Maui Island Update
March 2021
Aloha Fellow Maui Lovers,

Hey, where are the swaying palm trees and crashing waves upon the shore that are usually at the top of my updates? I admit I've gone a little rogue, but it's because Hawaii pulled off something fairly impressive - besides our "paradise" environment. Meet GN-z11, that little red blob in the middle of all those stars. It is currently the oldest and most distant galaxy in the observable universe. And it was astronomers in Hawaii using the Keck Observatory and Subaru Telescope on Maunakea that discovered it. Pretty monumental feat for a State of little floating islands in the Pacific
Recognize the labels on those bottles? It's Hilo-based Shaka Tea. What makes it different is it's made with mamaki leaves which are only found one place in the world : Hawaii. If you're not lucky enough to be on-island, those Guava Gingerblossom, Pineapple Mint, Lemon Lokelani Rose, and Mango Hibiscus flavors will be hitting 7-Eleven stores on the mainland this month.

As the slogan goes "Can you hear me now?" You should be able to pretty soon. Permission has been granted for a 5G cell tower in a rural old quarry site to fill the 4G coverage gaps. * And there's a study underway for creating floating windfarms. They're used in Europe and are being considered in California. All part of Hawaii's plan for 100% sustainable energy.
Filmmakers are making their way back to the Islands. The Jack London book "The Wind & The Reckoning", a true Hawaiian story, finished filming and is now in post-production. * The second season of "Deadliest Catch: Bloodline" finished filming, but hasn't aired the season yet. * and 7 local filmmakers are having their films presented on the Criterion Channel, a national streaming service this month. You can get info about Criterion here. * And if you're looking for something on the small screen check out American Idol as Hawaii brother and sister, Ammon and Liahona compete against each other.
We are busy here! Can't believe how many people have returned to Hawaii. Over the spring break weekend, more than 26,000 vacationers hit our shores. The easing of restrictions on the mainland, pent up demand, Hawaii's successful safe travels program, and the increase in vaccinations have all contributed to the influx. * Real estate has sky rocketed. There are more people looking to buy property, than there is inventory to sell them. In fact, inventory fell to a new historic low last month.
Let me just give you an example of how low our inventory levels are. Last month we had 214 single family homes for sale. That's a 58.6% drop from the 517 that were available the year before. Price ... now that's a whole different story. Demand for Maui property along with the low inventory has sent the prices soaring. The median sales price for a single family home was $895,000 last month - a 19.8% spike year over year. January's single-family home median sales price hit an all-time record high at $980,000.

Condominiums on Maui were a little easier to find last month. Availability dropped 4% year over year. Median sales priced increase 0.6% year over year to $556,990. But look at these numbers ... Pending condominium sales (in escrow) jumped 76.3% year over year to 231, and closed sales increased 23.9% to 166.

Let's take a look at Maui real estate comparing February 2021 to February 2020:
Figures taken from Realtors Association of Maui
So I'm going to throw a couple of new phrases out to you. One you've probably heard of, as many of the airlines have been bandying it around: "Vaccine Passport". That's a concept that would allow travelers who can prove they've completed a Covid-19 vaccination regimen to skip travel requirements such as the state's Safe Travels program. Governor Ige says it's possible (and I stress "possible") that could happen in May. * The other new word that was just coined by Bloomberg is "Vaxication". I think that's what we're starting to see happening now on the Islands. Lots of folks are making inquiries and booking vacations a few weeks after they get their final vaccine. And not just for their immediate vacation plans. It's not uncommon to get up to four trip requests covering their next two years of travels!

If this is what it's like now, we should have a good swing by May and June. Even the economic forecast from the State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, has been revised up with economic projected growth for Hawaii this year at 2.7%.
So you're getting the picture now right? If being cooped up for the last year has given you the desire to pack your bags and get in a little vacation time in Hawaii, be smart with your dollar. You could book a hotel room and pay through the nose, or get a fully furnished condo or home through Maui Beachfront Rentals complete with kitchen, laundry, and free parking ... all things you either can't get - or pay big bucks for at hotels. And of course you'll enjoy all the amenities of a Resort! Due to demand, they are now taking reservations into 2022.

Maybe you already own property here on Maui and you'd like to make up for the money you didn't make during the travel ban. Then give MBR a call. Let them handle the bookings, and you just sit back and get the check.
There's such demand for travel, that the Airlines have really stepped up their schedules. Hawaiian Airlines (just honored for the 17th year, as the nation's top on-time performance airline) has gradually resumed nonstop service to 16 U.S. cities and restarted international flights between Honolulu and Japan and South Korea. Just this month, they've added daily nonstop flights between Long Beach, CA and Kahului, Maui, and 2 weekly nonstop flights between Honolulu and Ontario, CA. Next month they'll have weekly service between Honolulu and Austin, TX (April 21st).

The Island of Kauai is rejoining Hawaii's Safe Travels program on April 5th, so now all the major Islands will be consistent with their rules for incoming travelers. Which brings me to news of Alaska Airlines. They'll add 2 daily flights from Seattle to Kauai beginning April 5th. Additional flights to Hawaii from the Bay area will be coming soon from San Francisco and San Jose. However, they've announced they're pulling the plug on all their flights from Oakland, CA to Hawaii.

Southwest Airlines just started flights between Long Beach, CA and Honolulu. They already fly to Hawaii out of Oakland, San Jose, Sacramento, and San Diego.

And look for United Airlines to begin flights from Orange County, CA to Honolulu starting May 6th. Then on June 3rd United will add routes between Chicago and Kona, as well as New York/Newark to Maui.
The Federal Reserve Board just met and voted to keep rates near 0% at least through 2023. And this would be my cue to turn things over to Dean Rathbun of Avis Mortgage.  Over the last couple of weeks, he's seen mortgage rates rise above 3% for the first time since last July. Even with the recent upswing, rates remain low by historical standards. The rise in mortgage rates has not deterred would-be-buyers. If anything, this has only fueled the fire.

At a time when home prices have surged, buyers are having to either bring more to the closing table or borrow more. Dean says they're doing both. And it's not just higher prices in real estate, inventory is extremely low. Homeowners have been rushing to refinance their mortgages and lock in the low interest rates. So yes, this has encouraged a lot of people to stay put - thus making inventory for sale even tighter. