Maui Real Estate Blog

Maui Vacation Rental Condos September 2021 Market Update

I challenge you to find a segment of the Maui Real Estate market that experienced a more drastic reversal of fortune over the last 12 months than vacation rental condos. With tourism shut down starting in April of 2020, demand for vacation rental condos shrank rapidly over the spring and summer. With no rental revenue to offset costs and economic forecasts calling for a slow rebound in tourism, many owners opted to sell. Inventory rose steadily through spring, summer and early fall. On October 15, 2020, the state rescinded the mandatory quarantine rules for incoming travelers. Residents and vacationers who tested negative could avoid the Covid vaccine. This marked the first step in a gradual shift in the market.

For the first couple of months after tourism reopened, visitor numbers were a fraction of what the island experienced pre-Covid. That said, buyer demand ticked upwards and supply slowly ticked downwards as soon as visitors returned. With the start of the new year, a significant shift occurred. Visitor numbers recovered far faster than anticipated. Apparently, many of the visitors were vacation rental condo buyers.

Soaring Sales and Shrinking Inventory

Pending condo sales on Maui since January 2020. The collapse in demand right after the start of the pandemic is clear as is the slow recovery. In January 2021, the market hits another gear entirely. This chart includes both vacation rental and non-vacation rental condos.
Condo inventory on Maui since January 2020. This chart includes both vacation rental and non-vacation rental condos.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. These two pictures tell the tale of the Maui Vacation Rental condo market pretty succinctly. Buyers returned to the market in big numbers in early 2021. With a pretty healthy inventory of condos to choose from, the volume of transactions grew quickly. Buyer activity reached its peak in March with 290 condos under contract. Volume started to dip in April. While there was a minor uptick in May, the number of properties under contract continues to fall.

The healthy inventory of condos in January and February quickly gave way to scarcity. A ravenous buyer pool quickly chewed through much of the inventory. Anecdotally, I started to get a lot of e-mails from other Realtors beating the bushes searching for unlisted properties in late March and April. The inventory continued to fall through late Spring and the summer. The contrast between this summer and last summer is pretty stark. While many popular condo complexes had double digit inventory in the summer of 2020, most currently have a handful of active listings at most. The overall condo inventory is less than 25% of last summer.

Shrinking inventory is in turn impacting the volume of properties under contract. There are far less active condos for sale now than there were that went under contract in March back in the peak of the market. It is difficult to compare demand now compared to demand back in the late winter and early spring. Anecdotally, it feels like demand is down some. That said, with such limited supply market dynamics feel similar to the spring when demand and supply were both higher. Plain and simple, it is a strong sellers market.

Strong Demand Plus Declining Inventory Equals Rising Prices

With strong demand and dwindling supply, it’s not surprising to see the trajectory of prices. While median prices on island tend to fluctuate based in part on the composition of condos sold within a given month, there are clear signs of price increases. The median price of the vacation rental condos sold in August of 2020 was $600,000. The median price of vacation rental condos sold in August of 2021 is $747,500.

Other Notable Numbers From the 2021 Maui Vacation Rental Condo Market

  • There were 880 vacation rental condos sold on Maui between January 1, 2021 and August 25th, 2021. That is a 221% increase in activity compared to the same period of 2020.
  • The average price of condos sold between January 1, 2021 and August 25th is $1,079,000 and the median price is $715,000.
  • The lowest priced vacation rental condo to close sold for $110,000. That was a leasehold, oceanfront, one bedroom at Maui Sands.
  • The highest priced transaction for the year to date closed for $14,250,000. This was for a 3 bedroom, 3.5 bathroom, direct beachfront unit at Wailea Beach Villas.
  • There was a lot of activity in the higher price ranges of the vacation rental condo market. The Wailea Beach Villas sale was one of two transactions that closed over $10,000,000. It was one of nineteen sales over $5,000,000 and one of ninety-two sales over $2,000,000.
  • Kihei was the busiest market with 278 closes.
  • Kapalua saw the biggest increase in activity of any area of the island compared to the same period of 2020. The 80 closes as of August 25th are a 615% increase in activity over the same period of 2020.
  • Kamaole Sands was the busiest individual condo development for sales. There were 33 condos sold for the year as of August 25th. Honua Kai was the next busiest with 31 condos sold.

