Keeping you in the know

Keeping You in the Know
Welcome to another glorious year in paradise. Winter has been a particularly active year for our beloved ocean friends from Alaska. The waters are full of magical behaviors; tail slapping, dives and the ever coveted full breach. 
Meanwhile the land folks have had their own busy-ness with condo sales up 48 percent since last year, and a median sales price of $440,000.   Single family homes sales prices increased by 36% from the prior January, leaving the median priced home at $691,500
When tourism is active on Maui, business booms for homeowners of vacation rental properties, activity sales, restaurants and of course real estate agents. Visitors spent 8% more here in 2013 than in 2012, reporting a $3.7 billion year for hospitality businesses on Maui.  Individual spending was $1,582 per trip, up 5.5% from 2012.  "Owning a piece of the rental market is a great place to be today."   
Speaking of growth.  Pu'unene Shopping Center held its blessing ceremony announcing the forthcoming Target store, expected to employ up to 300 personnel when it opens in the first quarter of 2015 .  "Hmmm, where will all those new executives, managers and employees live? Now is the time to take action on owning a piece of Paradise."
Maui Hotel Four Seasons received a 4.8 (out of 5) ranking in 2013 and was ranked as an outstanding resort for those who love sport, by
Fairmont Kea Lani on  Maui was recognized once again by Conde Nast Travel Magazine with the prestigious Platinum Circle recognition.

What Sells a Property?
Forever homeowners have asked themselves and others, the simple question of what makes some homes sell so quickly and others grow tired and lost on the MLS?  One thing we know about human nature and that is it likes excitement, newness and yet familiarity.  Isn't that perplexing?  People tend to buy something similar to what they have owned, rented, grew up in or visited once and experienced great times. Occasionally there are those buyers that are numbers-oriented and don't dabble in the emotions or the use of the Ben Franklin scale of pros and cons.  But, to the typical buyer four elements are on their mind when making a real estate business purchase:
1) Function- a good make-sense floor plan and of course the location of the property
2) Aesthetics- it looks and smells great, or it can with the right adjustments
3) Market conditions and competition
4) Price- determining price based on the first 3 elements is the classic way a prospect debates the purchase transaction in their mind.  
If any one of the four are unusually off step with the norm then the prospect needs more encouragement to accept the "uniqueness" of the property.  Typically we see this adjusted in the price.  The value of a trained real estate agent is like having a guide; someone who has walked the path many times, seen hundreds of different styles and types of transactions, familiar with the resale market and the needs of buyers and sellers. Today to be a successful real estate broker part-time doesn't cut it; it requires daily tracking, marketing and knowledge acquired over years of experience.  If you own today and want to move your property efficiently and effectively, call me.  If you want to buy a property and are looking for a leading real estate industry leader, call me. 
REO Listings Down!
Only 16 REO (bank-owned) listings are currently listed on the MLS in Maui County, which includes the islands of Maui, Lanai and Molokai.  5 of those listings are on Molokai.  The distressed inventory is shrinking, partly because of increasing prices, and partly because Short Sales are so successful.
Interestingly, the number of Short Sale listings have increased from 29 in December to 39 today.  There are still good opportunities out there.  Don't hold back, this market is just getting started!
Gary Mooers

Maui #1 Island in the World, AGAIN!

Maui is Again Voted Best Isle in the World! 
Readers of Conde Nast Traveler again have voted Maui the top island in the United States and the world, according to the magazine's website,

Maui's scenery received a rating of 98.1.  The island's atmosphere was rated 95.8.  Its beaches were 95.6, activities 95.2, "friendliness" 92.6, lodging 92.1, and restaurants 88.9.

Readers "rave about this 'veritable paradise', calling it a 'combination of tropical ambiance and American comforts.

Low Inventory Driving Up Home & Condo Prices 
As of Wednesday, there were 618 single-family homes (SFRs) and 733 condos on the market in Maui County (Maui, Lanai and Molokai).  For homes, that's 2.6% less than what was for sale a year earlier, and for condos, it's 12.5% less than a year ago.
While the number of home listings has been dropping, median prices have been rising.
For the first 10 months of 2013, the number of single family homes sold increased 8% to 829, while the median price went up 15% to $532,500.  For condos, the number of sales in the first 10 months rose 11% to 1,120, while the median price increased 7% to $375,000.
Looking at sales by region, 45.2% of all the homes sold in Maui County were in Central Maui or Kihei.  Central Maui home sales increased 17% to 247, while prices increased there 13% to $415,260.  Kihei home sales remained constant for the first 10 months of the year, at 128 sales, but median home sale prices in Kihei were up 19% to $450,750.  The average condo sale in Kihei saw a 24% increase in median price, to $315,000.
In the luxury resort area of Wailea-Makena, the number of home sales increased 24% to 26, and the median price for the first ten months of '13 jumped 97% to $2.46 million.  The highest median price for condos sold in Maui County was in Wailea-Makena, where units went for $999,375, a 35% increase, and sales volume was up 17% to 98 units. 

