Life and Real Estate in Maui; and, oh…that Pandemic!

April 13, 2020


Wow! What a difference a month makes. In our wildest Sci-Fi dreams could we have imagined then where we are now? Many of you probably already know what’s going on in Maui (not much!) but for those who don’t, I’ll give you a brief update.

Our Mayor Mike Victorino was the first in the state to mandate sheltering in place, social distancing, and shutting down of all but essential businesses on the island. Of course California, Washington, and a handful of other states had already imposed the same. Cancellations for advance visitor reservations for March, April, and May started pouring in.

Days after our Mayor established the virtual lockdown, Governor Ige followed with similar restrictions for the entire state. Then, on March 25, he enacted a 14-day quarantine requirement for visitors and returning residents, as well; to remain totally indoors, isolated. That really was the death knell to the small semblance of tourism still hanging on.

The beaches are still open for activities such as walking or jogging (no more than two people together at a time), swimming, fishing and spear fishing, surfing, paddle boarding and wind surfing. Absolutely no lounging on the beach, reading, sunbathing, or meditating—even if just one person. Essential businesses such as food stores (TG for Costco!), medical facilities, gas stations and auto repair, hardware and home improvement stores—and some restaurants for takeout only remain available.

But, probably like where you live as well, things change on an almost daily basis. Here is a short audio of our Mayor’s latest enforcements. Otherwise, the Maui police are being kept busy citing violators (after ample warnings).

The number tally for the state of Hawaii as of April 10—464 reported cases of COVID-19, 8 deaths statewide; 65 of those cases on Maui with 3 of the 8 deaths.

I am intentionally keeping the Real Estate information brief for this month, with links to current financial information from Kathy Rosales and our board Real Estate stats for the month of March. By all means avail yourself of my comprehensive website to search properties and more, or just send me an email. But here are some personal observations (and opinions) of mine that may be of interest to you:

To my surprise, new listings on Maui are hitting my inbox daily at a pace that does not suggest any slow-down of activity from this pandemic. That at a time when lack of inventory even under normal conditions was becoming more and more of a problem. Factor in the very limited opportunities to market and show properties other than through virtual means (i. e., no Open Houses, no hosting in-person showings, no allowing any entry into even vacant properties without expressed owner permission for any reasons—inspections, appraisals, even repairs) and it makes one wonder why the motivation to list now?

Reality is, as my former mother-in-law used to say, “…this, too, shall pass.” But in the meantime, some owners of vacation rental properties may not have the financial staying power to support mortgages, taxes, and maintenance fees on properties that are not generating any income with no way of knowing how long this will last. Getting the property in front of potential buyers now may shorten the sell-time later. I’m actually suggesting this to some of my former clients (or some of you reading this Newsletter) as a possible strategy.

Complete March Statistics

Kathy’s Financial Updates

As for me, I don’t surf, fish, or sailboard, but my girlfriend and I do walk the beautiful Keawakupu Beach 2 or 3 mornings a week. And I have resurrected my Core Fitness class 2 mornings a week that I taught at my local gym for 9 years until passing the baton last summer. Only this time it’s in my garage with me, my girlfriend, and one other lady who was a “regular” all those years; social distancing, you know. We go food shopping one day a week (with masks on) and hit the Farmer’s Markets–now operating out of their vehicles with one customer at a time. We’re making some great fun meals like lasagna and chicken enchiladas at home that we didn’t take time for before. I, of course, am maintaining my well-established daily wine drinking program with plenty of great wines still in the cellar. Oh, and then there’s my guitars!

I hope you are all staying safe and being patient with yourself and your loved ones during these difficult times.

Much aloha,

Michael Blaz
Maui Realty Associates
(808) 283-9093 cell
(808) 879-5510 fax

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