Maui Real Estate Blog

Taking the Pulse of the West Maui Vacation Rental Condo Market

We recently posted on a surge in activity in the South Maui Vacation Rental Market. Wailea and Kihei both saw a big increase in condo sales for the year to date. West Maui is home to the other big concentration of vacation rental condos on island. The West side has not been the best side for sales this year. Condo activity is off compared to 2016. This post takes a look at sales activity in the different areas of West Maui, looks at a few condos that have seen stronger activity and takes a look at a couple of factors that could be driving the slower sales on this side of the island.

As of June 7th, there have been 145 vacation rental condos sold in West Maui this year. As of the same time last year, there were 176 vacation rental condos that sold in West Maui. That is an 18% reduction in sales volume. I broke down the sales by price ranges to try to see if the decrease in activity occurred across the board. Condo sales $500,000 and under were down 22%. There were 57 sales this year as compared to 73 last year in this price range. The middle part of the market between $500,001 and $1,000,000 performed the strongest of any market segment with a modest increase of 4.6% over last year. There were 67 sales compared to 64 over the same period of 2016. The high end of the West Maui vacation rental market saw the steepest decline in activity of any market segment. Sales were down 51% for vacation rental condos priced from $1,000,001 on up. There were 23 sales compared to 45 sales over the same period of 2016.

Lahaina Condos
The Lahaina condo market was the one area of West Maui that saw an increase in activity compared to last year. Lahaina has a small number of vacation rental condo complexes with four total properties. Those four complexes saw activity increase by 35% for the year as of June 7, 2017. It was a good five plus months of sales in Lahaina, but one condo stood out above the others.

Aina Nalu
Aina Nalu is located one block off of Front Street in historic Lahaina Town. There are 190 units at the complex spread over 11 buildings on 18 acres. There are studio, one bedroom and two bedroom floor plans. Prices range from the $300,000s for one bedrooms to the low $400,000s for two bedrooms. Owners value the grounds, the two nice pools, the tropical design elements and the location. If you were so inclined, this is a place where you could stay without driving your car with Front Street so close by. The property had 5 sales through just over five months of 2016. As of June 7th, there were 12 sales in Aina Nalu. That is an impressive 240% increase in sales activity.

Ka’anapali Condos
As you head North from Lahaina, the Ka’anapali condo market has seen a dip in condo sales activity for the first five months of the year compared to the same period of 2016. Sales slipped from 63 sales to start 2016 to 42 sales as of June 7, 2017. That is a 33% decrease in activity. The decrease in sales was almost across the board with only Ka’anapali Royal registering more sales this year than last year with 4 sales compared to 2. While I typically focus on the condos that stand out among the crowd for higher sales activity, I wanted to take a look at the condo complex that saw the biggest dip in activity.

Honua Kai
Honua Kai is the last fee simple whole ownership condo to be built in the Ka’anapali Area. It has 711 units spread over two seven story towers on 40 acres. The Hoku Lani tower was completed in 2009 and the Konea tower was completed in 2010. Honua Kai has extensive amenities including three separate pools and an onsite restaurant, grocery store and spa. It has studio, one bedroom, two bedroom and three bedroom condominiums. Prices range from the high 600s for a select few mountain view one bedrooms up to over $5,000,000 for the best located three bedroom units. People who own at Honua Kai appreciate the significant amenities, the beachfront location, the newness of the location and the rental demand.

Honua Kai has had a big impact on the West Maui Condo market since 2005 when they started taking the first round of pre-construction reservations. Those reservations generated a significant number of sales during the doldrums of the post crash real estate market. This goosed the condo sales numbers when overall demand was low. I dubbed this distortion of the statistics The Honua Kai Effect.

June of 2016 was the last new developer sale at Honua Kai. There were 15 new developer sales between January 1, 2016 and June 7, 2016. That gives some context before I provide this year’s sales numbers. There were 14 Honua Kai Sales for the year as of June 7th. Last year, there were 32 over that same period of time. That is a 54% drop in sales volume. The new developer sales account for most, but not all of the difference between this year and last year’s sales volume.

The deluxe kitchen area of one of the three bedroom units in the Konea Building of Honua Kai.

Honua Kai remains a popular choice for West Maui condo buyers. While we saw a big dip in activity, it still saw more sales than any other West Maui condo.

Napili, Kahana, Honokowai
The three communities located between Ka’anapali and Kapalua offer the greatest concentration of oceanfront condos in West Maui. It was another area that has seen a decrease in activity in 2017. There were 57 sales in this area five months and a week in to 2017. That is down 22% from the 73 sales through the same period of 2016. The bulk of the condo complexes in this area saw a decrease in activity with a few exceptions.

