Maui Real Estate Blog

New SMA and Shoreline Rules

After over a decade of collaboration between the community and the county, Maui County’s Planning Commission approved updates to the Special Management Area (SMA) and Shoreline Rules. The updates bring more balance and flexibility for homeowners, while also improving coastal resilience for the environment. On March 28, the Maui Planning Commission voted 8-0 to approve significant changes to the rules.

Maui County originally established SMA and Shoreline Rules in the early 1970s to create shoreline building setbacks in sensitive coastal areas. However, the existing setback formula only considered historical erosion rates and did not factor in worsening conditions due to sea level rise.

The updated SMA and Shoreline Rules reflect many years of work from the Maui County Planning Department, the Maui Planning Commission, and community working groups. The new rules incorporate the best available science on sea level rise to bolster coastal resilience. When the new rules take effect, the public will be able to access the shoreline map on the Planning department’s website. The department will also hold public outreach to inform and train residents on the changes.

Highlights of the New Rules

  • Creates categorical exemptions, allowing people to bypass submitting an SMA assessment or permit application if proposed work has minimal to no environmental impact. For example, repairs and upgrades to the interior of homes, with a valuation of less than $500,000 in any 24-month period, within the special management area including the shoreline area are allowed, unless they are seeking expansion or intensifying the use.
  • Removes the mandatory requirement of certified shoreline surveys, which cost thousands of dollars, and instead leaves the decision to the discretion of the department.
  • Reduces the permitting burden for state-required conversion of cesspools.
  • Requires hazard mitigation plans that consider realignment of structures away from the shoreline if existing structures are exposed to coastal hazards.

The new rules are more balanced and flexible for homeowners, while incorporating the best available science on sea level rise to bolster coastal resilience. This represents the second major update since 2003, with future reassessments based on erosion rates and the best science available planned every decade.

The SMA and Shoreline areas, managed by state and county laws, are the most sensitive parts of the coastal zone. The Special Management Area is the area of the island that is close to the shoreline, generally beginning at the shoreline and extending inland to the nearest highway. The Shoreline area is the land between the shoreline and the shoreline setback line.

The updated rules provide a foundation for further progress and a step forward in balancing the needs of homeowners and protecting the environment. The Hawaii Sea Level Rise Vulnerability and Adaptation Report, a guiding document for coastal planning around the state, urges people to plan for 3.2 feet of sea level rise now and adjust the projection upward in years to come. The updated SMA and Shoreline Rules represent a significant milestone for Maui County in addressing the challenges of coastal resilience and planning for the future.

This should also of course provide additional clarity for buyers interested in purchasing oceanfront land or remodeling or expanding on an existing oceanfront home.

Interested in Oceanfront?

Pete Jalbert

Maui Real Estate Blog

The Ultimate Maui Oceanfront Compound

The Maui Real Estate Team is proud to bring the Ultimate Maui Oceanfront Compound to market. The property is located in the heart of Spreckelsville just one property down from the beach access to Sugar Cove. Also known as Pa’ani Point, this gated estate consists of an acre of oceanfront land. With a main home and three cottages, the property provides a great space for hosting family and friends. People from all over the world come to the North Shore of Maui for its ocean sports. The ultimate Maui oceanfront compound has it all just offshore from the back yard. You can walk down the steps of the permitted sea wall to access surfing, windsurfing, foiling or stand up paddling. Kiteboarding is just a short distance away on Baldwin Beach.

An Aerial View of Paani Point in Spreckelsville showing the property and Sugar Cove

The Sunset House

The main residence of the Maui Ultimate Oceanfront Compound is known as the Sunset House. It was originally built in 1926 with extensive remodels in 2002 and 2013. It has three bedrooms, a study and four bathrooms. The downstairs of the house is a finished basement with media room, office and the study currently used as a fourth bedroom. The total square footage for the house comes in at approximately 3,200 square feet. The long list of amenities includes a central a/c upstairs and split system a/c units downstairs, a recently remodeled kitchen with with shaker cabinets and Eco by Constantino countertops, a sunroom with stunning ocean views and an oversized outdoor lanai with custom pavers, dining table and hot tub. Want to see more? Take a 3D Tour of The Sunset House to see the interior and to get a better sense of the floor plan.

The kitchen of the Sunset House at Paani Point

Views from the Sun room of the Sunset House at Paani Point

The Sunset House at Paani Point, the Ultimate Maui Oceanfront Compound, in Sprecklesville Maui

The Tree House

The Tree house is a two bedroom, one bath cottage with roughly 690 square feet of living space. The two story cottage has a massive lanai that is a great vantage point for watching the surf or the sunset. There is a studio/office with a full bath downstairs. This cottage has a substantial storage area, a workshop and lots of room for all of your ocean toys. There is bamboo flooring in the living and bedrooms with tile floors in the bathrooms. There is a two zone split system a/c unit that keeps the house cool on warm days. Take a 3D Tour of the Tree House to see the interior and the floor plan for this home.

