Gary's Blog

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Maui Visitor Arrivals Up!

Maui LEADS the state with visitor arrivals, up 14.2% in March from a year ago. Expenditures were up by 12.7% for the same month, the largest increase since April 2006. Maui also had the most visitor per day spending in March, a 9.4% increase from a year ago.

This is great news for real estate owners on Maui.

Consumer Confidence is growing nationwide, which helps us here in the Maui real estate industry. The best consumer confidence reading since '08's financial meltdown occurred last month. The Consumer Confidence Index rose in April to 57.9, according to the Conference Board, a private research group based in New York. That is up from 52.3 in March.

Home sales are up nationwide, the strongest month since last July and the biggest monthly increase in 47 years! These statistics are likely to tell people "get out there and buy now, the market won't ever be better than it is now, if you like to buy low".

The International Monetary Fund see 4.2% global growth for 2010. Again, if you own real estate in Maui, and don't need to sell, take it off the market! Maui real estate is such a bargain right now, only serious buyers need apply. This is what those with cash have been waiting for. And we are seeing homes and condos sell like we haven't seen for years.

Maui just sold the most expensive single family home on Maui in the history of the world! Jennifer Anniston just paid $19.9 million for a gorgeous home in Makena, closed last week.

More national news that is encouraging, unemployment fell in 69% of the largest metro areas last month. Employers added 162,000 obs in March, the government said earlier this month, the most significant gain in three years.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Maui Real Estate is Looking Good!

It just closed, the $20 million estate on the beach in Makena! Rumor has it that Jennifer Aston is the buyer, while she and Adam Sandler are filming at the Grand Wailea.

I'm sure you all know about the Barron's on-line article for the ten best places for a second home on the planet earth- Wailea is listed as #1!

Economic statistics are looking good, must be why the smart money is back to Maui real estate. For example, the Index of Leading Economic Indicators just rose in March by 1.4%, about 25% higher than economists predicted. That is on the heals of a 0.6% and 0.4% rise in February and January, respectively. Retail spending is up, businesses are boosting stockpiles, and consumer optimism is up, all good for the future of our Maui real estate market. Not necessarily good for interest rates, though. Now is the time to get that great rate!

It sure is nice to see Hawaii's unemployment rate among the lowest in the country, at just 6.9%. North Dakota is the lowest at 4.1%, and Michigan is the highest, at 14.1%. Hawaii is tied in eighth place for the lowest unemployment rate in the nation.

And what better time to come to Maui! The weather is gorgeous this time of year, tourism is down because the snowbirds have gone home, and the families are waiting for summer vacation. So you can pick up a wonderful piece of Maui real estate for a fraction of the value just a few years ago.

For example, I am liking a unit in Wailea that sold for $1,695,000 in 12/06, offered now for 1250k. Very motivated seller in the Wailea Palms, gorgeous remodel, and beautiful ocean views.

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Great News for Maui Real Estate

Statistics tell the whole story! Maui single family home sales are up 42% in the first quarter of this year. Average sales prices are down 16%. It looks like the buyers are saying "OK, now this makes sense!"

Frankly, the way I see it, it is downright irresponsible to be considering Maui real estate in your portfolio, and not take advantage of this market.

Maui condo sales were also up a robust 12%, but prices were down further than homes, 22%.

March saw the second consecutive monthly increase in home sales on Maui, and condo sales were at a 46-month high.

The question for everyone is not if prices will go up from here, but how quickly is the question. Six months ago, the question was if they will go up or down, and six months before that, the question was how much further will they go.

It feels good to be in a market where any answer to the big question is acceptable!

Other statistics that are encouraging: Nationally home sales are up, after a 30% average drop in prices nationwide. Economic growth is predicted at 3% for 2010, and increasing from here. The economy has been growing since the summer of '09. Maui visitor spending is on the increase also, up 25% so far this year compared to a year ago. And airline seats to Maui are up 14%, meaning lower cost to get here.

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Friday, April 9, 2010

Maui Shoppers are Shopping!

Sales in stores open at least a year rose 9% in March, based on an index of 31 retailers compiled by the International Council of Shopping Centers. This is the best showing we have seen since March of 1999.

Maui real estate buyers, pay attention! Prices are on the rise.

Ho'olei at Wailea is seeing some good absorption, and the new listings coming on are all coming on over $2.5 million. The lowest priced units are now running $1.8 million, vs. $1.6 million last year.

Kihei Villages, on the other end of the spectrum, is seeing some great absorption. We are down to five active listings, after 26 closed sales in the past year! That is less than three months' inventory, sure to cause prices to rise. Plus there are ten units in escrow as I type this!

