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 On October 15, 2020, the state rescinded the mandatory quarantine rules for incoming travelers.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
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.
Maui Real Estate Blog
January 7th, 2021, Semi-Weekly, Occasional Maui Real Estate Update
I haven’t quite reclaimed my weekly posting mojo hence the title of this post. That said, I wanted to look at sales activity for the seven day period between December 23rd and 29th. I also wanted to highlight some of the numbers from December 16th-22nd. That was a pretty extraordinary week for real estate activity on Maui. Keep reading for notable numbers from those 14 days.
A Quick Recap of December 16th-22nd
While it may not be getting its own post, this week can’t go without mention. It was far and away the busiest seven day period of 2020. That includes the pre-pandemic market. While it isn’t unusual for us to be outperforming pre-pandemic numbers, the weeks right before Christmas don’t typically see robust market activity. The winter time off island buyers tend to become more active right after Christmas. On island buyers tend to be more focused on the holidays than home buying.
Here are some notable numbers from the 16th-22nd.
- There were 86 new pending sales. That is 21% higher than the previous high for 2020. It is 56% more activity than the same seven day period of 2019.
- The home market was a big driver for this robust week of activity. The 40 new weekly pending home sales is a high for the year.
- Heightened activity at higher price points also played a role. An impressive 11 properties went pending listed over $2,000,000 including 5 over $6,000,000. Of note, 2 homes subsequently fell out of contract.
- The 16th-22nd also saw a lot of high end sales with 9 transactions closing for more than $2,000,000. That includes a $19,000,000 oceanfront sale in Makena. That comes on the heels of an oceanfront estate in Kapalua that Closed for $24,000,000 the week prior. That sale was the highest ever in West Maui.
Needless to say, the 16th-22nd was an extremely busy week for buyers. Now on to our latest seven day tracking period.
New Pending Sales for December 23-29th
Maui Realtors reported 56 new pending sales over the seven day period between December 23rd and December 29th. This is a 35% drop in activity from the the extremely busy seven days prior. That said, it is 65% higher than the same seven day period of 2019. It is worth remembering that this seven day period includes Christmas. The drastic increase over last year provides some context for the high demand this year.
Notable Numbers From The Pending Sales Between December 22nd-28th.
- The 56 pending sales include 23 homes, 30 condos and 3 lots.
- The 30 condo sales include 16 vacation rentals . There are 4 additional condos located in resort areas that prohibit vacation rentals.
- Seven properties listed for more than $2,000,000 went under contract. They include 5 homes and 2 condos.
Closed Transactions Between December 22nd and 28th
Maui Realtors reported 55 sales over the seven day period between December 23rd and December 29th. This is 21% fewer transactions than the seven days prior. It is 62% higher than the same seven day period of 2019. As with the pending sales, we would expect lower numbers compared to the week prior. There is one less day for recorded sales, and some sellers and buyers would want to avoid closing right around Christmas. That said, the 2019 numbers provide some context as to how busy things were comparatively.
New Listings December 23rd-29th
Maui Realtors listed 40 properties in the seven day period between December 23rd and 29th. That is 34% fewer properties than the seven days prior. It is 5% more new listings than the same seven day period of 2019. It is not a big surprise that this is a quieter week for new inventory. Listings that come to market right around the holiday may not get as much visibility with buyers.
Of the 40 new listings, only 12 are homes. This is quite a bit less than the 20 that went under contract. Scarcity of inventory remains a big factor in the single family home market as we enter the new year.
The new listings between the 23rd and 29th included 27 condos. This is also below the 30 condos that went under contract. While there is more condo inventory than home inventory available, buyers may find limited inventory depending on where they are searching.
There was just 1 new land listing to hit the market between the 23rd and the 29th. The land market saw a slight decrease in inventory over December. While there is variability based on geography, the land market also suffers to an extent from a lack of options.
Contact The Maui Real Estate Team
As we enter the new year, buyer activity remains strong and supply limited. At the same time, there seems to be growing instability in the world with Covid numbers continuing to rise and significant political unrest. Will that impact the market? Thus far, the Maui market remains resilient. If anything there is an argument that the relative safe haven of Maui may be appealing to buyers. We continue to work hard for buyers and sellers in these challenging times. Contact The Maui Real Estate Team if you are looking to buy or sell property on Maui. We look forward to talking to you and learning more about your real estate needs.