Market Outlook for Buyers

As mentioned above, scarcity is a challenge for buyers in this market. The summer did not bring any inventory relief. July and August had the fewest new condo listings since April of 2020. It will be interesting to see if we see more inventory in the fall. Mainland markets are seeing a slow increase in inventory. Is our lack of inventory a reflection of different dynamics in play on Maui, or are we just seeing some lag before we catch up to trends on the mainland?

Might we also see a decrease in demand? A report from Redfin in June indicated demand for second and vacation homes started to shrink in the spring. They cited a variety of factors including decreased affordability and tighter underwriting standards. They also indicated that many that intended to buy a second home already made their purchase.

I can see where affordability could start to impact demand on Maui. Price increases over the year are significant. Those looking for strong cap rates are likely to be discouraged. While rents are up some this year thanks to strong demand, they aren’t quite keeping pace with appreciation. Buyers more focused on cap rate rather than personal use of the condos will be less likely to buy in the current market.

Last but not least, the adverse impact of Covid is not over. Cases are up sharply in Hawaii and hospitals are strained. Some tourists are heeding the governor’s calls to delay visits due to the recent surge. Hotels are reporting cancellations over the next two months. Will that dampen demand at all?

Market Outlook for Sellers

The market outlook for sellers is pretty clear. There is still good to strong demand and inventory is limited. Prices are up. If you aren’t using your condo or you are just looking to cash out, this is a good time to sell. It is worth noting that while the market is supporting strong appreciation, it is still quite possible to overprice your property. Approximately 53% of the current active listings are on the market for over 30 days. If you want to sell quickly, it still makes sense to look at recent comparable sales when formulating a pricing strategy.

Contact The Maui Real Estate Team

Contact The Maui Real Estate Team if you are interested in buying or selling a vacation rental condo on Maui. For buyers, we would be happy to review current inventory options in your price range and keep our ears open for unlisted properties. For sellers, we would welcome the opportunity to give you a free broker’s price opinion on your condo. We look forward to being of assistance.

Pete Jalbert

Maui Real Estate Blog

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.

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 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.

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.

Pete Jalbert

Maui Real Estate Blog

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.

Pete Jalbert

Maui Real Estate Blog

July 2016 Maui Real Estate Statistics

Why is the Maui condo market showing signs of improvement in 2016? That is one of the questions, I asked myself in this post and did my best to answer by taking a deeper dig into this year’s condo sales. You will find all of those thoughts and a rundown on the overall July 2016 Maui Real Estate Stats. Without further ado, here are the July numbers and some thoughts and context on the market.

July 2016 Median Prices and Sales Volumes

There were 93 home sales with a median price of $600,000. In July of 2015, there were 129 sales with a median price of $590,000. That is a 28% decrease in volume and approximately a 2% increase in median price.

There were 110 condos sold for a median price of $440,000. Last July, there were 94 sales with a median sales price of $394,000. That is a 17% increase in median price and a 12% increase in median price.

There were 7 land sales with a median price of $490,000. There were 13 sales in July of 2015 with a median price of $250,000. This is a 46% decrease in volume and a 96% increase in median price.

Notable Numbers from the July Real Estate Sales Activity
While compiling the sales volumes and median prices, I came across some other noteworthy numbers.

  • The highest priced home sale in July closed for $18,000,000. The Beachfront Oli Oli Kai Property on Stable Road in Spreckelsville closed for a new North Shore record. That said, it could of or maybe should have been classified as three separate sales. The property was condominiumized into three separate units. The three units included a total of three homes and approximately 3.6 acres.
  • This was one of 7 home sales over $2,000,000. The six other sales included three properties in Lahaina and one sale each in Wailea, Kula and Ka’anapali.
  • The highest priced condo sale closed for $3,850,000. The 3 bed, 3.5 bath unit at Montage Kapalua has 2,789 square feet of living space.
  • That was one of 10 sales over $1,500,000 to close in July. The other sales included 2 closes at Ho’olei and one each at Ka’anapali Ali’i, Sugar Cove, Wailea Elua, Makena Surf, Honua Kai, The Whaler and The Palms at Manele.
  • The high land sale for the month closed for $1,800,000. The four acre lot is located in Kapalua Plantation Estates. There was one other $1,000,000 plus land sale this month. That 17.47 acre lot is located in the Makila Ranch Area of Launiupoko.
  • There were 13 bank owned properties that closed in July. That is down from the 20 that closed in July of 2015. There was only one successful short sale completed last month compared to the 8 completed in July of 2015.

New July Pending Sales Contracts
We track the number of properties that go pending in a particular month. It gives us a more recent data point on buyer demand and it also helps us to better suss out whether the prior month’s sales activity is something of a one off event or part of a broader trend. I will spell that out a little better as we review last month’s pending data.

Looking at the pending sales activity, the number of homes that went under contract in July was down compared to last year. The number of condos that went under contract was the same as last year and land pending sales were up ever so slightly. The decrease in home sales is part of what appears to be a continuing trend that we have seen over the last few months. Shrinking home inventory, particularly at lower price points, has led to a reduction in sales activity. The condo market appears to be continuing a recent trend of sales at or above last year’s totals. I will delve into that in more detail below. While land sales aren’t exactly booming, it was good to see that they were up slightly from last year. That would suggest that the low July land sales numbers were more of an outlier than the start of any sort of trend.

Thoughts on the Market
We have discussed the decreases in home sales volumes over the last few posts, but I haven’t talked a whole lot about the increase in condo sales activity. Of the 7 months of sales this year, one month had the same sales volume as the same month from 2015, and one month was down from the same month last year. Five of the months have experienced greater sales volume than the same month of 2015. The last four months have all seen an increase over the same month of 2015. Over that period from April-July, sales volumes are up 14% compared to the same period of 2015. That raised the question of why we may be seeing an increase in activity. I dug into the sales data a few different ways to try to see if I could come to any conclusions as to what is driving the increase in sales activity.

The first thing I did was break down the sales volume over the last four months by price point.

I can’t say that this breakdown provided me with a clear picture of the driving force behind price increases. We can see an increase in sales below $300,000 and an increase in the $1,500,000 and higher range. The middle price ranges tend to be a mixed bag. The biggest increase in activity of any price range occurred between $500,000-$749,999. I can’t say off the top of my head why that would have occurred. The middle of the market, so to speak, also included the only two price points where sales were down compared to last year. The remaining price ranges saw relatively limited increases over 2016.

Not feeling like I had a clear answer, I took a look at two other data points. The first data point is is whether or not the property allows short term rentals. This data is somewhat flawed as it is not a mandatory field in our multiple listing service. In other words, not every condo sale that occurred over the last month reported whether or not the condo allowed vacation rentals.

It is pretty clear that there was an increase in sales for properties that are reported to be vacation rentals. I calculated a 26% increase over the period between April 1, 2015 and July 31, 2015. It was interesting to note that the increase in vacation rental condo sales was particularly evident in the $500,000-$749,999 price range. That appears to point to a significant driver for sales activity in that price range.

The one other data point I wanted to look at was new developer sales. New developments can be market drivers that boost the overall sales activity. In some cases, the boost can mask other market trends. An example of this is when Honua Kai started to close a lot of condos while we were still in the thick of the downturn. Overall condo demand was low, but sales numbers were relatively high as buyers were closing on contracts that were originally written pre-construction during the peak of the real estate boom. From what I could glean, we haven’t seen a similar phenomenon over the last four months. There was an uptick in new development sales. I counted 29 new development sales from April 1, 2016-July 31, 2016. That is up from 23 sales during that same period last year. However, the vast majority of these contracts were written recently.

While I can’t say I have definitive answers on what is driving the recent uptick in condo sales, the data above points to three price ranges where the improvement was most prevalent and a type of condo that saw more activity. Based on anecdotal evidence and the quantitative evidence, I am going to postulate a few reasons for the increases in each of these segments. The increase in sales at the low end is a reflection of the continued strength of the buy over renting argument on Maui. Maui rental rates have soared. Low borrowing costs make owning a number of Maui condo less expensive than renting. As long as rents remain high and rates remain low and inventory is sufficient, that part of the market should continue to be busy. I can’t say definitively why the high end market is outperforming last year in terms of sales. When I look at the luxury home market, sales totals between 2015 and 2016 have been almost identical. It just seems as if high end buyers are gravitating more towards condos this year. I believe the increase in vacation rental condo sales, and in the $500,000-$749,999 range in particular, is a reflection of pretty strong consumer confidence among some mainland buyers. West Coast real estate markets have been strong and the stock market has performed well. This means more cash for discretionary purchases like a vacation rental condo on Maui.

A Few Closing Thoughts for Maui Buyers and Sellers
I think there are some things to be learned for the overall Maui market from my review of the condo numbers. The biggest is that there is variability in the strength of the market by price point. I think you can also add geographic variability as another factor. Not all communities are seeing equal levels of buyer demand. While these stats tend to paint the market in broad brushes, how buyers and sellers approach the Maui market is going to be a reflection of their specific segment of the market. Contact The Maui Real Estate Team if you are interested in buying or selling a property on Maui. We would welcome the chance to hear about your needs and to discuss market conditions that are most relevant to you.

