2017 Maui Market Predictions — and November Market Trends

Real Quick November 2016 Update

Before I get into the 2017 Maui Market predictions, let’s look at the November numbers.  December is not done yet but my quick look shows no major changes.

The fall market usually shows slowing down in sales, particularly condo sales. We have seen this in West Maui  condos where unit sales are down 13% from last year and the median price is trending down about 11%.   Everywhere else is either up, steady or not enough data to really determine! Generally, sales in the residential market are stronger than in the past 2 years.  And prices are up too.

screen-shot-2016-12-23-at-3-12-21-pmHome ownership is a key wealth indicator! Here is a great chart that shows,  on average over history of the U.S. Real Estate markets what impact owning a home will have on your family’s wealth.

2017 Maui Market Predictions

The primary market influences are interest rates, new developments, lack of  affordable housing and supply and demand. 

Market Influences

Interest Rates

screen-shot-2016-12-28-at-6-15-40-pm
Hawaii 30 year mortgage rates from Bankrate.com

Interest rates have “skyrocketed” since the election. They are changing daily and changing fast. Generally,  I believe the days of uber low rates are over. This rapid change makes people considering purchasing a property be more cautious.  I listen to the analysts and a few say the highest rates will get to by the end of 2017 is “pushing 5%”.   Most say they will hit 4.5 and hang around there. Historically, 5% is still a very good rate. Here is a chart that shows 30 year mortgage rates in Hawaii over the last 5 years.  We’ve been blessed with lower rates but rates right now are still lower than in 2013.  Yes, it will possibly make it so that some 1st time homebuyers won’t be able to qualify.  There is plenty of money out there to lend, and I think if interest rates go up, the lenders will find more ways to make mortgages work for qualified buyers. One thing that teamed with higher interest rates could make  a difference is if the Mortgage Interest Deduction is removed; the threat has been there for awhile. Please support keeping it!  It makes a difference – especially to first time homebuyers. If you question that, ask me about my first home! One more factor to recognize is that for Maui almost 39% of purchases are cash.   Interest Rate Change Significance to the Market:  LOW. 

New Developments

Everyone loves to buy a “Brand New Home“.  Right now, Maui has more new developments available than we have seen in years. The lead time from signing for a property until it is ready is usually very long – 18 months is my guess.  The developers complain about the county permitting process. Hearing about some of the reasons for delays makes me take the developer’s side. The nature of Maui makes many citizens not want any development which makes it even harder on developers.  Will the developers be able to add enough housing to the mix to meet the housing needs? I don’t think so. Nationally growth rates have grown much more than Maui. I don’t encourage all growth but it will happen. It is better to responsibly manage growth than to fight it and have it happen anyway. New Development Significance to Market: Low

Affordable Housing

Even in the new home “affordable housing” arena, the prices of new builds are higher than similar resale properties. There is some good reasons to consider – better building means more energy efficiency, the “new factor” and better management of associations. The lack of affordable housing on Maui is significant. It will stay significant as there are not enough rentals and rents are going up faster than housing prices. I could write a whole blog post just on affordable housing. I think our government needs to look realistically at the solutions which include attracting better jobs, better education and providing an appropriate mix of affordable housing.

One of the biggest aspects of Affordable Housing is our Jobs Market. Because so much of our real estate market is 2nd homes and vacation properties, jobs don’t play as big of a role as in many markets. That said, it is an impact. There are lots of jobs and unemployment is low. What our state doesn’t report on is “underemployment” as many people need 2-3 jobs to survive. Typically those people are not buying homes. Here is a quote from the State on the County of Maui economic condition

Maui County saw a net gain of 2,200 jobs or a 3.0 percent increase in the third quarter of 2016 over the same quarter of 2015. Jobs gained the most in Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (500 jobs), followed by Health Care and Social Assistance (400 jobs), Food Services & Drinking Places (300 jobs), Natural Resources, Mining, and Construction (300 jobs), and Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities (300 jobs). The largest private sector job losses occurred in Accommodation (200 jobs lost). Government added 100 jobs in the quarter.