Papakea
Papakea is an oceanfront complex in the Honokowai area. It has 364 condos spread over 11 buildings on just over 12 acres. There are studio, one bedroom and two bedroom floor plans. This complex is predominantly fee simple, but there are some leasehold units. Papakea has a pretty broad range of prices. Leasehold one bedrooms start right around $200,000. The most expensive units are direct oceanfront two bedroom units. They sell for as much as $1,000,000. Owners like the oceanfront location, amenities and relaxed feel. Papakea had a pretty good start to 2016 with 10 sales in just over five months. This year was 40% better with 14 sales in the same period of time.

A couple of palm trees frame the ocean views of a direct oceanfront unit at Papakea.

Kapalua
While most of West Maui was either markedly stronger or weaker this year compared to last year, Kapalua has been pretty steady with the same number of sales this year as last year. There were 14 vacation rental condos sold this year as of June 7th, compared to 14 over the same period last year. While the overall numbers were the same, there were some shifts in activity among the five complexes that allow vacation rentals. I wanted to highlight the one condo that saw the biggest increase in activity and the highest number of sales overall.

Kapalua Golf Villas
Kapalua Golf Villas is situated along the beautiful Kapalua Bay Course. There are 186 units spread over 16 buildings on 15.8 acres. Amenities include three pools. The property went through extensive renovations in 2014. Prices range from the high $500,000s for one bedrooms lower on the golf course to just under a million for fully upgraded two bedrooms with good ocean views. Views, finishing and floor plans are the primary drivers on price. Kapalua Golf Villas offer the lowest priced entry point into the Kapalua Real Estate market. Owners appreciate the location on the Bay course, the views and the proximity to Kapalua Beaches and to other resort amenities.

Kapalua Golf Villas has been the busiest of the Kapalua condos in 2017. There have been 7 units sold as June 7th. There were 4 sold over the same period last year. That is a 75% increase in sales activity.

What’s Driving the West Maui Market
South Maui vacation rental condos have been booming this year while West Maui has been slower. They are two seemingly similar markets. What is driving the difference in market behavior? I was able to give some pretty good reasons as to why I think the South Maui market has surged to start the year. Determining what might be holding things back in West Maui is a little more challenging. The one clear cut cause was already discussed. Honua Kai is seeing less activity now that it is just resales and there are no more new developer listings.

Are there any other factors keeping down West Maui sales numbers? The state of Kahana Bay may be impacting sales. This section of West Maui coastline has significant erosion issues. Hololani has been struggling with erosion issues for a number of years. Those issues expanded down the coast last year. Royal Kahana and Valley Isle Resort had to put up emergency sandbags during the winter of 2016 to halt a rapid loss of shoreline. There are now nine condo associations that are a part of efforts to develop a shoreline replenishment plan. With the cost of beach replenishment expected to approach ten million dollars, the individual owners in those nine complexes are facing a big assessment to pay for the project. While the numbers of condos sold in the nine complexes this year is pretty similar to what we saw last year, the uncertainty over this coastline and the potential future costs may be limiting the potential for growth in this market.

The one other factor that could be at play is plain old variability. We see that in the market from time to time. Some years West Maui has stronger years for sales activity and some years it is South Maui that has a big year. The underlying reasons aren’t so clear cut. This may be just one of those years for West Maui. When you add in the other factors previously mentioned, those three things in and of itself could account for the 18% drop we have seen. If you are a close follower of the West Maui market and you have any other theories, we would welcome your input in the comments below.

The good news for potential buyers is that there is still a lot of inventory in this market. This is particularly the case with condos priced from $500,000 and up. You can search through the current inventory of Kapalua Condos for Sale and Ka’anapali Condos for sale on MauiRealEstate.com. You can also search the MLS for condos listed in Lahaina, Napili, Kahana and Honokowai. Contact The Maui Real Estate Team if you want to talk to a real estate agent about West Maui Vacation Rental Condos. We would welcome the chance to learn more about what you are looking for and to assist you in your search for a condo that will fit your needs.

