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

April 2016 Maui Real Estate Statistics

As we hit the midpoint of May, I wanted to give an update on the April Maui Real Estate Statistics. April is the last month of Maui’s “peak” home buying season. Once we get past April 15th, visitor numbers typically dip reducing the number of potential buyers. That said, the bulk of the sales that we see in April are from contracts written earlier in the buyer season. These stats take a look at the number of properties sold, median prices, properties that went under contract in April and notable numbers from the April sales activity. I also give a few thoughts on the state of the market and the numbers that stood out to me in April. Without further ado, here are the April numbers.

April Maui Real Estate Sals Volumes

This chart compares the real estate sales volumes for Maui County during April 2015 and April 2016

There were 99 home sales reported in Maui County during April with a median sales price of $680,000. In April of 2015, there were 87 homes sold with a median price of $581,000. That calculates to roughly a 14% increase in sales activity and a 17% increase in median price.

There were 125 condo sales reported in Maui during April with a median price of $445,000. Last April there were 105 condos sold with a median price of $410,000. That is a 19% increase in sales volume and roughly a 9% increase in median price.

There were 10 land sales reported in Maui County for the month of April with a median sales price of $453,500. In April 2015, there were 12 sales with a median price of $417,500. That calculates to a 17% decrease in sales and an 8% increase in median price.

While compiling the median sales prices and sales volumes, I came up with some numbers that I thought were worth sharing from the April numbers.

Notable Numbers from the April Maui Real Estate Sales

  • The highest priced home sale in April closed for $6,550,000. This Kula Estate included a 4 bed, 4 bath home with 7,809 square feet of living space, 2 cottages, a 9 car garage building and a lot more on 23 acres.
  • It was a busy month for luxury home sales with 13 closes more than $2,000,000. In addition to the big Kula sale, there was one additional Kula sale, 3 sales in Wailea, 3 sales in the Launiupoko area of Lahaina and one sale each in Paia, Haiku, Kapalua, Kihei, and Ka’anapali.
  • The highest priced condo sale in April closed for $5,490,309. This Honua Kai Condo has 3 beds, 3.5 baths with 2,770 sq feet of living space and a 2,200 square foot lanai.
  • The big Honua Kai close was one of 13 condo sales over $1,500,000. Other sales included 4 more closes at Honua Kai, 2 Wailea Point Condos, a Montage Kapalua Bay, a Polo Beach, an Alaeloa, Mahana, Kaanapali Shores and a Masters Ka’anapali Unit.
  • The highest priced land sale in April closed for $850,000. The 1.45 acre condominiumized agricultural lot in Launiupoko has the entitlements to build the main house for the condo.
  • There were 11 bank owned transactions that closed in April. That is up slightly from the 9 bank owned sales in April of 2015. There were 4 successful short sales that closed in April 2016. That is the same total as April 2015.

Pending Real Estate Sales in April
Sales are a lagging indicator. They do not show current buyer demand. That is why our stats posts include the number of properties that go pending in that particular month.

This chart compares the number of properties that went under contract in Maui during April 2015 and April 2016

The number of properties that went pending in April was lower compared to April of 2015. New contracts for homes and lots were down while condos were up. I am not sure that is indicative of any sort of trend. As a whole it is something of a reversal of what we saw during the first quarter of the year where home sales were up significantly, land was up slightly and condo sales were down. One month of varied market activity is one thing. If we were to string a few months together, we might be seeing a trend.

Thoughts on the April Sales Number and The Maui Real Estate Market
Of all of the sales figures from April, the luxury property sales stood out the most to me. There were more homes sold over $2,000,000 in April than the previous three months of the year combined. The 13 condo sales over $1,500,000 wasn’t too far behind the 17 total sales during the first quarter of 2016. After a slower start to the year, there appears to be a little bit of a bump in high end sales activity. It makes some sense as the stock market has seen a recovery from the doldrums of earlier this year. It will be interesting to see if that was just one month or if this increased activity will sustain itself.

The high median sales price for homes was noteworthy. This was the second highest median sales price since the recovery of the real estate market. The high median is related to the high number of higher priced sales. It is also due in part to a shrinking inventory of lower priced homes. Rising values and just a tight overall market have resulted in a shrinking pool of homes available for sale for less than $500,000.

The condo market numbers were also somewhat notable in that sales were up and pending sales were up compared to April 2015. The condo market was slower during the first quarter of 2016 when compared to 2015. This may be a blip or it may be the start of an uptick in activity in the condo market. It will be interesting to see the numbers in the next couple of months.