Affordable Housing Significance to Market: Low

Supply and Demand

There are always people arriving and leaving Maui. It is actually a market that changes fairly fast. Some areas are definitely more isolated with long-time residents. Many renters are tired of escalating rents and/or having to move frequently. Inventories are relatively flat  at 8.5 months overall, 5.7 for single family houses. Prices fluctuate a lot but there are no clear trends.  Last month the average sales price for all property types was $731,798.  The median was $502,000.  For the last 2 years, the median range has been  $476,750 (Dec 2015) to $565,000 (Oct 2016) without much logic to the ups and downs except that all of 2016 has been in the $500’s except January. So I have to go with the national analysts and say I don’t see a big change coming.  Steady markets maybe with a little growth.  In general, although there are exceptions, we still aren’t seeing many Canadians buying because the exchange rate is .74 where it has been hovering for months.  There are a few more Asian buyers but nothing too drastic.  Affordable Housing Significance to Market: Low

Summary Predictions for the Maui Real Estate Market

Mainland markets that Maui tracks with (see California summary) have experienced some slowing meaning growth has slowed however growth is still happening. Many West Coast agents talk that they see the beginning to a decline in markets. We do know that markets shift very quickly; blink and you missed it so stay aware if you are considering a move.

screen-shot-2016-12-23-at-3-52-18-pmWe do see more Gen-X’ers and Millennials getting into the market; here is an interesting chart from Business Insider that shows that many Millennials are unaware that there are some great low-down payment options. screen-shot-2016-12-23-at-3-15-33-pmI’d also like to share a great chart that shows that you don’t need perfect credit to qualify for a loan. This year is a great year for 1st time homebuyers to buy.

For my prediction for Maui, I see a continued stable market.  The spring season of 2nd-home and vacation rental investor will be strong because buyers want to take advantage of interest rates before they creep higher. The summer and fall will be slower but steady.  The end of 2017 is truly hard to predict as our nation and the global economies see what happens with the new president and congress in place. I anticipate changes but I’m not sure what direction and how much it will impact Maui.

What other things do you think may impact our real estate markets in 2017? Please share you thoughts and solutions!

Questions or comments? Need help with Buying or Selling or just understanding the market?

 
I am offering FREE real estate reviews. You don’t need to be thinking of buying or selling now to benefit. Often your home is a primary asset, so meet with a real estate professional to find out what your property is worth and what your options and strategies may be! Please ask below or call or text Kathy at 808-344-0469.

View the Detailed Maui Real Estate Market Reports

Click on the report and it will be brought up in a new window.

Maui Full Trends Report. 12-page PDF report showing trends for each Area of Maui.

Maui Market Foreclosure Trends – month by month summary of REO and short sales in the Maui Market.

Maui Market Snapshot. 1-page PDF report showing trends for each Area of Maui.
Maui Market Snapshot. 1-page PDF report showing trends for each Area of Maui.

7 Budget-Friendly Staging Ideas to Boost Your Home’s Appeal

You don’t need to be selling your home to benefit from these staging tips!   If you are selling, home staging has become a common step in the real estate process, with many realtors strongly recommending it to sellers or even considering it necessary for securing an offer. While staging does tend to help a home sell more quickly and at a higher price, the cost of hiring a professional can be staggering.

7 Great Budget Staging Ideas

Consider these easy, do-it-yourself staging shortcuts that capture your buyers’ interest without busting your budget:

  1. Enliven drab rooms with vibrant accents. While neutral paint colors are typically the best bet for appealing to a wide variety of buyers, they may cause the home to appear bland and impersonal. Adding inexpensive touches, such as brightly colored towels, pillows, or flowers creates an alluring contrast and help the room stand out in buyers’ minds. Another option is to consider painting an accent wall with an eye-catching color. Since a quart of paint should cost under twenty dollars, this simple solution can quickly transform a room.
  2. Find creative ways to highlight your home’s best features. For example, if you have an impressive master bath, update lighting, buy luxurious towels and assemble a basket of lotions to make it feel like a luxurious spa. This will draw buyers’ eyes toward the features that you want them to see.
  3. Ensure that the entrance to your home is welcoming. First impressions can be pivotal—particularly when you are selling your home. If the entrance to your home is lackluster or in disrepair, potential buyers may not even bother to see the interior. Spur interest from the start by purchasing a new welcome mat, planting some cheerful-looking flowers, and fixing any damaged paint on or around the front door.
  4. Give your kitchen and bathrooms a facelift with new hardware. Kitchen and bath remodels carry exorbitant costs and are impractical when your home is already on the market. However, by applying fresh paint to cabinets and replacing faucets and drawer pulls, you can quickly give these rooms an updated appearance without generating substantial costs.
  5. Employ accessories to help buyers envision themselves living in your home. Remember that the main purpose of staging is to transform your home into a blank slate upon which buyers can picture their new lives—and often, this effect may be achieved with simple, everyday objects. For instance, set a bag of high-quality coffee next to the coffee pot, place empty shopping bags from trendy stores in the master bedroom closet, or stage the dining room table with placemats, cloth napkins, and a bottle of wine and glasses.  One thing I do when staging (and I do it in my own home at least once a year!) is to gather all my accessories on the dining room table.  Then I group and see how I can redeploy them in interesting and often functional ways. Too many accessories is distracting so pack or give away any that don’t make a room more appealing. 
  6. If you have couches or chairs that are worn or have distracting patterns, conceal them with slipcovers. These guises are relatively inexpensive and will neutralize the room so that buyers can focus their attention on your home’s most important features.
  7. Visit consignment and thrift stores for furniture if you need to round out an empty room. Often, these outlets are troves of low-cost furniture in surprisingly good condition.