This is Maui's 20th year as the best island in the United States, and it's the 19th year for Maui to be named by Conde Nast as best island in the world.  

Hotels Set August Record

Hotels in Hawaii set another all-time single-month record in August, bringing in $339 million in revenue to cap off the best summer ever for the state's tourism industry.

The August revenue was $3 million better than July- a record at the time.  It was also a 9.1% increase compared to August of last year.

Total summer revenue was up 8.5% vs. summer 2012.

Statewide, September had a slight decrease in visitor spending, down 4.85% from September, 2012.  Still, the year-to-date figure through September was up 4.1%.  On Maui, year-to-date spending rose 5.2%.

Maui Real Estate Still Going Strong

Hawaii BKs hit lowest level in 5 years
The number of Hawaii residents and businesses filing for bankruptcy fell in September to the lowest level in more than five years.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported 153 bankruptcies were file in September, down more than 4% from the same month a year ago, and the smallest number since February 2008, when there were 141.

Bankruptcy filings in Hawaii have been on a downward trend since 2010, as the job market has improved and consumer debt loads have declined.

Nationwide statistics are equally exciting.  Lenders initiated foreclosure action in August against the fewest U.S. homes for any month in nearly eight years.   August's 55,775 homes entering the foreclosure process was a decline of 8% from July, and down 44% from August last year, according to Realty-Trac Inc.. 


Visitor Arrivals and Expenditures Continue to Grow 

Maui logged growth in arrivals and visitor expenditures 2.8% for August as the slower "fall shoulder season" arrives for the industry.  

Maui's room rate hit a new high this summer, at $304.02 in July, while occupancy in Wailea had a strong month with occupancy at 78.2%, and revenue per available room up 12% to $379.59. 

Home Sales Jump

Sales of new homes increased 7.9% in August, after a drop in July of 14.1%.  This could ease worries that higher mortgage rates have started to dampen sales.

Prices for single-family homes and condos in Maui County showed strong growth in August, with median prices at $585,000 and $420,000 respectively, the Realtors Association of Maui reported.

Although condo sales for the month fell 15 units compared to August 2012, the median sales price rose 23%.  The median price was also up 14% from July's $370,000.

Residential sales were up only two units to 79, but the median price rose 15% from August last year.  Month over month, the median price was up 23% from $475,000 in July.

The August monthly data indicate that the market is taking a "seasonal breather" after the winter-to-spring rush.  Inventories have declined 12-17% in the past year.

Foreclosures and short sales have declined as well.  One month ago, 26% of residential sales and 11% of condo sales were foreclosures or short sales.  In August of 2012, those figures were 39.7% for residential sales and 28.4% for condo sales.

These numbers vary from region to region.  For example, Kihei logged the most condo sales in Maui, nearly doubling the sales of the next highest region (Napili/Kahana/Honokowai), in the first eight months of this year.   

Maui Real Estate Going STRONG

Residences at Kapalua set to be luxury hotel and residences
The time-share Residences at Kapalua Bay will be converted to a combination residences and hotel, and will undergo a name change.  Montage Hotels and Resorts, based in Laguna Beach, CA, was selected to manage the property for the owners Island Acquisitions Kapalua LLC.  Island Acquisitions Kapalua won an auction for the property following a bankruptcy proceeding completed this year. 

The new name of the resort will be Montage Kapalua Bay.  The project will be converted to a 56-residence-unit complex and a 50-room, all-suite Montage hotel.

Maui Hotel Occupancy up 2.3%
Maui hotel occupancy for June rose to 69.7%, the only island in the state to register a gain for the month, according to Hospitality Advisors and Smith Travel Research.
Overall statewide occupancy fell for June to 75.4%, nearly a 1% decline from last June.  Oahu led the islands in occupancy, at 84.6%.
June visitor spending on Maui grew 12.3% in June 2013 from June 2012 to $329 million, the Hawaii Tourism Authority reported.  Visitor arrivals on Maui were up 1.6% from June 2012.  Increased daily spending of 7% to $199 per person and a longer length of stay (up 3.3% to 7.85 days) boosted Maui's total visitor spending.


Hawaii Happy and Healthy

The Associated Press noted that 65-year-old Hawaii residents are likely to live another 21 years with 16 of them in good health, higher numbers than in any other state.  The worst state for longevity and health was Mississippi - 17.5 more years of live with seven of them in good health.

The story cited such factors as rates of obesity, smoking, diabetes and heart disease as contributing factors to life expectancy.

I think there is another factor that was not directly mentioned in the article - the happiness of the citizens of a state.

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index ranked Hawaii's citizens the happiest in the country in 2012.  That index measures such things as emotional health, physical health, healthy behaviors and job satisfaction.

It is interesting to note the correlation between happiness and life expectancy.  Hawaii is No. 1 in both - Mississippi is last in life expectancy and 48th in happiness of its citizens.

Of course, one could not simply move to Hawaii at age 65 and expect to achieve the state's average life expectancy... 

National Good News

U.S. new-home sales jumped to the highest level in 5 years in June, up 8.3% to 497,000, the Commerce Department said.  That's the highest since May 2008.  Sales have risen 38% in the past 12 months.  That's the biggest annual gain since January 1992.

U.S. home prices jumped 12.2% in May, the biggest annual gain since March 2006.  The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index also surged 2.4% in May from April, the highest month-over-month gain on record.

Consumer sentiment in July, according to The University of Michigan survey, as 85.1, up one point from June, but nearly 13 points higher than a year ago.

The unemployment rate fell in July to a 4.5 year low of 7.4% in July from 7.6% in June.  For the year, job growth has remained steady, with an added 200,000 jobs a month since January.

Consumer spending rose 0.5% in June compared to May, and factory orders rose 1.5% in June compared to May.  This is the second month that factory orders have been at an all-time high, surpassing the previous record set in June 2008.

Gary Mooers

Dwindling Supplies = Rising Prices

Dwindling Supplies Continues Upward Trend in Maui Real Estate Market

Because of declining inventories, sales of single-family homes rose 10% to 485 units, with median prices jumping 20% to $542,000 in the first six months of 2013, according to data released by the Realtors Association of Maui.

Condo sales were not as robust, growing only four units, or 1%, in the January-to-June period.   Median prices moved up 6% to $372,500, compared to the same period in 2012.

If you would like to see the entire report from RAM, which breaks down the sales by district, please shoot me an e-mail. 

Oahu Home Median Price Nears All-time 2007 Peak
The Honolulu Board of Realtors says the median sales price for a single-family home on Oahu was $677,250 in June, about 1% below the market's peak price of $685,000 in June 2007.  It is also 9% higher than the same month last year.
The organization says the median price of a condo rose 11% from last year, to $330,000.

U.S. Home Prices up 12.2%

U.S. home prices jumped 12.2% from a year ago, the most in seven years.  Real estate data provider CoreLogic said Tuesday that home prices rose from a year ago in 48 states.  They fell only in Delaware and Alabama.
Prices rose 26% in Nevada to lead all states.  It was followed by California (20.2%), Arizona (16.9%), Hawaii (16.1%) and Oregon (15.5%).
CoreLogic also says prices rose 2.6% in May from April, the 15th straight month-over-month increase.
Prices are still 20% below the peak reached in April 2006, according to CoreLogic.
Sales of previously occupied homes topped the 5 million mark in May for the first time in 3.5 years.  And the proportion of those sales that were "distressed" was at the lowest level in more than four years for the second straight month.  Distressed homes sales include foreclosures and short sales.

National Good News

The U.S. housing recovery is strengthening.  Factories are fielding more orders.  And Americans' confidence in the economy has reached its highest point in 5.5 years.
The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index jumped this month to 84.1, the highest reading since January 2008.
Last month, U.S. employers added 195,000 jobs, better than the average of about 175,000 new jobs per month for the past year.
This positive sentiment is resulting in increased consumer spending, up 0.3% last month.
Consumers' confidence is closely watched, because their spending accounts for 70% of economic growth.
Homebuilder confidence is also soaring.  U.S. homebuilders are feeling more optimistic about their home sales prospects than they have in more than seven years.  The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Tuesday jumped to 57 this month from 51 in June.  It was the third consecutive monthly gain.  A reading above 50 indicates more builders view sales conditions as good, rather than poor.  The index hasn't been that high since January 2006.

Hawaii #5 in Nation for Home Price Increase

Hawaii #5 in Nation for Home Price Increase
Hawaii was among the top five states with the highest home price appreciation in March compared to the same month in 2012, according to a report by CoreLogic.

Hawaii was ranked No. 5 among states for home price appreciation when sales of distressed properties were factored out, with an appreciation of 14.3 percent in March.
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