While the April condo market bucked the first quarter trends, the home market continued the momentum of the first quarter. April home sales were well above the totals for April 2015. That made it something of a surprise to see April pending home sales were well below April 2015. As mentioned above, one month may just be due to variability in the market. We will see what unfolds in the coming months.

If you are a buyer or a seller thinking of entering the Maui Real Estate market, you will find that market conditions are not monolithic. While this blog post discusses the generalities of the Maui market, market demand and inventory varies by geography and price point. Contact The Maui Real Estate Team to discuss market conditions specific to your real estate needs. We look forward to being of service.

Pete Jalbert

Maui Real Estate Blog

Maui Luxury Home Market Update

Back when I posted the June Statistics, I promised a series of mid year updates on the real estate markets around the island. Mea Culpa. Sometimes, the rest of my work obligations get in the way of blogging. I have only been able to produce updates on Paia and Spreckelsville. Today, I wanted to turn my sights on the island’s luxury home market. Since it is the end of August, we are going to include all of the sales for the year date. We wanted to look at the volume of high end home sales around the island, notable sales and market conditions specific to some of the different neighborhoods and communities around the island.

Just from a methodology standpoint, I am classifying luxury homes as homes priced for $2,000,000 or more. We have used this $2,000,000 threshold for luxury homes regularly throughout our discussions of stats on this blog. That isn’t to say that there aren’t some very nice homes that have sold this year for less than $2,000,000.

Luxury Home Sales Volumes and Median Prices
There were 43 homes sold for $2,000,000 or more between January 1, 2015 and August 22, 2015. The median price of those sales was $3,196,000. Between January 1, 2014 and August 22, 2014, there were 45 homes sold. The median luxury home price for this period of 2014 was $3,800,000. When comparing this year to last year, there was roughly a 4% drop in sales volume and a 16% drop in median price. Just to be clear, the drop in median does not reflect any sort of change in values in the market. It is a reflection of the inventory sold.

Notable Maui Luxury Home Sales for the Year to Date
Here are some notable numbers that I thought were worth passing along from this year’s luxury home sales.

  • The highest priced sale thus far this year was for a home in the Keahou at Makena Subdivision. The 4 bed/ 4.5 bath home with 6,737 square feet of living space is located on 4.23 acres. It sold for a whopping $41,775,000. That isn’t just the high sales price for the year, it is the highest ever sale price for a home on Maui by a significant margin.
  • Including the Keahou at Makena sale, there were 8 sales over $5,000,000.
  • Wailea/Makena and Ka’anapali were the two busiest luxury home markets through the better part of the last eight months. Realtors reported nine sales in both of those markets.
  • Of the 43 luxury home sales for the year to date, 14 sales were either oceanfront or beachfront.
  • The 43 sales were spread among 12 different towns or resorts in Maui County. Hana and Molokai are two communities that haven’t seen all that many $2,000,000 sales over the previous few years, but they each had one $2,000,000 plus transaction this year.
  • The 43 sales included one bank owned property and two short sales.

A Look at Selected Luxury Home Markets Around the Island
The Maui Luxury home market is fairly diverse. Buyers typically focus their search on one or perhaps two areas of the island. With that in mind, we want to look at how some of the different areas around the island performed during the first eight months of 2015.

This chart compares the sales volume of homes over $2,000,000 around Maui County during the first eight months of 2014 and the first eight months of 2015.

Makena and Wailea
The Wailea and Makena area typically sees the most sales activity of any luxury community on island. That rang true during the first half of 2015 as it tied Ka’anapali for the busiest area for closes on the island. Digging a little deeper within the numbers, there were 8 sales in Wailea and just one sale in Makena. Within Wailea, there was a good cross section of neighborhoods that saw activity. There was a sale in Maluhia, a sale in Wailea Highlands, 2 sales in Wailea Golf Vistas, 2 sales in Wailea Golf Estates and 2 in Wailea Kialoa. The sales activity in Wailea was actually up a little from last year. There were 7 homes sold in Wailea proper in the first eight months of 2014.

