeing things go under contract really quickly. What does this mean for buyers? Over 50% of properties are going under contract in 10 days or less. Many sellers are setting offer deadlines a week after listing to allow for strong showing demand. Multiple offers are common. Buyers who want to enter the fray need to have pre-approvals and proof of funds in hand. They also need to prepare to write very strong offers.

How Much Have Property Values Increased on Maui?

How much have prices gone up since the start of Covid? This is one of the most common questions people ask about the Maui market. This is a surprisingly difficult question to answer. The Maui market is incredibly heterogeneous. While changes in median price give some indication of changes in value, it isn’t an exact indicator. Changes in median prices aren’t just due to changes in price. Differences in the composition of the market in any one month also contribute to changes in median. For example, if you have a greater proportion of higher end homes selling in any one month, median prices will tend to go up.

With that in mind, I thought I would do my best to try to get a better sense of how much prices changed since early 2020. To do that, I went through the sales over the last month and compared them to sales during the same period of January and February 2020. I tried to find as many like for like properties to compare from each of the two time frames. Truth be told, the list of properties that fit that criteria is surprisingly small. Here are some of the properties I identified, notable differences if any, their sales prices and the percentage change.

Comparing Early 2020 and Early 2022 Home Prices

  • The first example I found was actually a home that sold on January 31st of 2020 and sold again on February 9th of 2022. 24 W Makaukau Loop is located in the Waikapu Gardens subdivision of Wailuku. The seller made one notable improvement during their two years of ownership. They added a photovoltaic system with a Tesla Powerwall. It closed for $731,000 in 2020 and $990,000 in 2022. That is a 34% difference. If you add roughly $35,000 for the improvements, you are looking at a 29.4% increase in value.
  • I found two very similar homes in the Pi’ilani Villages subdivision in Kihei that sold in 2020 and 2022 respectively. 38 Polale and 62 Polale are both three bedroom, two bathroom homes with 1,478 square feet of living space. Both homes have net metered photovoltaic systems. and new flooring. The home at 38 Polale has original bathrooms, while the home at 62 Polale includes nicely remodeled bathrooms. The lot at 38 Polale is 300 square feet bigger. The home at 38 Polale sold in early 2020 for $756,000. The home at 62 Polale sold in early 2022 for $1,100,000. That is a 45.5% difference in value. Regardless of the bathroom improvements, this is a big shift in values.
  • While the next two homes don’t offer a true apples to apples comparison, they are still worth sharing. Both homes are in Kaimana at Kehalani. This is a subdivision with a single developer and a handful of different floor plans. The first home is a 4 bedroom, 3 bath with 2,021 square feet of living space and a Photovoltaic system. The home is located on a 4,500 square foot lot. The second home is 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms with 1,185 square feet of living space. It is also situated on 4,500 square foot lot. The 4 bedroom home sold in early 2020 for $725,000. The second sold for $815,000. That is a 12% higher sales price for a home that is 41% smaller.

Comparing Early 2020 and Early 2022 Condo Prices

  • The first two condos I wanted to compare are located in the same floor of the same building at Aina Nalu in Lahaina. They are both 2 bedroom, 2 bath unit with 832 square feet of living space. Unit C 203 sold in early 2020 for $599,000. The seller did add some new flooring and there was some sort of bamboo ceiling covering added in parts of the condo. Unit C 209 was almost identical minus the improvements. It sold in early 2022 for $766,000. That is a 27.8% price increase. It is worth noting that Aina Nalu was one of a small handful of condos that actually saw prices go down in mid 2020. During that time, second floor two bedrooms went as low as $500,000. The level of appreciation is that much higher if you factor in that price adjustment.
  • Kai Malu is an upscale non-vacation rental condo in Wailea. There is variability in value within the complex based on location and view. I found two condos with the same 3 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom floor plan in different parts of the development. Both are considered to be good locations. They both overlook the golf course with the ocean in the distance. Unit 5A sold in late January 2020 for $1,700,000. Unit 55B is a little more upgraded unit with some more recent renovations. It sold for $2,200,000 in early February. That is a 29.4% increase in sales price.
  • Kihei Villages is an entry level condo complex that prohibits short terms rentals. I found two pretty similar ground floor units for comparison. Both have two bedrooms, one and a half baths and 750 square feet of living space and an enclosed yard area. Unit 10-103 had some improvements in the kitchen, but bathrooms appeared to be original. It sold in February of 2020 for $365,000. Unit 34-103 was well maintained with a nice yard, but no upgrades to the kitchens or bathrooms. It sold for $535,000 in February of 2022. That is a 46.5% difference in value.
  • I compared two one bedroom, one bath listings in building 2 at Maui Vista. This is a vacation rental friendly condo in Kihei. Both units appeared to be in original condition. Unit 2203 sold for $420,000 in February of 2020. Unit 2308 sold for $572,000 in January. That is a difference of 36.19%.

