homepage logo

Maui’s market great — if we protect the aina

By Staff | Jun 20, 2013

It’s vital to protect Maui’s beautiful environment.

Home and condominium prices on Maui have been rising for over a year now, following record increases in tourism and a less robust, but steady, rise in the national economy.

We predict that pent-up demand and sellers moving up to larger homes will push prices up further. Realtors Association of Maui MLS statistics suggest that we’ve passed the bottom of the market here, but there is still a long way to go before reaching the peak prices of 2007.

This has created the most opportune window we’ve seen to purchase a home or condo. Here are some interesting MLS stats for the month of May:

Year-to-date average home prices are up 22 percent, with condo prices up 17 percent; in 2012, year-to-date average home and condo prices were DOWN by 9 percent.

Listing inventory has shrunk 17 percent since 2012, after shrinking 12 percent the year before.

REO and short sale listings and sales, once nearly half of the market, are now rare.

Current absorption rate of active listings for homes is 4.3 months, down from 11.4 months in 2012; for condos, 4.6 months, down from nine months in 2012.

We’ve seen some interesting trends in the makeup of Maui home and condo buyers. Local demand for homes and condos has increased as our job market has improved and rental inventory has shrunk, while rental rates have nearly reached 2007 levels. Over the last few years, a huge percentage of foreign buyers were from Canada, which never experienced a recession. In 2012, there were 228 sales to Canadian buyers, and only a handful from Japan (5), Australia (5) and a few other countries. We’re seeing a return of investors and second home buyers from the Mainland, primarily from California (463) and Washington (166), as their real estate values recover. But in talking with industry experts, look for more intercontinental investors, including Japan, China, Korea and Southeast Asia, as they discover our lower prices and easier restrictions on purchasing in the USA.

It helps that Asian cuisine is increasingly available in Maui’s stores and restaurants. Historically, Asian buyers have concentrated in Honolulu, but Maui’s uncrowded beaches and familiar amenities will attract more Asian buyers over time. And surprisingly, expect more buyers from Europe. Plans for nonstop flights from London to Hawaii – a relatively quick 12-hour flight, making their flying time equivalent to other tropical destinations like Thailand and Bali – will make European investment in Hawaii’s clean, safe and beautiful environment much more attractive.

That brings up an important fact: we need to keep in mind what makes Maui No Ka Oi – the aina, the heart and soul of our precious island. Locals, visitors and off-island investors will not want to live or visit here if we don’t respect the Hawaiian culture and preserve our open spaces and reefs, access to beaches, and in general our beautiful, safe and clean environment. As our population grows, we need to constantly remind ourselves how important it is to protect the aina.

We believe this is the best time to buy Maui real estate since I began selling here in 1987, which is why Carol and I opened RE/MAX Island Properties earlier this year. While not yet as visible here as it is elsewhere, RE/MAX is the #1 seller of real estate nationwide and worldwide – the most recognized brand of any franchise, with offices in over 85 countries. We look forward to offering the highest level of professional service to our buyers and sellers in this exciting time. You can easily search all the current listings on the Maui MLS by visiting our site, www.barrybrownmaui.com, or feel free to call us at 870-8888 or e-mail barry@barrybrownmaui.com. A hui hou!