Maui Real Estate Newsletter

Aloha!   

As yet another year is about to come to an end, there seems to be a good amount of confusion and uncertainty in the housing market on a nationwide basis—including Hawaii. My inbox is constantly filled with reports from various noteworthy sources, and for the first time in memory there’s quite a difference in opinions and interpretations of statistical trends and what the immediate future holds.

For instance, nationally home sales are down with only the Northeast having a slight increase in pending home sales at 0.7%. On the other hand, and in a more positive light, NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun commented, “… mortgage rates are much lower today compared to earlier this century, when mortgage rates averaged 8 percent. Additionally, there are more jobs today than there were two decades ago… the long-term prospects look solid, we just have to get through this short-term period of uncertainty.”

Another resource suggests that in Hawaii, California, and Massachusetts--due to the erosion of affordability in these higher priced markets--growth rates have declined by 1.7%, 0.7%, and 1% respectively. Predictably, affordability for younger millennials and first-time home buyers has been impacted by rising prices and somewhat higher interest rates.

In speaking with many of my peers and friends in Real Estate in California, the consensus seems to be that things are slowing down and price resistance is causing reductions and/or longer days on market—which seems consistent with aforementioned reports. Conversely, the Maui News reported on November 13 (based on October statistics) that the median price for single-family homes reached $774,223, just $6,000 less than the record high set in May of 2005 and tied in July of 2006. As I track the market on a daily basis here, I’m frequently seeing new home listings go “pending” in less than 10 days on the market, while condo sales remain consistently good, as well.

Explanation? Your guess is as good as mine. One thought might be that for many years we have been touting Maui as the ideal place for Baby Boomers to purchase homes for their ultimate retirement. While many have already taken that step and become owners here, this may be that time when Boomers, average age early to mid-60’s, are realizing that the time has come—before all those X and Y gens snatch them all up!

Click Here for November Statistics

Not everyone interested in owning Maui Real Estate is looking for a single-family home, though. Many still appreciate the convenience of condo living—no more lawns to mow, roofs to repair, fences to build. So, this month’s Featured Property is south Maui’s iconic Mana Kai Hotel/Condos.

The Mana Kai features 98 individually-owned condominiums in an 8-story high direct oceanfront structure that simultaneously offers the amenities of a fine hotel, starting with the convenient check-in desk at the entry. Each unit has two bedrooms and two baths ensuite, and offers the option to lock-off one bedroom and bath and use or rent it as a hotel room, maintain the other suite with bedroom, bath, and full kitchen—and ocean views that will take your breath away!


Built in 1973 with funding from a hui (group) of United Airlines pilots and employees, each taking ownership of one unit—and including a brand new Ford Fairlane in each of 98 reserved parking spaces.  Ah, those were the days.  Today, the building and units have gone through numerous remodels and upgrades.  The Fairlanes are gone and most original owners have sold their units or deeded them to their children.

On-site amenities include a full-service casual dining restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner; a bar with plenty of seats and tables for Happy Hour and fresh sushi, a large swimming pool with waterfall feature, deli, fitness center, yoga studio, and business center.  You can even rent kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, and bicycles right on the property.

As if that weren’t enough, the Mana Kai is an extremely popular destination location for vacation rentals and generates some of the best rental incomes in south Maui.  And, there are two units currently For Sale!

MLS #380105—This fifth-floor unit has been extensively remodeled and shows extremely well.  You’ll love the light and bright tropical colors and décor.  Of course, ocean and beach views stretch forever down the .7 mile stretch of Keawakapu Beach.  Make this one your own for $1,550,000!!!

MLS #380730—Two floors up to the highly coveted seventh floor you’ll appreciate the different look that this richly decorated and elegantly furnished unit will provide.  Subtle yet sophisticated colors will provide the perfect backdrop to swaying palm trees and magnificent sunsets.  Don’t hesitate if you’re looking for something exceptional $1,650,000!!!

The great weather is still here even as we roll into December.  No rains yet and temperatures hovering slightly above normal in the mid 80’s daily.  Not so great for us locals who look forward to a little rain and cooler days (and nights), but great for visitors coming from the frozen tundra for a one or two-week winter thaw.  If you’re coming for a visit, don’t forget to give me a call.

Best wishes for a safe and joyous holiday season.  Perhaps 2019 will be your year to make the dream of owning Real Estate on Maui come true.  It would be my joy to help make that happen!

Warm regards and “a hui hou” until next year,

Michael Blaz

Aloha!   

