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

This chart shows weekly new pending sales by property type in Maui County. The chart starts in late February and runs through late December.
Weekly new pending sales by property type in Maui County, Hawaii. New Pending sales are the best indication of current buyer demand.

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

This chart shows weekly closed transactions in Maui County by property type. This chart starts in late February and runs all the way through late December.
Weekly Sales by Property Type in Maui County, Hawaii. Closed Transactions are a lagging indicator of buyer demand.

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

Weekly new inventory by property type in Maui County. This chart shows the period between late February and late December.

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.

Pete Jalbert

Maui Real Estate Blog

Maui Real Estate Market Weekly Update August 28, 2020

New pending sales for the seven day period between August 19th and 25th remained similar to the week prior. Closed transactions jumped back up closer to normals after a quiet previous seven days. New listings are up this week led once again by more new condo inventory. Find out more details on the numbers below.

New Pending Sales

This chart shows weekly new pending sales by property type in Maui County, Hawaii
Weekly new pending sales in Maui County Hawaii during the Covid-19 Pandemic. New pending sales are an indicator of current market demand while closed transactions are more of a lagging indicator.

Maui Realtors reported 54 new pending sales over the seven day period between August 19th and August 25th. That is a modest 4% increase in activity over the week prior. That is 5% less activity than the same seven day period of 2019.

Notable Numbers from This Week’s Pending Sales

  • The 54 new pending sales include 27 homes, 22 condos and 5 lots.
  • While condo sales outpaced pending home sales for about a four week period in July and early August, pending home sales outnumbered condos over the last two weeks. Buyer preference for homes remains higher overall during Covid-19. This mirrors trends in other markets across the country albeit for different reasons. On the mainland a desire for less density and more yard space is hurting the condo market. On Maui, decreased demand for vacation rental condos is hindering condo sales volumes.
  • The 22 condo pending sales include 11 listings in vacation rental friendly condos. Two of the other listings are resort area condos that prohibit vacation rentals.
  • The five pending lot sales are a slight bump over last week but below the weekly numbers in much of July and the first half of August.
  • Maui Realtors reported four new pending home sales on properties listed for more than $2,000,000. One of the new pending sales is for a home in Makena listed for $11,750,000.

This Week’s Closed Transactions

This chart shows weekly closed transaction by property type during the Covid-19 pandemic in Maui County.
Weekly closed real estate transactions in Maui County by property type during the Covid-19 pandemic. Sales are a lagging indicator of market demand with most transactions taking 30-60 days to close after going under contract.

Maui Realtors reported 54 sales over the seven day period between August 19th and August 25th. This is a 46% increase over the closed transactions for the week prior. As mentioned in the opening paragraph, the big increase over the week prior is a reflection of a quieter period between August 12th and 18th and more of a return to normal rather than a bug uptick in sales. The 54 sales is 4% above the same seven day period of 2019.

This Week’s New Listings

This chart shows weekly new listings by property types in Maui County during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Weekly new listings by property type in Maui County during the Covid-19 Pandemic.

There is one thing to note about this week’s new listings. There were a few agents with a significant number of listings who switched brokerages between the 19th and the 25th. When agents switch brokerages, they cancel their listings under the old brokerage and relist under the new brokerage. This leads to an inflated number of “new” listings. I filtered this weeks new listing numbers to make sure I was only counting listings that were truly new to market.

With that caveat out of the way, Maui Realtors reported 89 new listings this week. That is the highest number to date for any week in the chart above. That is 11% higher than the number of new listings for the week prior. It is an impressive 71% higher than the same seven day period of 2019.

Once again, the condo market saw the highest number of new listings with 57 units coming to market. With only 22 condos going under contract over this week, the active condo inventory continues to increase. Many of the condos coming to market are vacation rentals. With no income to offset monthly overhead, some owners are feeling enough pain to go to market.

The higher inventory and motivated sellers are translating to price adjustments and decreases in value. This isn’t true of all vacation rental condo developments. Some with limited inventory are holding value. That said, anecdotally it seems like the number of developments with declining values is increasing. I may need to do a deeper dive into this market over the coming weeks.

The other market that seems to be seeing some downward price pressure is the entry level condo market in Kihei. A lot of owners and tenants in these developments work in the tourism industry. With tourism still shut down and no clear time frame to reopen, this is another area where sellers are experiencing some pain.