Pete Jalbert

Maui Real Estate Blog

Sneak Peek at the April 2014 Maui Real Estate Stats

I begin this post with a humble apology. Last month was the first time that we have failed to provide some version of the monthly Maui Real Estate stats since 2008. For those that have come to expect this place to be the first resource to go for getting a pulse on the Maui market, I apologize for letting you down. If you didn’t see last month’s stats via another media outlet, here is a link to the Realtor Association of Maui March Stats. I will try to redeem myself with an expanded post that includes a cornucopia of Maui market numbers. April is a month of transition in Maui. It is the end of whale season, peak tourism season and peak real estate season. The real estate sales figures are typically pretty strong as we see lots of closes from properties that went under contract earlier in peak buyer season. Keep reading to see the April sales volume and median numbers, a few interesting numbers and tidbits from among this month’s closes, a broader look at the first four months of the year, some forecasting as to what we may see for sales in the coming months and a few other thoughts on the Maui market. Without further ado, here are the numbers.

This table compares the real estate sales volume for Maui County during April of 2014 and April of 2013.
This chart compares Maui County real estate sales volumes in April of 2013 and April of 2014

By my count, there were 84 home sales reported in April with a median sales price of $583,000. By comparison, last April there were 79 home sales with a median price of $470,000. That is a 6% increase in sales volume over last April and a 24% increase in median.

There have been 134 condo sales reported for April with a median price of $403,500. There were 144 sales reported last year with a median price of $370,000. That is a 7% decrease in sales activity and a 9% increase in median prices.

There have been 19 land sales reported to date for April of 2014 with a median sales price of $510,000. Last April, there were 14 sales reported with a median price of $479,500. That is a 35% increase in sales volume and a 6% increase in price when comparing this April to last April.

These are preliminary numbers, we may see some additional sales reported from the end of the month in the next couple of days. While compiling the numbers above, I found a few other numbers that I thought were worth sharing.

  • The highest priced home sale in May was a beautiful estate in the Makena Papa’anui subdivision located just above Makena Landing. The home with stunning ocean views and infinity pool closed for $6,850,000.
  • That was one of six sales over $2,000,000 in April. There was one other sale in Makena Papa’anui, three sales in The Pineapple Hill Neighborhood of Kapalua and one Oceanfront home in Haiku.
  • The highest priced condo transaction for the month was located at the Honua Kai Resort. One of the premier three bedroom units in the complex closed for $5,200,000.
  • This was one of six condos that closed for $1,500,000 or higher in April. There was one other sale at Honua Kai along with sales at Kai Malu, Hoolei, Wailea Beach Villas and Ka’anapali Ali’i.
  • There were only 9 bank owned (REO) closes last month. In April of 2013, there were 13 REO sales. This remains a pretty limited market segment and it seems as if a good number of the REOs that enter the market are being priced fairly high by the banks. With a limited inventory of lower priced homes, banks are trying to get more money for their assets.
  • There were 10 successful short sale transactions this April compared to 15 in April of 2013. While I expect the slow drip of bank owned properties to continue, I suspect we may see the number of short sales continue to shrink under current market conditions. Better equity conditions for sellers and stiffer tax liabilities for owner occupants who complete short sales are going to reduce the impact of this type of sale.

This months stats were almost directly the inverse of last month’s stats and the overall trends for the year. Home and land sales were higher in April of 2014 than they were in April of 2013. Condo sales were down compared to last April. Overall for the year, we have seen higher condo sales while both land and home sales have been lower. I wouldn’t read too much into one month’s trends as we are likely just seeing some of the variability we tend to see with Maui’s smaller sample size of transactions.

As we tend to point out in our stats posts, it is important not to paint with too broad of a brush in Maui. Sales activity varied by community and price point around the island. Some communities are seeing more activity than last year. Some are seeing less than last year, and some are seeing almost the same. Here are some of the markets that are seeing some of the biggest differences in sales activity between this year and last year.

  • Haiku residential sales are down 21% (four units) compared to the first four months of 2013. That reduction can be attributed entirely to a decrease in inventory and activity at or below the median with four fewer sales below $600,000.
  • Pukalani has seen a 43% decrease in residential activity compared to the first third of 2013. This appears to be another community where reduced inventory is impacting sales. There were far fewer sales in Pukalani under $500,000 this year compared to the first four months of last year.
  • Wailuku sales are down 16% (7 units) compared to the first four months of 2013. This was also driven in part by a decrease in inventory and sales below $500,000.
  • Makawao residential sales are up 55% (6 units) compared to last year. This surge was based on an increase in activity at higher price points. There were 7 more sales over $500,000 compared to the same time last year.
  • Kapalua sales are up 150% (3 units) compared to the first 4 months of last year. This is a pretty small sample size which makes the number a little more dramatic.
  • Kihei condo sales are up 22% (30 units) over the first four months of last year. This increases has occurred despite a pretty sharp drop in inventory below $200,000. The biggest increase in sales activity occurred between $250,000 and $500,000 with more modest gains above $500,000.
  • Condos in the West Maui Communities of Napili, Honokowai and Kahana were up 19% (11 units) over the first part of 2013. This community was somewhat anomalous in that there were more gains at lowest price points rather than the middle and higher price points.
  • Wailea saw the biggest dip in condo sales with a 22% (9 units) decrease in sales volume compared to the first four months of 2013. With a couple of new developments on the horizon in Wailea, we may be seeing some buyers deferring purchases as they wait for opportunities to purchase new construction condos.

