Maui Real Estate Blog

Kapalua February 2022 Market Update

If there is any one community within Maui that epitomizes the Covid era real estate boom, it is Kapalua. This resort community on Maui’s Northwest coastline was always an appealing locale for a segment of Maui’s luxury property buyers. That said, inventory tended to be higher and days on market tended to be longer than other resort areas like Wailea and to a lesser extent Ka’anapali. With that context, the recent surge in activity in Kapalua is that much more astounding. In this post, we take a look at some of the numbers from the last 18 plus months of sales. We also give a few thoughts towards the end of the post on the market outlook for 2022.

Kapalua Homes

Kapalua was one of the first luxury home markets on the island to show signs of life in the second half of 2020. The strong performance continued into 2021. The numbers below represent highlights from the 2021 market activity.

Kapalua 2021 Home Sale Notable Numbers

  • Maui Realtors reported 29 homes sold within the Kapalua Resort during 2021. That is a 70% increase over 2020.
  • The 29 sales is the highest ever number for a single year in Kapalua. It is worth noting that 2020 was the second strongest year ever for home sales in Kapalua.
  • The median price of homes sold during 2021 is $4,135,000. The average price is $4,972,327.
  • The highest priced transaction closed for $15,000,000. That was for 9 Kapalua Place. This beachfront home includes over 7,000 square feet of living space on a .7 acre parcel of land.
  • That was one of three closes over $10,000,000. The other two sales included another beachfront home in the Kapalua Place subdivision and a home in Kapalua Plantation Estates.
  • Pineapple Hill was the busiest subdivision for transactions with 15 closes. Plantation Estates saw the next most activity with 6 sales. They were followed by Honolua Ridge with 4 sales, the aforementioned Kapalua Place’s 2 closes and a single home sale in Mahana Estates.

Behind the Numbers

As mentioned above, Kapalua’s market surge started in the second half of 2020. Specifically, it was the last quarter of 2020 when transaction volume picked up. Nine of seventeen sales for the year closed in November and December. The upturn in market activity happened earlier than the Wailea Market, a larger resort community with typically much higher sales volumes. What was it that drove earlier buyer interest in Kapalua? Well it wasn’t any new resort amenities. The biggest driver was the proximity to one of the island’s better private schools.

Early in the pandemic, Kapalua became a Zoom town. A large number of Silicon Valley employees moved to Maui to work remotely. Initially, they came as renters. Those with families had their kids learning remotely for the last couple of months of the 19/20 school year. At the start of the 2020/21 school year, the enrollment of Maui Prep ballooned by 100 students. All of the new students came from Silicon Valley families. The school, located minutes from Kapalua, offered a draw to remote workers that a place like Wailea did not. Many of the families that started as renters began to purchase property in the fall of 2020 and that momentum continued into 2021.

It’s worth looking at the 2021 sales more closely as market conditions were not uniform throughout the year. Twenty of the twenty-nine sales in Kapalua occurred in the first six months of the year. During the first part of the year, there was still a decent supply of homes for sale. The decreased sales volume during the second half of the year can be attributed to a combination of reduced inventory, seasonality and perhaps slightly lesser demand. Though, I would put inventory at the top of that list by a good margin. Scarcity remains a driving factor going into 2022. I will comment more on that in the market outlook below.

Kapalua Condos

The Kapalua Resort set a new record for condo sales in 2022. The dynamics driving the market were a little different than the home market. It was less of a case of remote workers and more a case of the Covid second home boom. The numbers below show some of the 2021 market activity followed by a few more thoughts on what drove the numbers.

Kapalua 2021 Condo Market Numbers

  • Maui Realtors reported 145 sales in the Kapalua Resort during 2021. That is a 363% increase in activity over 2020.
  • For additional context, the next closest year for condo sales in Kapalua is 2004. There were 87 closed transactions that year.
  • The median price of the condos sold in 2021 is $1,220,000. The average price is $2,060,805.
  • The highest priced transaction closed for $13,295,000. That type of cash buys you a 4,050 square foot, four bedroom, four and a half bathroom unit at the Montage Residences Kapalua Bay with stunning views. This is the highest ever sales price for a condo in Kapalua.
  • The lowest priced condo sold in 2021 closed for $600,000. That sale was a 1 bedroom, 1.5 bath unit at Kapalua Golf Villas.
  • Golf Villas experienced the most sales activity in the resort with 44 closes in 2021. Kapalua Bay Villas came next with 30 closed transactions followed by Kapalua Ridge with 28 closed sales and Montage with 27. On the quieter end of the spectrum, 6 sales closed in Coconut Grove, 5 closed in the Ironwoods and 5 closed at the Ritz Carlton Residences.
  • 2021 was the busiest year for transaction volume on MLS records for the Ridge, Bay Villas, Golf Villas and Montage. It was the busiest year since 2003 at Coconut Grove and the busiest since 2004 at the Ironwoods.