Maui Real Estate Blog
Weekly Maui Real Estate Update December 16th
The title of this post is something of a misnomer. I last posted an update almost a month ago. That is a reflection of current market conditions. More time showing property and less time time to blog. Being that it’s been a while, this will be a bulked up post. I wanted to give a quick update on market conditions over the period when I didn’t post. I will also have specific details on market activity for the seven day period between December 2nd and 8th.
Catching Up on The Market
With your resident blogger slacking over the last four weeks, here is a higher level overview on the market dynamics through the end of November. These are some of the key points on recent market activity.
- Pending sales activity dipped slightly for the three weeks prior to December 2nd-8th. After averaging 60 plus weekly new pending sales for 7 straight weeks, weekly new pendings over this period dipped into the high 50s. While not as robust as October, this is still pretty strong demand. A lack of inventory at lower price points isn’t helping sales numbers.
- Sales are pretty strong. In August and September, weekly sales numbers were fluctuating quite a bit. Recent numbers are more consistent. This is a reflection of the higher number of properties that went under contract earlier in the fall..
- Home inventory remains tight. There was slight growth in the number of new home listings during the last three weeks of November. That said, buyers shopping at or below the median sales price didn’t see a lot of new listings. It is also worth noting that the luxury home inventory is tightening with really limited offerings available in places like Kapalua.
- From June-September, we saw a lot of new condo inventory come to market. The increase in inventory slowed in October and it slowed even further in the last three weeks of November. There was a net decrease in inventory over that time.
- The luxury market is particularly strong. Employees are taking advantage of their employers work from anywhere edicts during Covid-19. We are seeing an influx of high income earners relocating to Maui. We are seeing market dynamics we have never seen before in the high end property market. Short days on market and multiple offer situations were unheard of until the last few months. We also are seeing more activity than usual in the $10,000,000 and above market.
Now that you are caught up a little on recent market dynamics. Let’s get to the numbers from our most recent seven day tracking period.
This Week’s New Pending Sales
Maui Realtors reported 60 new pending sales over the seven day period between December 2nd and 8th. This is a modest 3% increase over the seven days prior. It is 13% more activity than the same seven day period of 2019.
Notable Numbers from This Week’s Pending Sales
- The 60 new pending sales include 34 homes, 22 condos and 4 lots.
- This is the first time in six weeks that new home pending sales outpaced new condo pending sales. It is the most new weekly home pending sales since late September.
- This is the first time in four weeks that weekly pendings went back above the 60 mark.
- The 22 condo pending sales included 12 vacation rental condos.
- There are 6 new pending sales priced over $2,000,000 for the period between the 2nd and the 8th. They include 4 homes, 1 condo and 1 lot.
This Week’s Closed Transactions
Maui Realtors reported 54 sales during the 7 day period between December 2nd, and December 8th. That is 5% fewer sales than the seven days prior. It is 32% higher than the same seven day period of 2019. Of note, there were 7 transactions that closed for over $2,000,000. Six of the seven properties sold are located in West Maui.
Weekly New Inventory
Maui Realtors listed 66 properties between December 2nd and December 8th. That is 14% higher than the seven days prior. It is 8% higher than the same seven day period of 2019.
Of the 66 new listings, 28 are homes. That is the highest number of homes listed in a seven day period since late September. The median price of the new home listings comes in at $905,000. While that is a lower median than quite a few recent weeks, it is still a pretty high number for those looking for properties at lower price points. Due to the high number of pending sales between the 2nd and the 8th, the inventory of active home listings decreased.
Between December 2nd and December 8th, 32 new condo listings came on the market. With only 22 condos going under contract over the same period, the inventory of active condo listings increased.
Maui Realtors listed 6 lots between December 2nd and the 8th. That represents a slight increase of inventory with only 4 lots going pending over the same period.