Makena saw a drop in activity with the one solitary sale compared to 5 sales during the same period the year before. It is hard to say why there was a dip in sales in Makena. Some of that could just be a case of market variability and inventory. The one other factor that could be coming into play is the Makena Golf and Beach Club. This new development spearheaded by Discovery Land Company is located at and around the current Makena Golf and Beach Resort. This new community is set to be Maui’s most exclusive and high end luxury development to date. There are no single family homes for sale in the community yet, but there are some very high end home sites on the market in Maluaka Estates. There has been one lot sold and an additional three lots are under contract. All four lots have prices of $10,000,000 or more. It is possible that some of those buyers may have been potential buyers for other Makena properties. That said, Discovery Land Company is known to have a loyal following that might draw buyers who might not have otherwise looked at Maui.

I thought it was worth briefly revisiting the high sale in Makena. The sale at Keahou smashed the old Maui sales record by $14,700,000. I will be honest, the sales price is something of a head scratcher. The neighboring property is on a smaller piece of land and the house is 1,200 feet smaller, but it is currently listed for sale for $13,400,000. It seems like quite a stretch for there to be a $28,375,000 difference in value between the two homes. As much as it makes the new listing seem like a value, I think it points to the big sale as something of an outlier.

It will be interesting to see what happens over the rest of the year in Wailea and Makena. There is still a fair amount of inventory for buyers to choose from. There are twenty active home listings on the market currently with 7 properties in Makena and 13 in Wailea. Check out the full inventory of Makena and Wailea Homes for Sale on MauiRealEstate.com.

Ka’anapali
Ka’anapali had a pretty strong first eight months of the year with 9 total sales. That is up a little over the seven sales last year. The sales came from six different neighborhoods within Ka’anapali. There were 3 sales in the Pinnacle Neighborhood, 2 in the older section of Ka’anapli Golf Estates, 2 in the Summit at Ka’anpali, and a single sale in both Ka’anapali Hillside and Ka’anapali Coffee Farms. The high sale for the year to date was $3,500,000 for a four bedroom, three and a half bath home with 3,715 square feet of living space on a .65 acre lot in the Pinnacle.

There are 13 homes actively listed for over $2,000,000 in Ka’anapali. That should give buyers who prefer Ka’anapali some pretty good options. You can see the full inventory of Ka’anapali Homes for Sale on MauiRealEstate.com.

Kapalua
Kapalua has been the third busiest luxury home market this year with 7 closes over $2,000,000 for the year to date. All of the subdivisions of Kapalua with the exception of One Kapalua Place have seen sales activity thus far this year. There were 2 sales in Pineapple Hill Estates, 2 sales in Pineapple Hill, 2 sales in Plantation Estates and a single sale in Honolua Ridge. The high sale was $5,700,000 for the Honolua Ridge property. For a price tag of $5,700,000, that buyer now owns a four bedroom, five and a half bath home with 6,509 square feet of living space on a 2.82 acre lot. It has stunning views overlooking the renowned Honolua Bay.

The Kapalua market currently has 29 homes actively listed for sale. This is the biggest inventory of luxury homes of any of the communities around the island. This makes for an excellent selection for potential buyers. That may also allow for some opportunities. Typically, high end sellers have more staying power and will hold out for a premium. That said, you could make an argument that we have already seen a premium property go at a substantial discount with this year’s high sale in Kapalua. The home in Honolua Ridge sold for $4,000,000 below its original asking price and $1,995,000 below the list price at the time that it sold. You can see the full inventory of Kapalua Homes for Sale on MauiRealEstate.com.

Lahaina
There are two parts of Lahaina where high end home sale activity tends to be concentrated. The first is along the oceanfront. Homes along Front Street and Baby Beach typically start over $2,000,000. The other area is just south of the town in the neighborhood of Launiupoko. Launiupoko has been one of the stronger markets for high end sales over the last couple of years. There have been five sales in Lahaina thus far this year. Three of the sales have been in Launiupoko and two have been oceanfront homes. The highest priced sale was $3,500,000 for a 4 bedroom, 4 bathroom residential condominium with 3,675 square feet of living space on 8.513 acres.

There are 16 active luxury home listings for sale in Lahaina at this time. Eleven of the homes are in Launiupoko with the rest located along the ocean. Lahaina is another market where buyers have some pretty good options. Check out all of the current Lahaina Luxury Home listings on MauiRealEstate.com.

Upcountry
The Upcountry area of Maui tends to see fewer high end sales than the resort communities of the island. That said, there are some pretty spectacular estates located along the flanks of Haleakala. Kula and Olinda are places where you will see some bigger acreage estates. There are also some homes along Baldwin Avenue below Makawao that fit the luxury home mold. The first eight months of the year have seen only two sales above the $2,000,000 mark in the Upcountry Area. There was one sale in Kula and one sale in Olinda. Last year, there was just one sale over $2,000,000 in the Upcountry area in the first eight months of the year.