Best Tip of All

Last but certainly not least, use an agent who is willing to help you make decisions and guide you through staging.  I’ve gone through home staging courses and this is one of my favorite parts of the home selling process.   Call Kathy today 808-344-0469. 

15 Ways to Bring More Gratitude Into Your Life

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.  This morning I woke up and the first thing that I thought about was how we walk around saying “Happy Thanksgiving” without really thinking about what we are really grateful for.  Recently so many people have been shackled by the election results rather than focusing on what they can do and all the gifts we should have deep gratitude for. 

Here are a few tips that will improve your gratitude and improve your life. Do these this week or every day!

  1. If you need a little support for living with more gratitude and gradually improving your life, sign up for MorningCoach.com.  For about $30/month, you get 15 minutes of gratitude, motivation and tips for improving your life.  It is a podcast released 7 days a week that starts your day off right.  The reason this is number one is because JB Glossinger inspired me to write this blog post.  Everyday he inspires me in more ways than I can imagine.
  2. Appreciate life itself.   Think of people we have lost.  Somehow it hits so much deeper when someone gifted and talented takes their own life.  
  3. Recognize distractions – drinking, drugs, clutter, and remove them.  One piece at a time but you will make progress each day. 
  4. Journal – write down 5-10 things to be grateful for.  Also write down things you want removed or minimized from your life.  That can be people too! 
  5. Review your photo galleries – So much to be thankful for over the years. What photo can you take today?
  6. Recognize people in your life that you truly love.  Write them a note and tell them.  No reason – just do it.
  7. Take 2 minutes to stop, breathe, think and act.  Feel the gratitude coming in.  Some people call it prayer, some call it meditation but just stop and relax.
  8. Accept compliments and gratitude.  Accept a smile from a stranger. Give a smile to a stranger. 
  9. Ask for people in your life to give you feedback.  Make it easy and non-confrontational for them.
  10. Remember where you are from.  Your family, your friends and your place.  We don’t always love everything but there are some things we just can’t change.  Accept and love them. 
  11. Change the language you use.  Whether you talk to friends, clients or  yourself one word can change the feeling. I was listening to a real estate coach the other day and he advised that when addressing people’s objections, change one word.  He was talking about when we talk to clients.  I was thinking “I do this in my self-talk”.   His advise was to acknowledge the issue and avoid the “BUT”.  Instead of saying “I was too busy to get to XYX but I really want to help them” say “I was too busy to get to XYZ  AND I really want to help them”.  There are probably lots of ways to do this and this is the one I’m focusing on now and am amazed at how it really can change you.
  12. Hang around grateful people.  That doesn’t mean people who are always positive or cheerful.
  13. Celebrate good things.  In little ways.   This is another MorningCoach tip — when you find more money in your life, do the Money Dance.  Even if it is a penny you found – celebrate. Little wins are still wins!
  14. Celebrate with your friends.  If you have a friend who has good success come to them, don’t be jealous.  Don’t discount what they did to make it happen. 
  15. Take a mini-break to do something no one else expects you to do.  Plan, create, envision. It can be 15 minutes, a few hours or a project that takes a year.  Recognize that this feeds your soul.  

September 2016 Maui Market Trends

September 2016

The usual fall market shows slowing down in condo sales. However, residential Upcountry and Central Maui market is going strong.  Everywhere else is pretty flat except for some decrease in West Maui residential (both sales and prices).

 

 

It is fair to say that September was a pretty steady month. Inventories have been fairly stable throughout 2016.

Questions or comments? Need help with Buying or Selling or just understanding the market?
I am offering FREE real estate reviews. You don’t need to be thinking of buying or selling now to benefit. Often your home is a primary asset, so meet with a real estate professional to find out what your property is worth and what your options and strategies may be! Please ask below or call or text Kathy at 808-344-0469.

View the Detailed Maui Real Estate Market Reports

Click on the report and it will be brought up in a new window.

Maui Full Trends Report. 12-page PDF report showing trends for each Area of Maui.

 

 

Maui Market Snapshot. 1-page PDF report showing trends for each Area of Maui.
Maui Market Snapshot. 1-page PDF report showing trends for each Area of Maui.

 

June 2016 Maui Market Trends – Brexit Impact on Maui

June 2016 – Brexit Impact on Maui?

Aloha!  June has brought tumultuous global news with Brexit – the British voting to leaving the European Union. Most global predictions for the economic future are not very positive.  Certainly we are affected by almost anything that impacts the U.S. economy. With elections coming up, news of interest rates going lower we may see many Americans cautious about investing. A reasonable part of our market is our Canadian friends who have slowed buying due to low CAD / U.S. Dollar  ratios (0.77 at this time).  Predictions show that many think Brexit will keep that from changing for a long time.   We’ve been predicting an influx of Asian buyers, but we have not seen that in large numbers.

I must admit that I haven’t come to clear conclusion on how Brexit will impact Maui real estate.  But as in most tumultuous economic news, people want to put their money where it will be safe –  and real estate appears to be a good long-term option.  World populations are growing faster than supply.  The world’s wealthy seem to keep getting wealthier.  Interest rates will be low for some time.  And Hawaii is still a beautiful place to live or visit.

Here are some of the better articles I found on the topic:

This offers a mix of predictions and surprisingly none mention Maui or even Hawaii.  I see opportunity!

The Maui Market Trends – June 2016

Once again we see that June was a pretty steady month.  There were increases in sales of both homes and condos. We had an increase in prices of homes and 3 month trend of decreasing prices for condos. That is pretty typical adjustment at this time of the year; if our market were big enough to show “seasonal adjustments”, I suspect it would be considered normal.  Inventories have been fairly stable throughout 2016.

Questions or comments? Need help with Buying or Selling or just understanding the market?
I am offering FREE real estate reviews. You don’t need to be thinking of buying or selling now to benefit. Often your home is a primary asset, so meet with a real estate professional to find out what your property is worth and what your options and strategies may be! Please ask below or call or text Kathy at 808-344-0469.

View the Detailed Maui Real Estate Market Reports

Click on the report and it will be brought up in a new window.

Maui Full Trends Report. 12-page PDF report showing trends for each Area of Maui.

 

 

2016_06MauiForeclosureTrends

Maui Market Snapshot. 1-page PDF report showing trends for each Area of Maui.
Maui Market Snapshot. 1-page PDF report showing trends for each Area of Maui.

 

June 2016 Maui Market Trends – Brexit Impact on Maui

June 2016 – Brexit Impact on Maui?

Aloha!  June has brought tumultuous global news with Brexit – the British voting to leaving the European Union. Most global predictions for the economic future are not very positive.  Certainly we are affected by almost anything that impacts the U.S. economy. With elections coming up, news of interest rates going lower we may see many Americans cautious about investing. A reasonable part of our market is our Canadian friends who have slowed buying due to low CAD / U.S. Dollar ratios (0.77 at this time). Predictions show that many think Brexit will keep that from changing for a long time. We’ve been predicting an influx of Asian buyers, but we have not seen that in large numbers.

I must admit that I haven’t come to clear conclusion on how Brexit will impact Maui real estate. But as in most tumultuous economic news, people want to put their money where it will be safe – and real estate appears to be a good long-term option. World populations are growing faster than supply. The world’s wealthy seem to keep getting wealthier. Interest rates will be low for some time. And Hawaii is still a beautiful place to live or visit.

Here are some of the better articles I found on the topic:

This offers a mix of predictions and surprisingly none mention Maui or even Hawaii.  I see opportunity!

The Maui Market Trends – June 2016

Once again we see that June was a pretty steady month. There were increases in sales of both homes and condos. We had an increase in prices of homes and 3 month trend of decreasing prices for condos. That is pretty typical adjustment at this time of the year; if our market were big enough to show “seasonal adjustments”, I suspect it would be considered normal. Inventories have been fairly stable throughout 2016.

Questions or comments? Need help with Buying or Selling or just understanding the market?
I am offering FREE real estate reviews. You don’t need to be thinking of buying or selling now to benefit. Often your home is a primary asset, so meet with a real estate professional to find out what your property is worth and what your options and strategies may be! Please ask below or call or text Kathy at 808-344-0469.

View the Detailed Maui Real Estate Market Reports

Click on the report and it will be brought up in a new window.

Maui Full Trends Report. 12-page PDF report showing trends for each Area of Maui.

 

 

2016_06MauiForeclosureTrends

Maui Market Snapshot. 1-page PDF report showing trends for each Area of Maui.
Maui Market Snapshot. 1-page PDF report showing trends for each Area of Maui.

 

Fire, Accidents and the Maui Pali

Fire and the Pali

Pali in Hawaiian means “cliff”.  Maui’s Pali is the road to Lahaina where you leave Ma’alaea and creep around reinforced cliffs and through the tunnel. Any visitor to West Maui knows the Maui Pali. Beautiful and breathtaking in good conditions, it can be very hazardous.

My Recent Experience

On July 2, 2016, I’d jus spent 2 hours doing volunteer outreach at the Maui Ocean Center.  On the way over, I noticed that the winds were super strong and our windmills on the hills were all creating lots of energy! My shift ended shortly after 1:00pm and we secured our outreach material in the usual place. I was planning on meeting a friend and her son to enjoy an afternoon looking at fish.  When I texted her, she said they were stuck in traffic due to a fire.  I decided to grab something to eat at the Cafe and commented to the young woman working that the winds were horrible today. She said “What is horrible is that smoke coming right at us”.  I turned to see and immediately started coughing.  I quickly ate my lunch as my friend said they’d arrived.  We decided to delay the tour to another day and get out of danger.

I went outside and took this video on the way back to my car. I was nearly taken off my feet by the wind and the noise was haunting. While I was curious, the survival instinct kicks in and said “Get out of there!”

Click here to view the embedded video.

The traffic was still flowing toward Lahaina and I was surprised they hadn’t close the highway.  The flames in some places were very close to the highway.  Just out of Ma’alaea, you hit the Pali where the road winds around the barren cliffs and the wind flashes down the gulches. There was little control of the situation because the winds were 25-50 mph!  Fire moving fast. As, I drove home, traffic was stopped near North Kihei Rd.  I snapped this photo; it appeared that the fire started near the intersection of North Kihei Rd but up the hill a little.  I thought, that is the area where Spencer Homes just said they won’t build affordable housing and listed 258 acres for sale for $9,975,000.  In our little town, that made front page news. I kept driving with flow of traffic until I got on North Kihei Road and could safely pull over.

And another video — This time I narrated. I was in awe and fear.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Monitoring The Status

I spent much of the rest of the day tracking MauiWatch to see updates.  We were lucky to have power and not lose internet access like much of the West Side and parts of North Kihei did.  They did close the road to Lahaina and later stopped all traffic on North Kihei Rd.  The evacuated the Ma’alaea Harbor Shops and homes. They finally reopened the road at 7:40 only to close it again at 8:20 p.m. They had to close the backside road too because there was too much traffic.

On social media I saw desperate tourists trying to get to the airport or not knowing what to do because they could not get to their hotels or even call them. They were mad and angry. It was further complicated that the fire took out internet, phone and power to many areas. Deserted tourists asked how can a place like Maui not have alternate roads; I don’t think they have a clue how remote and treacherous the West Maui Mountains are.  Only a few people have successfully hiked across them.  People who have lived here for awhile, generally take it in stride. Building a highway? That is not the Maui way. While this was one of the worst, fires in that region happen almost every year, closing the Pali for hours.  And if it is not a fire, it is a fatality or a bad accident.  Essentially the only route to the West Side of Maui becomes impassable. Locals that drive the Pali often know to keep water, snacks and sunscreen in their car. My estimate is that 4+ hours of shutdown happens 2-3 times per year.

Closing Thoughts

If you prefer the West Side of Maui or the resorts of Lahaina, Ka’anapali, Napili and Kapalui, recognize that there may be times when access is limited due to the closure of the Pali. Practice Aloha or choose Kihei, Wailea or other areas of Maui.  The same message applies for Hana. Don’t complain; we are remote and that is part of what makes Maui No Ka Oi.

 

May 2016 Maui Market Trends – Predictions Up or Down?

May 2016 Maui Market Trends

This month, we’re talking predictions. Many agents across the country are saying they are seeing their markets softening. This often happens before a presidential election due to uncertainty. Economists have shared some concern about the economy. While sales are strong across most of Maui, our prices have shown some declines, especially in vacation home markets.

The U.S. Market – June 2016

I turn to NAR – The National Association of Realtors and Keeping Current Matters for national data and their projections.

Recently, Freddie Mac analysts said, “We expect housing to be an engine of growth. Construction activity will pick up as we enter the spring and summer month, and rising home values will bolster consumers and help support renewed confidence in the remaining months of this year.” And Warren Buffet said, “I don’t see a nationwide bubble in real estate right now at all.”

Source: Gallup poll 2016 via Keeping Current Matters.

Recent Gallup polls explored confidence in real estate investments by gender and age and it seems most Americans think real estate is the best investment.

Vacation home sales in 2015 were down from 2014 but are still the second highest since 2006. It is no surprise that 40% of vacation homes are in beach areas.

 

Mortgage and Financing Trends

Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 4.43.12 PM
Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 4.43.52 PM

Mortgage rates continue to be at very low rates and again analysts predict that will change in the next few years. They’ve predicted that for 3 years now but it is bound to happen soon! There is money to lend and lenders are still conservative. But many people are surprised by what they can qualify for. If you are considering upgrading, now is a very good time!

The Maui Market Trends – June 2016

I’m not seeing any significant changes in looking at major areas. This does not mean that there isn’t a change in a specific market. For example, I have a client with a lovely oceanview, 2 bedroom, 2 bath vacation-rentable condo in South Kihei. By all Maui standards it is a spacious 1214 sq. ft. So I looked at South Kihei vacation rental condos over 1000 square feet and found that average and median prices have declined 20% in the last year. That is pretty significant. So markets can be very local.

That said, I think overall the Maui market is going to gradually grow. The vacation rental areas popular with Canadians will be slow until their dollar comes up a little. We still have a huge shortage of affordable housing in Maui. They are calling an investor/landlord summit to try to address this shortage before they lose HUD funding. Yes, we have a lot of new developments, many with an affordable component but these are not HUD homes or HUD rentals.

If you are interested in finding out more about the new developments or you’d like to participate in the investor/landlord summit, contact me at 808-344-0469.

Questions or comments? Need help with Buying or Selling or just understanding the market?
I am offering FREE real estate reviews. You don’t need to be thinking of buying or selling now to benefit. Often your home is a primary asset, so meet with a real estate professional to find out what your property is worth and what your options and strategies may be! Please ask below or call or text Kathy at 808-344-0469.

View the Detailed Maui Real Estate Market Reports

Click on the report and it will be brought up in a new window.

Maui Full Trends Report. 12-page PDF report showing trends for each Area of Maui.

 

Maui Market Snapshot. 1-page PDF report showing trends for each Area of Maui.
Maui Market Snapshot. 1-page PDF report showing trends for each Area of Maui.

Take 45 Seconds to Enjoy a Beautiful Maui Sunset

The sound of the waves, sand on your toes, and the beautiful Maui sunset.

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “When I admire the wonders of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in the worship of the creator.” I couldn’t agree more. Just by simply watching this beautiful Maui sunset instantly lifts my spirit and makes me appreciate nature. It’s very easy to be too wrapped up in our daily lives that we often forget there’s a whole world out there we have yet to explore, even for just short amounts of time. So here goes a short but nice video of the waves and random people having fun all while the sun sets. Enjoy!

 Video taken from my iPhone 6+ at Charley Young Beach, Kihei on the beautiful island of Maui.

Kihei Beaches – The Real Scoop about Water Quality

Beautiful Kihei BeachesAs an agent, I often hear other agents advise their clients —  “South Kihei beaches are much cleaner” or “You don’t want to enter the water in North Kihei” and “That’s why North Kihei values are lower than in South Kihei”.  As a volunteer knowledgeable in water quality, there is some truth and mostly not truth in these statements. I’m far from a scientific expert though I have talked to some of the best scientists looking at the issues. Kihei has some of the nicest beaches in Maui – about 6 miles worth! There is something for everyone.