I also thought it was worth looking at changes in sales activity by price points during the first four months of the year.

  • Home sales under $500,000 were down 26% (36 units) compared to the first 4 months of 2013. This is a clear case of decreasing inventory impacting volume.
  • Home sales from $500,001 to $999,999 were up by 2.8% (3 units) compared to first third of 2013.
  • Home sales were up 54% (22 units) in the $1,000,000 and up price range. The high end market appears as if it is continuing to gain steam after a relatively strong 2013.
  • Condo sales priced $250,000 and under were down 21% (22 units). This is a case of shrinking inventory.
  • Condos priced between $250,001 and $499,999 are up 28% (49 units). This is due to a combination of appreciation in the market and a general increase in activity.
  • Condo activity between $500,000 and $999,999 was up modestly at 9% (9 units).
  • Condo sales between $1,000,000 and $1,499,999 was up 22% (6 units).
  • Condo sales from $1,500,000 and above were up 45% (9 units). This is pretty impressive as this market segment was up significantly in 2013 over 2012.

The numbers above would seem to indicate that recent market activity is being dictated in part by available inventory. The only part of the market that is seeing less activity is the part that has seen inventories decrease the most in the last year. There are buyers looking at lower price points, but they aren’t finding the properties that they want. The increase in activity at the higher price points also accounts for some of the increases we are seeing in median prices. It is a combination of price increases and more high priced transactions that are causing the jumps in medians. Don’t mistake increases in medians as a true reflection of increases in values.

While sales are a reflection or recent market demand, the number of properties under contract better illustrates current market demand. As we have been moving out of peak buyer season, the total number of pending properties has been dropping steadily. This is a little different than what we have seen in the last few years when the momentum of peak season carried into May. The chart below compares the number of homes, condos and parcels of land that went under contract in April with the number that went under contract in April of 2013.

This chart compares the number of Maui Properties that were put under contract with buyers during April of 2014 with the number that went under contract with buyers in April of 2013.

The numbers show a pretty sharp dip in both homes and condos. It will be worth keeping a close eye on May pending sales to see if we are seeing something of a trend or if this month is just an anomaly.

What does all of this mean for buyers and sellers? Buyer and seller strategy is going to be dictated in part by community and price point. That said, there are a few statements applicable to all geographies. Entry level buyers are going to find a limited inventory and competitive market. Getting pre-approved for financing is a must prior to starting your search. When you find a property that you like that is well priced, decisive and fast action is typically necessary. Some of the higher price points in the market offer a broader range of inventory, but seller motivation tends to go down. Buyers may find that the staying power of luxury home owners can undercut their leverage even in markets with lots of inventory. Sellers who need to sell in quick fashion will need to look closely at recent comparable sales and the level of market activity around their price point. Over priced properties are sitting in this market. Current market conditions can be challenging for both buyers and sellers. The Maui Real Estate Team would welcome the chance to sit down for a free consultation to discuss your real estate needs and how we might be able to help you navigate the market. Contact the Maui Real Estate Team today to get started.

Pete Jalbert

Maui Real Estate Blog

Official January 2013 Maui Real Estate Statistics

February is off to a busy start for the Maui Real Estate Team. That has translated into less time available for blogging. I have been in the process of working on our “unofficial” stats for over a week. In the meantime, the good folks at the Realtors Association of Maui beat me to the punch when they released their “official” January Maui Real Estate Statistics. This isn’t the first time that RAM was first out of the gate and it won’t be the last. As a result, I am going to do something of a hybrid official/unofficial post for this month’s stats. In addition to the link to the official stats above, I want to point out a few more numbers that I thought were interesting and provide some context and analysis to this month’s sales data.

A comparison of the Maui Real Estate sales volumes between January 2012 and January 2013

There were 63 homes sold in Maui County during January with a median sales price of $550,000. Last January, there were 50 sales at a median price of $399,000. That is a 26% increase in sales volume and a 38% increase in median price.

I counted 61 condo sales on Maui this month with a median price of $287,000. That is actually one more sale than what was reported by RAM. The January 2012 numbers were 91 sales at a median price of $330,000. That is a 33% drop in sales volume and a 13% drop in median price.