As our summer winds down--although you wouldn’t know it by the temperatures every day--our beaches begin to lose a little sand with every low tide and days get a little shorter.  Daylight Savings Time will soon become a distant memory (everywhere but here and Arizona). Halloween decorations are popping up on some of the houses in the neighborhood and I know retailers are chomping at the bit to get past Halloween and start right in with Christmas fare.  Thanksgiving has long since been relegated to a family gathering and the week you can buy turkeys for .69/lb, but not much more than that.

After a very sluggish September, Real Estate activity seems to have picked up a bit as I’m seeing more “Pending Sales”.  While many markets on the mainland are starting to hunker down for the long winter months, we, of course, look forward to our busiest months from December through April. 

For those of you, though, who might be inclined to go against the grain and put your home on the market sooner than later, here are five cost-effective improvements the average weekend do-it-yourselfer can tackle that will add value to your home—granted, some easier than others. (ref: RIS Media House calls March 1, 2017)


1.  Boost First Impression with Curb Appeal

Of course, pull the weeds and mow the lawn, but how about adding some fresh new blooms in a newly created flower bed framed by some simple bricks?  New pavers from the driveway across the lawn to the front door will create a fresh new look.  Don’t forget that tired old garage door that’s crying out for a new coat of paint!


2.  Re-paint Your Kitchen Cabinets.

The kitchen is clearly a great place to invest your time and a few dollars making easy improvements, and whether it’s kitchen, baths, bedrooms, etc. staging, staging, staging is always a great bang for your buck.  Yes, repaint those old wooden kitchen cabinets.  Invest in some sleek new hardware for the cabinets.  And don’t forget to remove all the clutter from the countertops, pictures, and magnets on the refrigerator, some fresh new kitchen towels, and maybe a new piece of art to hang over the circuit breaker box on the wall.

3.  Crown Molding for Along the Ceilings

You may not be able to install crown molding in the entire house over a weekend, focus on the important rooms: kitchen, living room, master bedroom.  Keep the color very light—off-white at the most—to draw eyes upward and make the ceilings seem higher than they actually are.

4.  Beautify the Bathrooms

Bathrooms sell!  Without getting involved in a complete remodel, consider a new fixture over the vanity; clean, new shower curtain; even a new vanity.  Paint never hurts, of course, and new fluffy towels displayed in a deco-type fold over your towel rods will help.  Accessorize with a new soap dish and toothbrush holder; floor mats, too.

5.  Out with the Really Old

Of course, old, tired furniture should be replaced when possible and the clutter removed, but here again new lighting, paint, perhaps a contemporary area rug even just over the old wall-to-wall can help.  Move furniture away from the wall when possible; accessorize with throw pillows and new art.  Consider taking down the old wood (or worse yet, fake wood) paneling in favor of smooth-walled paint.  Shopworn wallpaper or (ugh) grasscloth can be stripped in favor of a nicely painted accent wall.  Be creative!

I was recently asked to do a little “staging” with a very minimal budget on a 1BR condo I just listed.  Shopping Macy’s Last Chance sale department and Ross, I was able to purchase a chic looking new comforter and bed skirt for the king-sized bed.  I added some fresh new art for the wall to replace old family photos, lots of bright and cheery throw pillows for the bed and sofa in the living room, some accessories for table tops and had the sofa and dining chairs steam cleaned all for under $400.  Now if I could just find a buyer for the condo…

Perhaps I can find a buyer for some of this month’s Featured Properties, all new to the market (less than 10 days), all with fabulous ocean views and premium locations within their complex, and all vacation rentable with $1,000’s in advance bookings included with the sale:

MLS #380105—Ever since I first visited Maui in 1985, the Mana Kai, Five Palms restaurant, and fabulous location on Keawakapu Beach has been my home away from home.  In my opinion, Mana Kai is the best beachfront property in south Maui under $3 million.  Minutes to the Shops at Wailea and all the amenities Wailea has to offer.  Don’t miss out.  $1,550,000!!!4

MLS #380135—The word “iconic” was created to describe Wailea Ekahi, its history in the resort community, beautifully landscaped and maintained grounds, and a favorite as a vacation destination for generations.  Many units are sold amongst owners and never even make it to the MLS.  Here’s your chance to own a great 2BR/2BA unit.  $1,699,000!!!

MLS #380102—Ho’olei has earned its reputation as a superb alternative to the luxury hotels that line the beach in Wailea.  With its spacious interiors and 3BR/3.5BA Townhouse design, this 2,426 sq. ft. Plumeria floor plan will satisfy your most demanding expectations.  As prices continue to rise, Ho’olei stands fast as one of the better values in the luxury market.  $3,390,000!!!