While this is a relatively small sample size, it does provide both homes and condos over a pretty broad area of the island. Overall, here are my takeaways from this number crunching exercise. You are looking a bare minimum of 27% appreciation over the last two years with some properties seeing more significant increases. There is some variability in appreciation around the island. While all these prices are moving in the same direction at this point,some are taking a little longer to get there.

The significant price increases appear to be continuing. Anecdotally, bidding wars feel that much more competitive of late. In turn, it feels as if values skipped up on some of the properties going under contract over the last few weeks. It will be interesting to see if the sales numbers corroborate this in the months ahead.

Hoku’ula Lottery Update

Last week I posted about the lottery for first phase of the market priced listings at Hoku’ula. This development in Hali’imaile is one of the largest developments ever in Upcountry Maui. It will include 196 total homes with 98 work force housing homes and 98 market rate housing homes. The work force housing units are fully reserved. The developer held a lottery for the first phase of the market rate housing at the end of last week. Per the developer’s representatives, 15 homes went under contract as a result of the lottery. That is half of the 30 homes in the first phase. Registrations for the first phase may still be submitted. Contact The Maui Real Estate Team for buyer representation if you are interested in the development.

Final Thoughts

Well, so far so good on making this a regular feature of our blog. We are hoping that this is valuable tool for buyers and sellers trying to get a better sense of the market. Feel free to reach out if there are any specific things you might want us to discuss in future volumes of the musings. Contact The Maui Real Estate Team if you need assistance buying and selling property.

Pete Jalbert

Maui Real Estate Blog

Maui Market Musings Vol. I

Welcome to Maui Market Musings! This is a new feature that I hope to post weekly or at least every other week. This is going to be something of a grab bag post where I hit on a variety of topics relevant to the Maui Real Estate market and beyond.

January Statistics

The first month of the year is done and dusted and that means the Realtor Association of Maui January stats are out. Here are some numbers worth highlighting.

  • Pending Home and Condo sales decreased in January compared to January of 2021 by 21.3 and 31.3% respectively.
  • The decrease in activity is due largely to decreased supplies. The volume of homes and condos for sale are down 34.6% and 75.8%. As it stands, there is about 1.8 months of home inventory and .8 months of condo inventory on the market. Six months supply is typical of a balanced market.
  • The limited supply is translating into upward price pressure. The median home price increased 18.1% compared to last January and the median condo price rose 26.3%. Those numbers aren’t an exact reflection of changes in property values compared to last January as the composition and price point of properties sold is going to have an impact. That said, it is safe to say that prices are up substantially.
  • Limited supply is meaning that properties are selling faster. Days on market for homes decreased 26.8% compared to last January. Days on market for condos decreased 39.9%.
  • Current market conditions also mean that properties are selling for a higher percentage of list price. On average homes are selling for 100% of list price and condos are selling for 100.1% of list price.

What Does This Mean for Buyers and Sellers?

How are these numbers translating to what we are seeing first hand in the market? We listed a nice home in Haiku last week. Within that first week, we showed the property just over 20 times, received 12 offers and went under contract for well over asking price.

Buyers should expect that properties priced close to market will attract multiple offers. The buyers winning these bidding wars are being aggressive in some cases going well over asking price and waiving some if not all contingencies. Sellers who price close to market can expect a lot of showing activity with their home.

The pricing close to market component is important. While some buyers are really reaching, some sellers may be overshooting the market. We are seeing this in particular with some higher priced parts of the market. Last year, twelve homes sold in the Lanikeha subdivision. The average sales price for the twelve homes was $2,942,347 and the median price was $2,879,500. As of right now, there are seven active listings, no pending sales and no sales. The average price of the $5,439,714 and a median price of $5,200,000. Only one of the seven listings is priced below last year’s high sale for the neighborhood. While the year is young, this is one area where homes are currently sitting.

The inventory crunch, short days on market and rising prices are not unique to Maui. This is a national trend. Mike Simonsen of Altos Research tracks this on a weekly basis and he reported new national lows for inventory last week.

It’s worth reading through Mike’s whole thread. He also touches on Interest rates. Speaking of rates…

Rising Interest Rates

Mike’s thread mentions the impact of rates on the market. On a national level, the market appears to be relatively unfazed by the raise in rates. It hasn’t been insubstantial. Talking to one Maui lender today, she indicated rates are up .5 to .6 percent over the lat 45 days and .35% in just the last 15 days. With rates predicted to rise further, it will be interesting to watch the market overall and the lower price points in particular. Maui residents are already struggling with affordability.

The Vacation Rental Condo Market

One of the stronger areas of the Maui market is vacation rental condos. Low inventory and strong demand is pushing prices up. Last week, I came upon an an analysis that claimed Maui is the best market for vacation rental investments in 2022. I have to say, I question that analysis. There is no doubt Maui is a desirable place to own a vacation rental condo, but that isn’t based on rental returns. It seems if anything that the vacation rental market is doing well in spite of rental returns. While rental rates are going up, they aren’t quite keeping up with appreciation. Buyers looking at proformas for vacation rental condos are finding mostly 2-3% CAP rates. It seems like more buyers are looking at their condos as use assets where income helps to defer a portion of the costs.

Last Day for Hoku’ula Lottery Registration

Tomorrow is the last day to register for the Hoku’ula market rate housing lottery . This Upcountry subdivision will bring a significant amount of new inventory to market over the next year. There are already 98 workforce housing homes under contract with 98 market units coming. The price point for the homes available range from $1,285,000 to $1,650,000. The neighborhood offers good views, new construction, and about as convenient an Upcountry location as you could find.

Contact The Maui Real Estate Team

We hope this first edition of the Maui Market Musings offer some insight into current conditions. Contact The Maui Real Estate Team if there are any subjects you want us to touch on or if you need assistance. We look forward to being of service.

Pete Jalbert

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

Support Maui Farmers

Maui Farmers need support now more than ever. With many island restaurants closed and others limited to take out only, a key market for local farmers dried up. The best way to support local farmers at this time is by purchasing CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) boxes.

One of my personal silver linings coming out of Covid-19 is my family’s purchase of CSA boxes. I always wanted to eat more locally. I knew CSAs were a great way to do it. For one reason or another, we just never subscribed. It took Covid-19 to change things. We are now eating really fresh produce every day.

I put together a list of local farmers and agribusinesses that offer box pick ups or delivery services below. Some farms are seeing pretty strong demand and only have wait lists. I included links to the Instagram profiles of a number of farms. That seems to be one of the best ways to find pick up information and availability.

Maui CSA Boxes

  • Kumu Farms. My family ordered Kumu Farms Boxes over the last few weeks. We typically receive a variety of greens and vegetables, fruit, locally grown coffee and a choice of ground local venison or beef. The box we purchase costs $50. They have fruit boxes starting at $30 and general fruit and vegetable boxes starting at $40. Kumu Farms Instagram Page
  • Okoa Farms. Okoa Farms is well known to those who attend the island’s Upcountry or Central Maui farmer’s markets. Their boxes can be customized. They have a minimum charge of $50 for delivery or $20 for a box at one of their pick up locations. Okoa Farms Instagram Page.
  • Kahomoku Farms This farm also happens to be run by Grammy Award Winning Hawaiian Musician. Boxes of fruits and veggies start at $25. George Kahomoku on Instagram.
  • Island Fresh Delivery This CSA offers all vegetable options, fruit and vegetable options and Juices. You can also include add-ons that range from CDB to Macadamia Nuts. Boxes start at $30. Island Fresh Delivery Instagram
  • Pono Grown Farms Located up in beautiful Olinda. They provide a variety of vegetables and fruit in their boxes. Boxes for pick up start at $25. Pono Grown Farm Instagram
  • Keokea Fields Fresh greens and veggies. $30 for a box.
  • Kupa’a Farms A Kula farm offering local vegetables and fruit. Their CSA is currently full and are taking people on a wait list. Kupaa Farms Instagram
  • O’o Farm Fresh greens, herbs, vegetables and fruits. Available for pick up in Kula and Lahaina. Boxes are $40
  • Maui Grown Organics Organic fruit, vegetables and herbs. Boxes range from $40-$333.
  • Lapa’au Farms Another Olinda based farm offering vegetables and fruit. This farm is unique in that they are also offering Oyster Mushrooms that they grow at the farm. This CSA is full and taking people on their wait list. Lapa’au Farm Instagram
  • Moku Roots This West Maui vegan/ zero waste eatery is offering produce boxes including local fruits and vegetables for $35.
  • Ono Organic Farms This East Maui farm offers fruits and vegetables. They have farm box pick up at Queen Ka’ahumanu Center. They also run a farm stand out in Hana. Ono Organic Farms Instagram
  • Coconut Information This Haiku farm/cooking school is offering weekly CSAs with Coconut Milk, Coconut Oil, Coconut Water and miscellaneous produce. Boxes are $75. Coconut Information Instagram
  • Volcano Medicine CSA This Kula CSA has a few spots left. They are asking for a ten week commitment for $350. Produce boxes will include local fruit and vegetables.
  • Graze and Sprout Farm Sunflower shoots, microgreens, pastured eggs and sourdough bread. $25 for a box. Pickups in Kihei and Makawao.