There were only 7 land sales reported in Maui County during January 2013 with a median sales price of $615,000. The January 2012 numbers totaled 9 sales at a median price of $350,000. That is a 23% drop in sales activity. I am reticent to comment on the change in median price for fear that it will be misconstrued as a sign of a massive appreciation in land values.

Here are a few other numbers of note Maui’s January Real Estate Sales.

  • There were 6 REO or bank owned sales in Maui County during January of 2013. By comparison, there were 29 REO sales in January of 2012. That calculates to a 79% drop in activity.
  • The lack of REO activity may have contributed to some of the more frenzied bidding activity I have seen on a property. An entry level REO in Napili was listed for $225,000. By the time the smoke cleared, the sales price for the property was $390,299. That sales price was 73% over the original asking price.
  • There were 14 successful short sales that closed during January of 2013. There were 19 short sale closes during January of 2012. That is 24% drop in short sale activity.
  • The highest sales price for a home last month was $9,200,000 for a beachfront residential condo at Makena Place. This was the only sale over $2,000,000 last month.
  • The highest sales price for a condo was $3,500,000 for a three bedroom/three bath beachfront unit at Honua Kai in the Kaanapali area. This was the only condo sale over $1,500,000. In fact, the next highest condo sale was $790,900.

There were quite a few interesting numbers above. That being said, I wanted to delve into the condo numbers first. Since we were late to the presses with our stats, I have the advantage of seeing some of the local headlines for this month’s stats. One local publication had a sensationalistic headline proclaiming a big drop in condo sales. Was this dip in activity headline worthy? Better yet, what caused this drop? Well, it is hard to say definitively but it is worth noting that the previous two months saw significant condo sales activity. Many sellers were anxious to close before the end of the year to avoid potential tax increases. I would surmise that this may have accelerated the condo activity at the end of the year at the expense of sales after the first of the year. As RAM executive Terry Tolman pointed out in the official stats, when you average the December and January Sales totals you come out to around 100 sales which is in line with what you might expect for an average month this time of year. I do not think the drop in sales numbers is in any way a reflection of future market trends. There have been 171 condos that have gone under contract since the first of the year. That is a pretty healthy number.

The drop in medians is also out of line with recent trends. I think part of that stems again from sellers trying to close before the first of the year. This was a particularly slow month for condo sales in the luxury market. It was pretty eye opening when I saw that the second highest condo sale for the month was $790,900. There are usually a few sales over $1,500,000 each month and quite a few more over $1,000,000.

While the median condo price plummeted, the home median was up substantially over January 2012. If you are a frequent reader of our stats, you will have read about the inventory crunch occurring at the lower ends of the market. Entry level homes are particularly scarce. There were only 14 sales under $400,000 this January. Last January, there were 24 homes sold under $400,000. I would imagine we are going to continue to see elevated median sales prices unless there is an influx of lower priced home inventory.

The land market regressed after a strong close to 2012. Perhaps, that may have been due to my over exuberance in the Unofficial December stats. More likely, we may have seen a similar scenario to the condo market with some sellers trying to close before the end of the calendar year resulting in fewer sales right after the new year. Again, I don’t necessarily see this as a sign of decreasing activity in the land market. As it stands, there are already seven land sales that have been recorded since February 1.

What does this all mean for buyers and sellers? Limited inventory continues to have a significant impact on the Maui Real Estate market. Entry level homes and condos are particularly scarce, but there are shortages of listings in some communities going all the way up to the $1,000,000+ range. Buyers need to be prepared to act quickly when the right opportunities come on the market. If you require financing, getting pre-approved on your loan is a must. It helps you determine your budget and it improves your standing in the eyes of sellers. Sellers are facing an interesting market place. While the situation for sellers is improving, there are things to be aware of if you are listing your property. I have seen a few properties go on the market well above recent comps. The Limited inventory has created enough of a frenzy that buyers are willing to submit offers at or near these premium prices. The challenge comes with appraisal. Appraisal standards are a lot tougher than they were in the boom times. If the comparable sales aren’t there, you won’t get the appraisal you need to move forward on a sale. Other listings that are going on the market for well over recent comparable sales aren’t getting as much interest. Market dynamics are proving to be complex. Either way, well priced properties are going to have a much higher chance of closing successfully.

We would welcome the opportunity to talk to buyers and sellers who are interested in entering the Maui Real Estate market. We look forward to discussing how we can assist you in achieving your goals in the Maui market. Contact The Maui Real Estate Team for a free consultation today.

Pete Jalbert