Pete Jalbert

Maui Real Estate Blog

June 2016 Maui Real Estate Statistics

It’s almost the end of the month so I wanted to make sure I squeezed in a June stats post.This is something of an abbreviated post with more numbers and less analysis. I will give a few more thoughts on the state of the market in the July stats. Without further ado, here are the numbers.

June Real Estate Sales Volumes

This chart shows the June 2016 Maui County Real Estate Sales Volumes compared to June of 2015.

There were 98 homes sold in June with a median home price of $657,000. Last June there were 101 homes sold with a median price of $650,000. That is a 3% drop in sales volume and a 1% increase in median price when comparing this June to last June.

There were 110 condos sold in June with a median price of $384,000. In June of 2015, there were 99 condos sold with a median price of $355,000. That is an 11% increase in sales volume and an 8% increase in median price.

There were 13 lots sold in June with a whopping median price of $1,200,000. Last June, there were 14 sales with a median price of $420,000. That is a 7% decrease in volume and a 285% increase in median price.

Notable numbers from the June Real Estate Sales Activity
While compiling the stats above, I came across some other notable numbers worth sharing from the June sales activity.

  • The highest home sale price in June was $7,000,000. This Makena property includes almost 10 acres of land and two pole homes. It is close to Big Beach.
  • That was one of 5 home sales over $2,000,000. The other sales were for properties in Kihei, Kapalua, Launiupoko (Lahaina), and Hana.
  • The highest price condo to close in June is located in Wailea. The 3 bedroom, 3.5 bath condo Ho’olei in Wailea sold for $2,850,000.
  • That was one of 8 condo sales in June sold for $1,500,000 or more. There was one more Ho’olei sale and two sales in Wailea Elua. There were individual sales of $1,500,000 or higher at Ka’anapali Ali’i, Maui Ka’anapali Villas, Honua Kai and Makena Surf.
  • The highest priced land transaction closed for $2,950,000. This oceanfront lot in the Kuau area of Paia consists of 18,861 square feet of land.
  • This was one of 7 land sales over $1,000,000 in June. That is a pretty extraordinary number. Five of these sales were in Launiupoko. They were part of the new Makila Ranch subdivision of Launiupoko. The one other sale was in Haiku.
  • There were 12 bank owned sales that closed in June. That was down just a little from the 13 REO sales in June of 2015.
  • There were 2 short sales that closed in June. That is down significantly from the 8 short sale transactions that closed in June of 2015.

June Pending Sales
All of the numbers discussed prior to this point were from properties that sold in June. We also wanted to take a look at the properties that went under contract with buyers in June. This will give us a little better sense of more recent market activity and demand.

This chart compares the number of properties that went pending in June of 2016 with the pending sales from June of 2015.

June marked the second month in a row where pending home sales were down. I don’t believe this is a reflection of decreased demand as it is a reflection of limited inventory for first time home buyers. I expect this trend to continue with lower sales volumes and higher median prices due the decreased number of entry level homes available for sale. The condo market continues to follow recent trends of outperforming 2015. The land market pending sales are skewed a little by new development sales that showed 0 days on market. These were contracts that were likely written before this month.

Wrapping it all up
I don’t have a whole lot of in depth analysis to offer this month. We have seen fairly steady market demand overall with pockets of greater activity based on geography and price point around the island. As mentioned directly above, I believe the lack of lower priced home inventory will continue to impact the total numbers of homes sold. Contact The Maui Real Estate Team if you are thinking of sticking your toes into the waters of the Maui Real Estate market. We would welcome the chance to sit down and learn about your real estate needs and give our thoughts on market conditions specific to the properties that might fit your needs.

Pete Jalbert

Maui Real Estate Blog

May 2016 Maui Real Estate Statistics

Don’t be surprised to see a big spike in median home prices in Maui in the near future. Read on to find out why. This is our look at the May Maui Real Estate Statistics. We take a look at median prices, sales volumes, new pending sales in May and notable numbers. We also give a few thoughts on what it all means. Without further ado, here are the May numbers.

Maui Sales Volumes and Median Prices

This chart compares real estate sales volumes by property type for May 2015 and May 2016

By my count, there were 94 homes sold in May with a median sales price of $622,500. In May of 2015, there were 88 sales with a median price of $607,097. That calculates to a 7% increase in sales volume and a 2.5% increase in median price.