Welcome back to Maui, real estate buyers!!

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

More Good Economic News

Maui is looking forward to the new jobs we should see soon, as the economic statistics show. More employment means higher demand for rental condos and real estate sales. We are already seeing inventory get gobbled up at double last year's pace here on Maui.

Nationally, the index measuring the number of people who agreed to buy previously occupied homes rose a huge 8.2% in February.

The nation's service sector is growing quickly, with the Institute for Supply Management's service index rising to 55.4 in March, from 53 in February. Anything above 50 signals expansion. Considering the service sector accounts for about 80% of our nation's economy, that is great news! Also, factories are producing more, and the economy added 162,000 jobs last month. That number is the biggest in almost three years. 123,000 of those new jobs were in the private sector, and that was also the highest such reading since May of 2007.

Here on Maui, our economy was still booming in May of 2007. To have statistics equal to those good-ole days is quite encouraging!

What really blows my mind is that the Maui News actually published the good news! Ordinarily, even with good news, the media like to put the negative spin on things. Hat's off to you, Maui News!

With all this positive news, low interest rates, strong foreign currencies in China, Canada, and Europe, we can expect a great summer for Maui real estate!

I just did a broker's price opinion in Pukalani this week for a bank. I was happy to see that we have closed more than twice as many sales in Pukalani in the past 12 months as we have current Active listings. My experience indicates that if our inventory is less than a six-months' supply, we are experiencing a strong, stable real estate market. If that inventory shrinks up any more, we can watch prices rise as demand outpaces supply.

Buyers' - don't wait until after prices rise again. Get in now, you'll be glad you did!

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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Wailea/Makena Real Estate Booming!

With a $27.5 million Makena home in escrow, FOUR Wailea Kialoa, a Papali, FIVE Maui Meadows homes in escrow, a Wailea Pualani, four Ho'olei units in escrow, two Kai Malu homes, a Kanani Wailea in escrow (a subdivision which has resisted buyers for almost a year!), FIVE Palms condos in escrow, two Wailea Fairway Villas, two Wailea Point units, four Wailea Ekahi, three Wailea Ekolu, a Grand Champions (multiple offers on this one, priced 60k over the last sale!), and THIRTY NINE CLOSED escrows already in Wailea, Makena, and Maui Meadows, things are looking up for South Maui real estate owners and agents.

It looks like the pent-up demand is finally releasing the breaks!

Lots of statistics this week give consumers confidence above an beyond normal. Maui visitor counts are up for the second month in a row, leading the state in growth. Over 7% increase from a year ago. For visitors who chose to visit only one island, Maui island visitor count grew by 12.4%!

Nationally, consumer spending is growing, up 0.3% in February, marking the fifth straight monthly gain. And factory orders rose again in February, the 10th increase out of the past 11 months. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve holds it's Federal Funds rate at zero to 0.25%, until they start seeing a stronger recovery in employment.

Thank you God, for allowing us to survive that last one. With inventory still offering a good selection, sellers still offering fantastic discounts, foreign currencies at all-time highs, and interest rates at all time lows, we are looking forward to a good 2010, and an even better 2011!

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Hawaii Economy on Rebound

The University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization (UHERO) is predicting recovery this year. Hawaii economic growth was negative 1.3% in 2008, negative 0.4% in 2009, and expected to be negative 0.2% for 2010.

Hawaii visitor growth has been encouraging in recent months.

Nationally, the GDP growth was just announced yesterday to be 5.6% in the October-to-December quarter, and Hawaii's growth typically follows the national figures by about six months. So we should be seeing that growth occurring beginning this quarter or next. The national figures are the best we have seen in six years!

Unemployment in the state of Hawaii has been considerably lower than nationally. The national rate just dropped again to its lowest level since September 2008, when the financial crisis intensified. Initial jobless claims dropped by over 30,000 last month, a bigger drop than analysts' estimates. Hawaii state unemployment is predicted to peak out at 6.9%, vs. the 9.7% nationally.

Another positive sign for Maui real estate values is the increased air traffic to Kahului from the mainland. I have reported multiple airlines' increased flights to Kahului from Chicago, Alaska, Orange County, LAX, and others. Alaska airlines just landed their first new flight from Sacramento to Kahului yesterday, just further evidence that the airlines are predicting the good 'ole days of tourism coming to Maui.

Buy the real estate now at the lowest prices we have seen in almost a decade, and watch your values and income rise as the economy does. And with some of the lowest interest rates we have seen in forever, and the strongest foreign currencies we have seen in decades, 2010 bodes to be a great year for Maui real estate investors!

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