The highest priced sale Upcountry for the year to date was $3,500,000. That was for a 24 acre estate in Olinda. It included a 3,300 square foot, three bed, three bath home and a separate two bedroom cottage. The 24 acres property included three separate parcels of land all with their own water meter.

While there haven’t been a lot of high end home sales Upcountry this year, there has been an uptick in buyer activity over the last two months. There are four homes in Kula listed for $2,000,000 that are currently under contract. That is more than anywhere else on island. There are an additional 16 homes listed for more than $2,000,0000 currently on the market Upcountry. That means a pretty good selection for high end buyers looking for more privacy or a different feel than the resorts or the beach. You can see all of the Upcountry Luxury Home listings on MauiRealEstate.com.

North Shore
The North Shore of Maui has become an increasingly popular location for luxury home buyers over the last five years. Prior to this year, Paia and Spreckelsville was the focal point of high end sales while the Haiku market lagged behind. We saw something of a shift this year. The Spreckelsville market has had limited inventory, Paia has been quiet and Haiku has seen the strongest sales activity since the downturn began. There were three total sales over $2,000,000 through the first eight months of the year. Last year, there were six sales on the North Shore in the first eight month’s of the year. For this year’s sales, two were in Haiku and one in Spreckelsville. The Haiku sales were particularly notable as they were the first and second highest priced transactions for homes in that community. The highest sale was for the 38 acre Baldwin Estate. This historic property includes a 10 bedroom, 10.5 bathroom home with 8,716 square feet of living space as well as a number of outbuildings.

Buyers looking for North Shore luxury homes will find that market conditions are going to vary based on the specific community. Spreckeslville is arguably one of the only true seller’s markets for luxury homes on the island. There are no active home listings for more than $2,000,000. Over the last few years, roughly half of the homes that have sold in this neighborhood have sold before coming to market. Paia has been quiet and it currently boasts the largest inventory of oceanfront homes of any area on the island. I think there may be some values and/ or motivated sellers to be found among those listings. Haiku has seven active listings currently on the market giving buyers some good options. You can check out the current inventory of North Shore Luxury homes on MauiRealEstate.com.

Overall Maui Luxury Home Market Outlook and Thoughts
The Maui Luxury Home market continues to offer a broad cross section of homes for potential buyers. From the privacy of Upcountry Estates to Beachfront Luxury compounds, there is considerable depth of inventory. While a deep inventory typically gives buyers more leverage, that isn’t always the case with the luxury home market. Luxury home owners typically have the means to hold on to properties for longer periods of time and many are less likely to adjust their pricing. That said, there are still bound to be a few sellers out among the current inventory who may have higher motivations. The challenge is finding those sellers.

I would anticipate that the rest of the year will continue to see sales figures at or close to the levels we saw during the fall and early winter of 2014. While projected increases in interest rates have the potential to slow sales activity at lower price points in the market, the majority of the luxury sales involve cash transactions or private banking. The biggest threat to the high end market is the overall economy. If the recent stock market uncertainty continues, you may see some buyers postpone their purchases. Contact The Maui Real Estate Team if you are interested in buying or selling a luxury home on Maui. We would welcome the opportunity to sit down with you for a free consultation to discuss your needs.

Pete Jalbert

Maui Real Estate Blog

Sneak Peek at the July 2015 Maui Real Estate Statistics

It’s the first week of August and that means it is time to take a look at how the Maui Real Estate market performed during the month of July. It was a busy month of sales on island as the numbers below will show. Our sneak peek at the July stats looks at sales volume, median prices, notable sales, and pending sales. We also give a few thoughts on what stood out in the July sales activity, and what we think is going on in the market. Without further ado, here are the July numbers.

This chart compares the real estate sales volumes in Maui County during July 2014 and July 2015.

July Maui Real Estate Sales Volumes and Medians
By my count, there were 128 homes sold in July with a median price of $590,000. Last July, there were 99 homes sold with a median price of $568,000. That calculates to a 29% increase in sales volume and roughly a 4% increase in median price.

There were 93 condos sold in Maui last month with a median sales price of $399,000. In July of 2014, there were 83 condos sold at a median price of $375,000. That represents a 12% increase in sales volume and a 6% increase in median price.