Digging into the Condo Numbers

The Kapalua Condo market didn’t fully kick into gear until early 2021. Market activity more closely resembled the activity in other condo markets around the island. A modest uptick in activity in late 2020 followed by frenzied activity after the new year. While activity slowed a little in the second half of the year, sales volumes for Kapalua condos did not dip to the same extent as the home market. Forty-six percent of all condo sales occurred in the second half of 2021 compared to only 31% of home sales. While supply shrank as the year went on, there was still enough supply available to meet the considerable demand.

Kapalua Land

I usually don’t spend too much time discussing land sales when I provide these community level market updates. That said, the 2021 Kapalua land market can’t be ignored. The increase in transaction volume compared to 2020 was bigger than any other segment of the Kapalua market.

Notable Land Sale Numbers

  • There were 60 lots sold in Kapalua during 2021. That calculates to a 750% increase in transaction volume compared to 2020!
  • The 60 sales is almost 1/4 of the 247 all time sales in Kapalua reported on the MLS.
  • Mahana Estates led the way with 42 closed transactions. These were new developer sales.
  • Honolua Ridge saw the second most sales activity with 11 sales. Realtors reported 5 sales in Plantation Estates and 2 sales in Pineapple Hill Estates.
  • The median price of lots sold is $995,000. The average price is $1,156,000.
  • The highest priced sale closed for $2,600,000. The 2.7 acre lot in Plantation Estates offers beautiful views towards Honolua Bay.
  • The lowest priced lot closed for $700,000 in Mahana Estates.

Looking Behind the Land Numbers

This was the year of the great Mahana Estates land rush. At the start of the pandemic, I don’t think anyone would have predicted this development would sell out by the end of 2021. Market response for was tepid the first few years the development was on the market. One lot sold in 2019 and two in 2020. There were a couple of different days in February where 3 lots closed in a day. It will be interesting to watch this development evolve and build out. There were a fair share of bulk purchases among this year’s Mahana Estates Sales. Were those land speculators, spec builders or long term holds?

The 18 non-Mahana Ridge sales are nothing to sneeze at. Those 18 sales alone are more than any one year since 2005. The lack of inventory in the home market during parts of 2021 definitely pushed some buyers to build.

2022 Market Outlook

Inventory, or lack thereof, appears to be the biggest market driver to start 2022. At the time of this post, there are only 6 active Kapalua Homes for Sale. Three additional homes are under contract. As of right now, there are only 12 active Kapalua Condo listings. It is worth noting that only 2 of the active condo listings are priced for less than $2,000,000. An additional 12 condos are currently under contract. Land is even more scarce. There is only one lot for sale in Kapalua. An additional 9 lots are under contract.

It’s safe to say that 2022 shouldn’t threaten the record sales volumes of 2021. The question is whether we will see any inventory relief during the year. Will some of the people remote working list their homes if they go back to the mainland? Will the high prices entice any sellers to come to market?

What about demand? As of right now, demand appears to be pretty strong for the limited inventory available. That is putting upward pressure on pricing. Looking forward, are there any other threats to demand looming on the horizon? There is a lot of discussion about rising interest rates and their impact on the national real estate market. There are arguments on both sides, but a lot of economists seem to be downplaying the potential impact on buyer demand due to the acute supply issues. That said, you would think the impact might be even less in Kapalua where 62% of last year’s sales were cash.

I would argue that state of the overall economy and the trajectory of the stock market are likely to have a bigger impact. Over the years, we’ve noted something of a correlation between sales volume in the resort communities and the stock market. Good years for the Dow means more financial power for discretionary purchases like second homes.

The last question is whether we might see any buyer resistance on pricing. In particular, I wonder about the impact in the vacation rental condo market. Maui has always been a place where more people bought for love than rental returns. That said, the recent price increases resulted in even smaller cap rates. Will the combination of limited returns on higher purchase prices shrink the buyer pool at all? Thus far, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Contact The Maui Real Estate Team

Contact The Maui Real Estate team if you are considering buying or selling property in Kapalua. We would welcome the chance to discuss market conditions specific to your interests.

Pete Jalbert

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