There were 118 condos sold in May with a median sales price of $423,500. Last May, there were 110 sales with a median price of $459,500. That calculates to a 7% increase in sales volume and an 8% decrease in median price.

There were 14 land sales with a median price of $378,500 in May. There were 12 sales in May of 2015 with a median price of $380,000. That is roughly a 17% increase in sales and around a half of a percent drop in median price.

Notable Numbers from the May Maui Real Estate Sales Activity

  • The highest priced home sale last month on Maui was $6,000,000. The oceanfront estate in the Kuau area of Paia included a 4 bedroom, 4.5 bath home with 6,258 square feet of living space, a separate 1 bedroom, 1 bath cottage with 1,0125 square feet of living space on a 1.28 acre lot.
  • That was one of 7 home sales over $2,000,000 in Maui during May. The other big closes included 2 sales in Wailea, 2 sales in Kapalua, and one sale each in Kula and Lahaina.
  • The highest priced condo transaction last month closed for $4,150,000. That was a 3 bedroom, 3.5 bath condo with 2,789 square feet of living space at Montage Kapalua.
  • The Montage sale was one of seven condo closes of $1,500,000 or greater in May. The other closes included 4 sales at Honua Kai, a Kapalua Ironwoods and a Mahana. I thought it was notable that all of those sales were in West Maui.
  • The highest priced land sale for the month of May closed for $2,700,000. That lot is .429 acres of beachfront in North Kihei.
  • There were 9 bank owned sales that closed in May of this year. Last year, there were 13 bank owned sales reported on the MLS.
  • There were only 4 short sales this May. That was the same number as last May. Short sales remain a relatively small percentage of the total sales. With continued appreciation, that should remain the case for the remainder of this market cycle.

New Pending Sales
The bulk of the sales reported above went under contract sometime in March or April. To give us a sense of more current market demand, the chart below shows the number of properties that went under contract in May compared to the numbers in May of 2015.

A comparison of the number of properties that went under contract by property type in Maui County during May 2015 and May 2016.

This is the second month in a row when pending home sales have gone down. I would expect that we might see a dip in actual sales volume in June. Condos saw an increase in pending sales in May. That marks the 4th straight month of increased pending sales for condos compared to 2015. That bodes well for sales over the next couple of months. Land pending sales were down slightly after a slower April. Land pendings have been more up and down this year. We are also talking about a much smaller sample of sales so we may just be seeing some month to month variability.

Thoughts on the May Numbers
I started this post with a teaser that Maui Median home prices are likely to see a healthy increase sometime in the coming months. That might sound like a contradiction to my suggestion that sales volume is going to be decreasing based on the dip in pending home sales. In fact, the decrease in sales and the increase in median prices are likely tied together.

Anecdotally, it feels like inventory has been shrinking significantly for homes. The local real estate association keeps track of this information. When I looked at their data for the last few months, inventory is down almost 9% compared to earlier this year. That said, this is actually fairly typical. It mirrors shifts in inventory that we saw last year. So what makes the current market look different?

I decided to take a deeper look at the current inventory. Currently, there are 517 homes that are active. Of the 517 homes that are active, 307 of the homes are priced $1,000,000 or higher. That is an impressive 59% of the inventory. In May, the median price for a home was $622,500. Of the 517 active homes listed, there were only 83 homes priced for at or below the median sales price of $622,500. That is just 16% of the inventory. I also looked at the pending home sales. There are currently 277 homes under contract. Of that total, 147 homes of the 277 pending homes are listed for at or below the median price of $622,500. That is 53% of the pending sales. Of the 277 pending sales, 52 of the homes were priced $1,000,000 or more. That is roughly 19% of the pending sales.

Chewing on the numbers above, it is clear that there is strong demand and shrinking inventory at or below the median of $622,500. While the pending sales will likely help keep the median prices in check next month, it is likely we will see median prices start to rise unless the inventory of homes at or below the current median increases significantly. The increase will stem from fewer lower priced sales and to a lesser extent upward price pressure from the lack of inventory. The lack of inventory will likely also keep sales volumes down.

While the home market under $700,000 appears to be continuing to be tight marketplace, that is not true of other price points and property types. The market conditions also differ in different geographic areas of the island. Overall, there is a lot of variability in this market. Contact The Maui Real Estate Team to discuss your specific real estate needs. We will give you our take on market conditions particular to your interests.

Pete Jalbert