Maui Real Estate Blog

Walkable Maui

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

Featured Walkable Areas of Maui

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

Honorable Mention

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

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

Contact The Maui Real Estate Team

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

Pete Jalbert

Maui Real Estate Blog

Maui Market Musings Volume VII

This week’s market musings takes a look at one sign of resilience evident in the market and the latest Redfin report on the second home market. Without belaboring the intro, here are the latest market musings.

Anecdotal Signs of Market Resilience

Entry level condos in Kihei experienced some of the steepest declines during the last real estate crash. I remember the turning point for that market pretty well. During the Summer and fall of 2005, places like Southpointe, Kihei Villages and Keonekai Villages experienced rapid price increases. Condos in these complexes jumped in value 25% or more in a span of about 6 months. The rise in prices occurred during a period of low rates (for the time) with rates forecast to increase. Inventory during this period was low.

A pretty drastic shift occurred in the market in early 2006. A number of the buyers who purchased the condos in the second half of 2005 were pure speculators. They planned to make some very rudimentary improvements prior to flipping the condos. In some cases, they were just naked flips where they purchased the condo and flipped a few months later with no improvements made. By early 2006, the inventory ballooned from a handful of listings in entry level complexes to as many as 25 units in a single development. A rate increase between .5% and .6% caused demand to cool. Sellers who didn’t have the reserves had to adjust their prices. Thus started a precipitous decline that grew worse as a number of sellers found themselves underwater.

The contrast with present conditions is pretty significant. Recent mortgage rate increases are far more drastic. We are looking at an increase of 1.5% in the span of less than 6 months. That said, inventory levels remain low. At the time of this post, there are only 4 active listings in the “entry level” condo complexes in Kihei. Buyer demand continues for the limited inventory. Four non-vacation rental condos in Kihei went under contract within the last few weeks.

While market conditions may continue to shift depending on further rate increases and/or the overall economy, this segment of the market isn’t the house of cards that it was in the mid 2000s. There are fewer speculators and the financial position and loan terms of borrowers are stronger. The market conditions that caused the calamitous collapse in values just aren’t present currently. That’s why we continue to see buyers despite the significant rate increases and much higher prices.

The Second Home Market Slows Nationally

Recent data presented by Redfin indicates that second home demand hit its lowest point since May of 2020. While it is still up from pre-pandemic levels, the decrease in demand is notable. Redfin cites affordability as one factor in the decreased demand. Some of that stems from price increases and some from rate increases. The Federal Housing Financing Agency also announced an increase on upfront fees on second homes starting on April 1. The fee increase is between 1.125 percent and 3.875 percent, tiered by loan-to-value ratio. That’s a pretty hefty number for those borrowing substantial sums.

Will we start to see this reflected in the Maui market? I haven’t seen signs of a clear decrease in the second home market on Maui. Demand appears to remain strong with inventory limited. We also have a lot of cash in the market. Of the vacation rental condos that sold over the last month, 44% were cash transactions. That might be a low number as it doesn’t include 1031 exchange purchases using cash. The lack of inventory may also make it harder to detect changes in buyer demand. If we start to see anything that shows Maui reflecting national trends, we will report it in the Musings

A Little Bit of Maui Beauty to Brighten Your Day

A quick clip from Maui’s North Shore. If you are on twitter, @maui is worth a follow for more local eye candy, travel tips to the island and more.

Contact The Maui Real Estate Team

If you are reading some mixed messages in recent musings, that’s because information on market conditions remains pretty mixed. On the ground, buyers are still facing bidding wars and properties are still selling for premiums. That said, there are more headwinds brewing with the rise in rates. Current market conditions call for quality representation. Contact The Maui Real Estate Team if you are considering entering the Maui market as a buyer or seller.

Pete Jalbert

Maui Real Estate Blog

Maui Vacation Rental Condos September 2021 Market Update

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

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

Soaring Sales and Shrinking Inventory

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

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

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

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

Strong Demand Plus Declining Inventory Equals Rising Prices

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

Other Notable Numbers From the 2021 Maui Vacation Rental Condo Market

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

Market Outlook for Buyers

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

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

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

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

Market Outlook for Sellers

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

Contact The Maui Real Estate Team

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

Pete Jalbert

Maui Real Estate Blog

Things to do on Maui – By Region

Maui by region
We’ve put together some favorite things to do on Maui by region, because each town and area has it’s own unique personality, activities and attractions!
(more…)
Pete Jalbert

Maui Real Estate Blog

Hale Kanani 1-107

Quality, space and convenience distinguish our newest condo listing in Kihei. Hale Kanani 1-107 is a front row, ground floor unit across the street from Cove Park. The three bedroom, two bath end unit has extra windows to bring in additional light. It is also the largest three bedroom floor plan in the complex. Buyers will appreciate the extra living area and storage space.

Aerial image showing the location of Hale Kanani I-107 with Cove Park in the foreground.
An aerial shot that shows the proximity of Hale Kanani 1-107 to the beach.

The seller has made some nice upgrades to the unit with a tile backsplash in the kitchen, a remodeled shower area in the master bath and plantation shutters throughout.

The condo's Living Area
The living room
The view from the Lanai at Hale Kanani 1-107
Views from the lanai of 1-107 looking across South Kihei Road towards the ocean.

There are views of the ocean from the lanai. Surfers and Stand Up Paddlers will appreciate the ability to do a surf check from the condo.

The dining and kitchen areas
The dining area and kitchen

Hale Kanani is less than fifteen years old. Community amenities include a pool and a hot tub. Association rules and county zoning prohibit vacation rentals.

Hake Kanani 1-107 master bedroom
The master bedroom of 1-107.

Hale Kanani’s best feature may well be its location. This is a high walk score for those that want to enjoy some of the best features of South Kihei. We have already mentioned the proximity to Cove Park. This is the best beginner’s Surf Break in Kihei. The beautiful sands and waters of Charley Young Beach Park and Kamaole I are just a couple of blocks from the condo. There are a number of restaurants and bars both to the North and South of the property along South Kihei Road. Groceries are just a few blocks away at Foodland.

The master bathroom at our new Hale Kanani Listing
The Master Bathroom of 1-107

Find out More About Hale Kanani 1-107

Hale Kanani 1-107 is offered for sale for $560,000. This property sold in 2019. Contact The Maui Real Estate Team for assistance with other Hale Kanani Condos.

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