Contact The Maui Real Estate Team
These posts speak in pretty broad brush strokes about the island’s real estate market. In reality, there is still some variability in market conditions by town, neighborhood and price point . Contact The Maui Real Estate Team to discuss market conditions in an area of the island specific to your interests. We welcome the chance to talk, zoom or e-mail and learn more about your real estate needs.
Maui Real Estate Blog
Tour Some of Maui’s Stunning Oceanfront Properties
It’s the weekend. Or at least I think it is. With stay at home rules in place, many buyers are turning to video and 3D tours as a safe way to tour property. We already posted video and 3D tours for the Maui Real Estate Team’s listings. If you need a little distraction and you’ve binged all that Netflix has to offer, I thought we might take you on a tour of some of the island’s more impressive oceanfront listings. Whether you are an oceanfront home buyer stuck on the mainland waiting for the all clear to fly out, or you just want a little Maui eye candy, we hope you enjoy the tour.
9 Bay Drive, Kapalua
This beautiful property of just under 10 acres is currently the most expensive active listing on Maui. The eight bedroom, eight and half bath home has 6,645 square feet of interior living space and a stunning pool area. Situated on a bluff overlooking the Pailolo Channel between Maui and Molokai, the views of the ocean and neighbor islands are stunning.
Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers listed this home for $37,500,000. Check out the listing details for 9 Bay Drive for more photos and information.
4508 Makena Road
This new home is located along one of our favorite beaches on the island. Palauea or White Rock is a beautiful sandy beach with good snorkeling at either end. The four bedroom, five and half bathroom home has 5,065 square feet of living space. Never lived in before, the builders completed construction in 2018.
You can also take a 3D tour of 4508 Makena Road to get a better sense of layout. Find photos and additional details at the 4508 Makena Road MLS listing page. Island Sotheby’s Real Estate listed the home for $27,498,000.
11485 Honoapiilani Highway
I always loved this Olowalu Oceanfront home for its classic Kama’aina style. While built in 2001, it features a lot of the best design elements of 1930s Hawaii Architetcure. The main house is four bedrooms, five and a half baths and includes over 6,065 square feet of living space. There is a 75 foot long pool, a separate one bedroom ohana and a third structure with a gym steam room and suite above.
Listed by Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers, the asking price is $9,395,000. Check out the MLS listing of this Olowalu Oceanfront home for more photos and details.
7381 Makena Road
This Makena property isn’t direct oceanfront, but it is pretty darn close. Makena Road is what separates this home from a small rocky beach. Built by renowned local builder John Cahill, this 3 bedroom, 3.5 bath home includes 3,919 square feet of living space. There is a separate two bedroom, two bath cottage.
Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers listed the home for $12,990,000. Check out the MLS listing of 7381 Makena Road for more photos and details.
Wailea Point 102
There are some pretty stunning oceanfront condo options. Wailea Point 102 is arguably one of the best. It is a double unit overlooking Wailea Beach, Ma’alaea Bay, Kaho’olawe, Molokini and Lanai. The three bedroom, three bath unit includes 3,805 square feet of living space. The video for the property shows a lot of the scenery surrounding Wailea Point. It is easy to see why. This is one of the premier locations on the island with the Four Seasons and the Grand Wailea located to the North and the Fairmont Kealani located just to the South.
Island Sotheby’s Realty listed the property for $17,995,000. Find more photos and details on the Wailea Point 102 MLS listing page. There is a second double unit at Wailea Point on the market that is also worth checking out. Wailea Point 1602 is equally stunning and priced almost $1,000,000 lower.
Makena Surf G 301/302
This is another double unit just down the coastline from Wailea in Makena. Makena Surf offers beautiful vistas and a great setting on Po’olenalena Beach. The combination of two units means plenty of space for friends and family with five bedrooms and five bathrooms.
Romvari Realty listed this beautiful condo for $6,999,999. Check out the Makena Surf G301/302 listing page for more photos and details.
More Oceanfront Options
Contact The Maui Real Estate Team if you have any questions on any of the stunning properties above. If you need to binge on more Maui Oceanfront Property, you can check out the full inventory of Maui Oceanfront Homes and Maui Oceanfront Condos.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.