Maui Realtors brought 24 homes to market between the 19th and the 25th. That is less than the 27 homes that went under contract. This continues the trend of shrinking inventory for single family homes. The decrease in inventory is sustaining to potentially increasing home values on island.

Maui Realtors listed seven lots between the 19th and the 25th of August. That is a little more than the five lots that went under contract. The recent trend has been towards a slight decrease in inventory. The inventory levels are sustaining current pricing for lots on Maui.

Contact The Maui Real Estate Team

Overall market activity on island remains pretty resilient when you consider the state of the world and the current shape of the Maui economy. Contact The Maui Real Estate Team if you are considering dipping your toes in the waters of the Maui Real Estate market. We look forward to learning more about your needs, and providing guidance on market conditions specific to your needs.

Pete Jalbert

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.

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

June 2016 Maui Real Estate Statistics

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

June Real Estate Sales Volumes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pete Jalbert

Maui Real Estate Blog

The Year in Numbers, The 2015 Maui Real Estate Statistics

Before we head into February, I wanted to take a quick look back at the 2015 Maui Real Estate market. This is a review of sales volumes, median prices and other notable numbers. I also wanted to address a few questions that arose in my own mind while compiling the statistics. Without further ado, here are the 2015 statistics.

This chart compares the volume of homes, condos and lots sold in Maui County during 2014 and 2015.

Maui Sales Volume, Median Prices and Total Dollar Volume
There were 1090 homes sold on Maui during 2015 with a median sales price of $580,000. The total dollar volume of homes sold in 2015 was $931,646,757. There were 942 homes sold in 2014 with a median price of $570,000. The 2014 total dollar volume was $825,770,160. That means we saw almost a 16% increase in sales volume, just under a 2% increase in median price and a 13% increase in dollar volume when comparing 2015 to 2014.

There were 1,199 condos sold in Maui County during 2015 with a median sales price of $410,000. The total dollar volume of condos sold was $763,806,071. The 2014 condo totals were 1,201 sales with a median price of $414,750. The 2014 total dollar volume was $755,031,268. That means sales volume dropped two tenths of a percent, median price dropped just over one percent and the total dollar volume rose one percent in 2015.

There were 154 land sales in Maui County in 2015 with a median sales price of $447,650. The total dollar volume of land sold was $136,353,541. The 2014 sales figures for land were 166 sales and a median price of $520,000. The total dollar of land sold in 2014 was $119,330,455. That is just over a 7% drop in volume, a 14% drop in median price and a 14% increase in the total dollar volume.

Notable Numbers from the 2015 Maui Real Estate Sales

  • The highest priced home to sell on Maui during 2015 closed for $41,775,000. This was by far and away the highest ever priced paid for a home on Maui. The subject property consists of 6,737 square foot house on 4.23 acres in Makena. More than a few eye brows were raised by a sale that was priced well above other comparable properties in the area. The property was not listed at the time that it sold.
  • That was one of 56 homes to sell for more than $2,000,000 during 2015. The 56 homes sold over $2,000,000 was down by 14% from 65 sold in 2014.
  • The Makena and Wailea area were busiest part of the island for sales over $2,000,000 with 13 total closes.
  • There were 17 beach or oceanfront homes that sold in Maui County during 2015. That was a 29% decrease from the 24 oceanfront sales in 2014.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, the lowest priced home to sell in Maui County closed for $94,750. That home is located in the Maunaloa Village area of Molokai. The lowest priced home to sell on the island of Maui closed for $210,000. The three bedroom, one bath home in Wailuku was situated on a tiny 2,370 square foot lot.
  • The highest priced condo to sell on Maui during 2015 closed for $8,500,000. The beachfront, three bedroom unit at Wailea Beach Villas has over 2,900 square feet of living space.
  • That was one of 91 condos sold for over $1,500,000 during 2015. That exceeded the 83 high end condo sold in 2014 by almost 10%.
  • The Honua Kai Resort saw the most high end condo sales activity with 25 closes over $1,500,000. Montage Kapalua Bay was notable with 9 sales over $3,950,000.
  • The lowest priced condo to sell closed for $20,000. That was a 1 bedroom, 1 bath unit at Harbor Lights in Kahului.
  • The highest priced land transaction to close in 2015 sold for $10,800,000. That was for a half acre lot in the Maluaka Homesites area of the Makena Golf and Beach Club.
  • That was one of 6 land sales in this neighborhood for $7,800,000 or more.
  • There were 25 total land transactions of $1,000,000 or more in Maui County during 2015. That was up slightly from 24 sales over $1,000,000 in 2014.
  • The lowest priced lot to sell in Maui County closed for $20,000 for a 5,351 square foot lot on Molokai. The lowest priced lot to sell on Maui proper closed for 26,000. That was a leasehold lot in the Hawaiian Home Lands in Kula.
  • There were 168 bank owned or REO transactions that closed in Maui County during 2015. That was up from the 116 bank owned sales in 2014. That is almost a 45% increase in bank owned sales.
  • There were 49 successful short sales that closed in 2015. That is down 49% from the 97 short sale transactions in 2014.
  • Of the properties that closed in 2015, 36% were reported to have been cash sales. That is down from 2014 when 42% of the sales were said to have been cash transactions.