North Kihei Beaches have Poop?

A recent article about Kihei water quality in Maui Time was titled “Poop“.  The title is totally sensationalized however it does cite some good resources. They are comparing apples and oranges. The article claims that the Kihei beaches are far worse than the Lahaina waters where the EPA is suing Maui County to clean up it’s act.  With what I know, I absolutely don’t believe that and am happy that the EPA took action in Lahaina. While I am concerned about water quality in Kihei and would love to see improvements to the system, I’m more concerned in other areas of Maui.

The problem source is the Kihei Water Reclamation facility that is located mauka of the Pi’ilani Highway near the new Police Station. Most of Maui water is treated using injection wells. At various treatment plants around the island, they treat sewage and put the treated water into injection wells.  The plants pumps water to depth but the treated water does eventually migrate to the ocean. This is happening at a much faster than they believed when systems were designed (2 years vs. 8). Lahaina Wastewater is treated at lower level than in Kihei which is the major problem in Lahaina. Lahaina water has been shown to have contaminants that contribute to MRSA outbreaks.  The water the Kihei facility puts into injection wells looks clear enough to drink.  It is distributed and used as recycled water at golf courses and school campuses.  Here is a article that describes details of Kihei’s water reclamation facility.   The article doesn’t tell us what the impact on our oceans is. The treated water does have more nutrients that create an great environment for seaweed to grow. While seaweed is normal on all our reefs, it grows much faster and covers much more reef in impacted areas.  Some Kihei beaches are filled with dead seaweed many times of the year; if it sits on the beach for awhile it stinks and gathers flies. My experience is that the worst area is just north of Kalama Park where there is a pumping station near the Kihei Fire Station. The ocean currents along the Kihei coast, flow North so there tends to be more nutrient rich material along North Kihei beaches. That said, by the time you reach Sugar Beach, lots of seaweed is a rare occurrence.  Having personally tested and observed water from many points, there is no “poop” in the water.  In my experience, when people say they saw poop floating, it is usually right after a coral spawn and what they see is the dying coral spawn glopped together.  Others will say it is turtle poop, but I personally haven’t observed or tested that! The water I’ve tested is just as clean if not better than points in Wailea and South Maui.
2-aerial

In my opinion (and I do live in North Kihei just up from Menehune Shores), the bigger issue that impacts the property values in North Kihei are the afternoon winds which are much stronger than further south.  Just today while previewing North Kihei condos, I had by dress blow up over my head; luckily few were around to see.  It can be fun to watch the afternoon kite-surfers and colorful kites but you’ll get sand blasted if you try to lay out on the beach!  The second  reason is that North Kihei has Sugar Beach which is the longest stretch of white sand beach on Maui.  While people do like sand beaches, long beach stretches do not lend themselves to having the coral reefs and colorful fish that many visitors love to see.

If you love big ocean views and long walks on the beach, North Kihei may be perfect for you.  North Kihei has many more oceanfront condos than South Kihei.  Most South Kihei condos are across the street from public beach parks and the few on the oceanside are very expensive.

Looking at sales in the last year (May 2015-2016) and selecting fee simple, vacation rental condos with an ocean view, here is a quick price comparison:

Property Location (# Sales) Low  Median High
North Kihei Oceanfront (41 units) $257,000 $444,000 $850,000
South Kihei Oceanfront (10 units) $675,000 $1,435,000 $1,830,000
North Kihei Oceanview (8 units) $210,000 $263,500 $399,000
South Kihei Oceanview (50 units) $263,000 $418,000 $840,000

I do have a favorite North Kihei Best Buy that is the one of the most expensive listings in North Kihei at $995,000.  Usually when a unit is listed as ocean or beachfront, that means the complex is oceanfront.   This unit is front and center on Sugar Beach just 10 steps to hours of peaceful beach walks.  The first floor Nani Kai Hale unit has been elegantly remodeled and has a huge private lanai for amazing beach parties.  Check this beautiful unit out here.  Call me at 808-344-0469 if you are interested in this property or comparing any Kihei properties.   Kihei offers a perfect mix of options for every buyer!