The view from the back deck of the Tree House at Paani Point

The Palm Cottage

The Palm Cottage has one bedroom, one bathroom and a total of approximately 512 square feet of living space. The home has a single zone split a/c. There is a beautiful ocean view from the walk in shower. See the floor plan and the the interior of the Palm Cottage by taking a 3D Tour.

The Palm Cottage at Paani Point

The Honeymooner

The Honeymooner lives up to its name. The studio unit with kitchenette is perched closest to the ocean of all of the structures on the property. The outside lanai is a great spot for taking in the surf, sunset or the reflection of the moonlight on the waves. A massive bay window gives great ocean views from inside the home. Take the Honeymooner 3D Tour to see more of this romantic oceanside cottage.

The Back Deck of the Honeymooner Cottage at the Ultimate Oceanfront Compound in Maui

Other Features of the Ultimate Maui Oceanfront Compound

    • The property has over 300 feet of ocean frontage protected by the aforementioned legal sea wall.
    • A free standing laundry building
    • The owners installed 18.3 Kilowatts of grid connected, net metered solar power. There is an EV charger that ensure your highway miles can be powered by the sun.
    • Irrigation of the tropical landscaping is supported by a well.
    • All Structures feature extended lifespan Presidential Roofing.

The Hot Tub on the back lanai of the Sunset House at the Ultimate Maui Oceanfront Compound in Spreckelsville Maui

The Ultimate Maui Oceanfront Compound is offered for sale for $14,000,000. This property sold in 2019Contact the Maui Real Estate Team for assistance with other Maui Oceanfront Homes and homes in Spreckelsville.

Pete Jalbert

Maui Real Estate Blog

January 2016 Maui Real Estate Statistics

I have to admit, I have been struggling to keep up with the blog as of late. It has been a busy start to the year between transactions and listings. On a personal level, we are finishing the remodel of a home and planning to move in on Friday. Needless to say, cobwebs and dust have been forming on the little corner of cyberspace known as our blog. I started the research for this post on the 6th and began to write this post over ten days ago. That said, I have a quick window this afternoon to finish up a look at the January numbers. January was a little bit off from last year’s numbers. I will give all the details below as well as a few thoughts on what it all means. Without further ado, here are the January 2016 Maui Real Estate Statistics.

January Sales Volumes and Median Prices

This chart compares the January 2015 and January 2016 sales volumes for Maui County.

There were 73 homes sold in January with a median price of $630,000. Last January there were 75 homes sold with a median price of $577,000. That is roughly a 3% drop in volume and a 9% increase in median price.

Maui County Realtors reported 82 condos sold last month with a median price of $397,500. In January of 2014, there were 83 condos sold with a median price of $378,000. That is just over a 1% drop in volume and a 5% increase in median price.

It was a particularly slow month for land sales with 5 closes and a median of $850,000. Last year, there were 11 sales with a median price of $750,000. That is a 55% drop in volume and a 13% increase in median price.

Notable Numbers from the January 2016 Maui Real Estate Sales
While compiling the numbers above, I came across some other notable numbers that I thought were worth sharing.

  • The highest priced home to sell in January closed for $3,975,000. That house is an oceanfront home in the Baby Beach area of Lahaina. That was the only home sold for more than $2,000,000 last month.
  • The highest priced condo transaction closed for $3,300,000. That was a 3 bedroom, 3.5 bath top row unit at Ho’olei. It was one of the better located units in the complex.
  • That was one of four condo sales for over $1,500,000 in January. The other sales included two transactions at Polo Beach and one sale at the Honua Kai Resort.
  • There were no land sales for more than $1,000,000 in January. The highest priced land transaction for the month closed for $865,000. It was a 1.42 acre condominiumized lot in Launiupoko with entitlements to build a main house.
  • There were 9 bank owned sales in Maui during January. There were also 9 bank owned sales in January of 2014.
  • There was just one short sale that closed in January. Last year, there were 6 short sales that closed in January.

Pending Sales Activity in January
With the January Sales numbers down from last year, I was interested to see how many properties went under contract in January.

This chart compares the number of homes, condos and lots that went pending in January of 2015 and January of 2016

The number of homes that went pending in January was up 8% compared to January of 2015. The number of condos that were pending went down 8% compared to last year. Land was also down 26% compared to last year. That said, the 17 land pending sales is a nice improvement from the 5 closes in January.