Farmer’s Markets

There are still Farmer’s Markets happening on the island. Here is a list and scheduled times. These are great places to support not just farmers but some of the islands other food businesses. Markets are using a variety of means to try to ensure a safe experience for shoppers and vendors.

  • Wednesday Farmer’s Market at Waipuna Chapel, Kula 8:00 AM-1:00 PM
  • The Upcountry Farmer’s Market is one of if not the largest farmer’s markets on island. The last few weeks, they were doing a drive through farmer’s market. It sounds like they are going to be trying a different set up this week that allows pedestrian traffic. All attendees will be required to wear masks. The market runs from 7:00 AM to 11:00 AM behind Long’s Drugs at the Kulamalu Town Center.
  • The Saturday Market at Oskie Rice Arena in Olinda. The market runs from 12:00 PM-4:00 PM.
  • Queen Ka’ahumanu Shopping Center Farmer’s Market. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM.
  • Lipoa Street Farmer’s Market Check their Facebook page for items that can be pre-ordered for Saturday Pick up.
  • Napili Farmer’s Market Wednesday and Saturday’s 8:00 AM-12:00PM.

This is a list of Farmers Market that I am aware of that are still operating during stay at home and social distancing restrictions. Send us a message if you are aware of other Farmer’s Markets on island continuing to operate.

Maui Fish and Meat

Other Local Agricultural Products Available

These are some of the other Maui made products available at this time for pick-up or delivery.

  • Stacey’s Garden Delivers offers delivery of their own products as well as products from Pono Pies, Maiden Hawaiian Naturals, Maui Tonics, Maui Wild Cultures, Maui Raw, Firmiana’s Cultured Vegetables, Maka’alae Kombucha and Farm Fresh Eggs. We ordered products from Stacey’s, Pono Pies, and Maui Wild Cultures and they were all delicious. The breadfuit and chorizo tamales from Pono Pies are not on the menu, but worth inquiring about.
  • Haleakala Creamery allows you to pick up goat cheese, goat yogurt and goat ice cream right from the gate of the farm.
  • Maui Tonics offers delivery of a variety of tonics using local tumeric and ginger.
  • Broth Box from Alive and Well A variety of broths and cold pressed juices. The box may be customized with produce, meats and more. Available for pick up and delivery.
  • Haleakala Supah Shots Locally made elixirs including a spicy mix of chili pepper water and juices.

Other Resources

I found a lot of these farms and vendors on the Eat Local Maui Facebook Page. There are smaller farms that pop up on this page here and there that don’t seem to have any webpage or social media presence. It is worth keeping an eye on this page for more local produce options, farmer’s market information, food truck information and more.

The list above is not 100% comprehensive. While I spent a fair amount of time putting it together, I am sure there are others that I overlooked. Contact the Maui Real Estate Team if you are a local farmer or business that would like to be added to this list.

I know Covid-19 is bringing a lot of attention to local farms. Let’s hope that local interest and support persists when this pandemic passes.

Pete Jalbert