Some Questions and Answers About the Numbers
While reviewing the numbers above, a lot of questions came up in my mind. In the paragraphs below, I wanted to address some of these questions and give my thoughts on potential answers.

What drove the increased home sales activity this year?
When looking at the numbers above, homes were the only property type to outperform the 2014 numbers. What drove the increase in sales? There were a couple of factors that came into play. I believe a lot of the activity was driven by on island buyers. Island rents have soared over the last few years. Lower interest rates made the buy vs. rent argument that much more compelling. The threat of increased rates in the near term added to buyer urgency. Evidence of the increased demand from local buyers could be found in the big bump in activity in Central Maui. Home sales in that part of the island were up 33% over last year. The Upcountry area also saw a bump with Pukalani, Kula and Makawao sales up 28,31 and 7% respectively. These are communities that tend to draw on island vs second home buyers. A couple of strong years for tourism helped put local buyers in a better position to afford their purchase.

If sales activity was so strong, why did the median home price only increase 2%?
The first thing to note when answering this question is that changes in median price are not a direct reflection of changes in property values. Median price is also driven by shifts in where sales activity occurs. More high end sales can push up the median sales price while more low end sales can push down the median price. While values increased quite a bit more than 2% in many parts of the market, that was offset by a shift in where sales were occurring. There was a 14% decrease in sales over $2,000,000. As mentioned in the paragraph above, we were also seeing higher levels of activity in more affordable communities around the island. These shifts in market activity helped to offset stronger appreciation in some of the lower and middle priced communities on island.

As a follow up question, one might ask exactly how much Maui home values increased in 2015? That is a really tough question to answer. First and foremost, the rates of appreciation varied largely by price point and location. Homes at or below the median saw the most appreciation due to simple supply and demand. These price points had a much larger pool of buyers and supply was relatively limited. Higher end homes have much more inventory and a much smaller pool of buyers. As a result, upward price pressure has been far more limited.

Why did the condo market see a dip in activity?
If home sales were so strong, why were condo sales down? Condo sales are driven more by off island buyers. I would say the weakening Canadian Dollar played a big part in the decrease in condo sales activity. Maui has seen a significant number of Canadian Condo Buyers since about 2007. That was the first year that the Canadian Dollar was on par with the U.S. dollar. The emergence of Canadian buyers in 2007 helped to buoy the Maui market while a lot of mainland markets were already starting to see big decreases in sales and pricing. They continued to be buyers through the downturn and into the start of the recovery. Around 2013, the Canadian dollar started to dip below par and more substantial decreases occurred in 2014 and 2015. At the time of this post, the Canadian dollar is currently worth 72 cents in American dollars. Less buying power means fewer Canadian buyers. It doesn’t help that a lot of the previous Canadian buyers were coming from Alberta. The weakening Canadian dollar is a reflection of weakening oil prices. The drop in oil prices is a double whammy for buyers from the oil rich province of Alberta.

Final Thoughts
I know tomorrow is the first of February, but I still plan on putting out more posts specific to how different communities around the island performed during 2015. Those posts will also include some thoughts on what we might expect to see in those communities during 2016. Feel free to contact The Maui Real Estate Team if you have any questions on the numbers above, or if you need assistance buying or selling property on Maui. We welcome the opportunity to be of assistance.

Pete Jalbert