Thoughts on the January Maui Real Estate Statistics
This is the first month since August 2014 where all three property types saw a decrease in sales volume compared to the year before. I can’t say that I am horribly surprised to see the decrease in activity in home sales. We saw accelerated demand in the later parts of 2015 as buyers were trying to grab properties before the anticipated bump in interest rates. After the rates bumped, albeit modestly, there was a a dip in demand. Looking at the pending numbers, this drop in activity for homes appears to be relatively short lived.

The condo market may be experiencing influences above and beyond fluctuations in interest rates. After seeing a decrease in sales compared to last January, condo pending sales were also down compared to January 2015. I would postulate that there are two additional factors at play. January was a bumpy month for the stock market. Purchasing a condo as a second home on Maui is a discretionary purchase that is more likely to occur when the potential buyer is feeling flush. If a potential buyer takes a big hit to their stock portfolio, that typically isn’t when they are reaching for their wallet to make a big discretionary purchase. The other factor that is dragging on our condo market is the weakened Canadian Dollar. From 2007-2014, the Canadian Dollar was at or near par with the U.S. Dollar. It is now sitting at roughly 70 cents on the dollar. A significant number of the Canadian buyers were from Alberta. The big dip in oil prices, one of the big drivers of the decrease in the Canadian Dollar, has been an extra hit to the oil driven Alberta economy.

The five land sales recorded in January was the second lowest monthly total since 2010. That said, we saw a pretty healthy number of land listings go under contract in January. The land market has never come close to reaching the sales numbers we saw during the last boom. Financing is harder and that is a factor. There also appear to be fewer lower priced lots on the market. We saw a little more activity a couple of years back as there were some lot prices that made more sense when doing a build vs. buy preexisting analysis. I am not saying there aren’t lots like that still on the market, but they appear to be fewer in number.

Overall, this remains a somewhat schizophrenic market with some parts of the market scorching hot while other segments are chock full of inventory with limited demand. Contact The Maui Real Estate Team if you are considering buying or selling property on Maui. We would welcome the change to listen to your needs and give you our thoughts on market conditions for the type of property that might fit your needs.

Pete Jalbert

Maui Real Estate Blog

Stunning West Maui Oceanfront Home

In a recent post on our blog, I took a look at Maui 2011 Ultra Luxury Real Estate Sales. Thus far, Kapalua and West Maui Oceanfront appear to be the hot locales for this year’s ultra luxury buyers. Today, we wanted to highlight a spectacular West Maui oceanfront home. The views, setting, construction and pricing make this one of the better Maui oceanfront luxury values.

This exclusive gated two-story oceanfront estate is best described as contemporary elegance with Asian influences. Generously spread across 5,661 sq. ft. of living area between the main home and ohana, the estate is situated on a 20,705 sq. ft. lot. The main home offers 5 bedrooms & 5.5 bathrooms. The attached studio ohana is separated from the main home by the 2-car garage. The highest level of craftsmanship and appointments are discovered throughout the estate including antique redwood Thai doors, teak furnishings, palm wood floors, Noche-Night finished travertine tiled lanai. Mahogany wood is captured in accents & construction including pitched ceilings, stairway railings and recessed ceiling panels. Fully integrated audio and security systems allude to the modernization of the estate. Outdoor amenities include an oceanfront pond-like pool, Jacuzzi spa and outdoor shower. This wonderful West Maui Oceanfront Estate is offered fully furnished.

This home is listed through Maui Estates International for $7,810,000. This home sold. Check out the current inventory of Maui Oceanfront Homes for Sale. Contact the Maui Real Estate Team for assistance with your search for an oceanfront property.

Pete Jalbert

Maui Real Estate Blog

Kuau Oceanfront Estate

Yesterday was Realtor Caravan for the North Shore of Maui. One of the featured properties was a spectacular oceanfront estate in Kuau. This approximately 1.283 acre property features two separate parcels, a primary residence of 7,384 square feet with an additional 3,053 square feet of lanai space, a pool, a spa, and a separate 2 bedroom cottage. I had my Flip Camera with me so I was able to shoot some video of this extraordinary North Shore Oceanfront Home for Sale.

Even with a much better camera (and videographer), I am not sure how well video captures the scale of the home and/or it’s quality of finishing. The list of materials and amenities used could fill a couple of blog posts. This Kuau Oceanfront Estate is listed through Equity One Real Estate for $15,500,000. This property sold. Find the current inventory of Maui Oceanfront Homes for Sale on For direct assistance, contact The Maui Real Estate Team today.

Pete Jalbert