There were 13 lots sold in Maui during July with a median sales price of $250,000. There were 9 lots sold last July with a median sales price of $550,000. That is an increase in sales volume of 44% and a decrease in median price of 55%.

Other Notable Numbers from the July Maui Real Estate Sales
While compiling the sales volume and median price, I came across a few more notable numbers that I thought were worth sharing.

  • The 128 homes sold in July was the highest total number of homes sold in Maui County during any single month since the downturn.
  • The highest priced home that sold last month was a residential condominium located in the Maluhia at Wailea subdivision. This 4 bedroom/4 bath home with 5,121 square feet of living space sold for $6,900,000.
  • The Maluhia sale was one of 6 home sales over $2,000,000. The other sales included two more properties in Wailea, two homes in Ka’anapali and a home in Maui Meadows.
  • The highest priced condo to sell in July was located in the Wailea Beach Villas. The three bedroom, three bath, direct oceanfront condo sold for $8,500,000.
  • It was a relatively quiet month for luxury condo sales with only one other unit sold for more than $1,500,000. That condo was located at Ka’anapali Alii.
  • The highest priced land sale was $10,800,000 for a .47 acre lot in the Maluaka Subdivision of the Makena Golf and Beach Club. I believe this is the first Makena Golf and Beach Club sale reported in the MLS.
  • There were a total of 19 bank owned or REO transactions that closed in July. That compares to 11 bank owned sales in July of 2014.
  • There were 8 short sale transactions that closed successfully in July. There were 7 short sales that closed successfully last July.

Some Quick Thoughts on the July 2015 Maui Real Estate Sales Activity
July was a busy and interesting month for the Maui Real Estate market. There are a few different items from the stats that are worth discussion. The most noteworthy number was the number of home sales in the month. As I mentioned above, this was the busiest month for home sales since the real estate market crashed back in 2008. Not only that, it was the busiest month by a pretty healthy margin. What is driving this increased activity? If I were to guess at a primary driver, I would imagine that it is buyers trying to get into the market before interest rates increase. With rates expected to increase in the fall, we are likely to see heightened activity over the coming months. I imagine we will see a lag in activity once more substantive rate increases occur. There are two reasons why I am expecting this lag. First, buyers who require financing will have less buying power. Second, a boost in sales activity now tends to come at the expense of sales activity later. This happened when there were tax incentives for first time home buyers during the economic stimulus.

The dip in median sales price for land is notable. This shift is not attributable to a decrease in values. Instead it is a reflection of buyers at the lower price points of the market seeking out lower priced land options with the stock of lower priced homes steadily dwindling.

Sticking to land for a moment, the $10,800,000 sale at the Makena Golf and Beach club is worth a second mention. This is the most expensive cost per square foot sale of residential land in Maui history. The Makena Golf and Beach Club is set to become the most high end community on Maui. It will be interesting to watch sales within this new development over the coming years.

Shifting to the condo market, there were a couple of items that I thought were worth a mention. First, this is the second straight month where the 2015 sales exceeded the totals for 2014. Things look promising for that trend to continue based on the pending sales. On the other side of the spectrum, this is the second month in a row where high end condo sales have been down. I am not so sure that this is a trend as much as it is just variability in the market. That said, it will be worth keeping an eye on the luxury condo market over the coming months.

Pending Sales in July
We like to keep track on the number of properties that go pending in a particular month on our blog. Not only were sales strong last month, it was a pretty good month for pending sales.

This chard compares the number of properties that went under contract in Maui County during July of 2014 and July of 2015

Pending home, condo and land sales all increased last month compared to July of 2014. Again, I would attribute a good portion of this increased activity to buyer’s trying to take advantage of lower interest rates.

What Does This All Mean for Maui Buyers and Sellers?
Buyers looking at properties at or below the median sales prices for Maui will find that the market remains competitive. Well priced properties in this price range are quick to sell. Buyers shopping in this range should get pre-approved prior to their search if they require financing. When a property comes on that meets their needs, being slow to act could cost you an opportunity. Sellers will find that this is an interesting market. While there is increased sales activity, I am reticent to call this a true seller’s market. There is varying level of activity depending on geography and price points. Overpriced properties are sitting at almost all price points. These variable market conditions only serve to increase the importance of quality representation. Contact The Maui Real Estate Team if you are interested in exploring the Maui Real Estate Market. We would welcome the chance to sit down with you and learn more about your real estate needs.

Pete Jalbert