MLS #380101—Wailea Beach Villas, the last beachfront property built in Wailea offers unfettered ocean and outer island views from its high-end Penthouse units.  This rare-to-the-market 3BR/3BA 2,180 end unit 4th floor Penthouse features 180+ degree views as far as the eye can see.  With access to the shopping and dining options at the fabulous Shops at Wailea just steps away, paradise is at your fingertips.  $5,750,000!!!

Complete September Statistics

It has been a long time since I have seen a movie that I cannot stop raving about and will be going back for a second viewing, and I’m likely not the first person you have heard this from.  If you only see one movie a year, or one every decade for that matter, go see “A Star is Born”.  Here’s easy access to the trailer if you are so inclined.

Mahalo for following my Monthly Newsletter, some of you for many years…so buy something already!

Warm regards,

Michael Blaz

Aloha!   

Real Estate trends are always best evaluated over a long period of time and with large sample sizes.  Having said that, over the past 2-3 months and with the very small sample of Maui (south Maui, at that) I have noticed what I consider to be a bit of a slow-down.  Could be an anomaly, but I tend to look at our number of “Pending” sales from month to month as an indicator of activity in general.  Our pending sales have dropped 15-20% during that time period.

Then, as coincidence would have it, last week one of my favorite sources, RISmedia Daily e-News, published an article entitled, “Is the Housing Market Normalizing?  One Sign the Tide’s Turning”.

No question the housing market has been strong for the past couple of years—overwhelmingly in favor of sellers.  Now, though, there are some very early indicators that the market may shift.  Price reductions across the board are becoming more common; this summer has seen 14.2% of homes nationwide adjust their prices downward.

For the most part, larger reductions have been seen on higher-priced properties and on the West Coast (Hawaii?).  Entry level homes and those priced at or below area medians are holding and still in high demand.

So how seriously should one take these early indicators?  Aaron Terrazas, Senior Economist at Zillow thinks it’s a little too early to judge these premature signs.

“It’s far too soon to call this a buyer’s market,” Terrazas says.  “Home values are still expected to appreciate…over the next twelve months, but the frenetic pace of the housing market over the past few years is starting to return to a more normal trend.”


This month’s Featured Property offers across the board appeal, whether you’re getting into the market for the first time or you’re looking for that perfect, affordable Wailea condo for the in-laws to stay in when they come to visit.

Wailea Ekahi- 45A (MLS #379474) is the least expensive short-term rental for sale in Wailea at the present time.  Many of you know that the iconic Wailea Ekahi complex was the first condominium project built in Wailea in the mid-1970’s, and to this day, its popularity has never wavered. 

This preferred 1BR/2BA unit is situated at the highest point in the complex, with expansive tropical garden views as the property meanders down to the oceanfront.  Paddle ball courts and four seldom-used swimming pools are on-site—one of the pools conveniently close to this tastefully appointed unit.  Enjoy an artist’s palate of a Hawaiiana floral display from your very private and spacious lanai as you sip your favorite late-afternoon beverage.  New carpeting, designer touches, and remodeled bathrooms offer a turnkey experience for you and guests.

What a lovely gift for you and your family—ownership of this fabulous condo. 
Wailea Ekahi 45A.  $835,000.

Click Here for all Kihei Condos for Sale
Click Here for all Wailea Condos for Sale
Click Here for August Statistics

Unless you’ve been stranded on a desert island and away from all news media, you know that the islands were recently threatened by Category 5 Hurricane Lane.  It sputtered and puttered along for several days just offshore in the Pacific until it finally tucked tail and headed out to the deep blue sea.  Unfortunately, Hawaii (aka The Big Island) took the brunt of the storm and suffered severe flooding out and around the very same part of the island that has been spewing molten lave for the last many weeks.  Maui, Oahu, and Kauai were totally spared, as is often the case.  The last serious hurricane to really cause significant damage to Maui was in 1950.  Favorable tradewinds and higher elevation wind shear seem to always come to the rescue.  Here's a little hurricane humor for you:

As your summer winds down, visions of Maui this winter may be dancing through your head.  Make it a reality.  Come visit.  I’m always happy to sit down over a cup of coffee or glass of wine, or two, and talk Maui Real Estate, or…

Mahalo nui loa,

Michael Blaz

Blogs for December 2018

Which Way is the Housing Market Trending? Can You Guess?

Posted on December 01, 2018

Aloha!   

As yet another year is about to come to an end, there seems to be a good amount of confusion and uncertainty in the housing market on a nationwide basis—including Hawaii. My inbox is constantly filled with reports from various noteworthy sources, and for the first time in memory there’s… Continue Reading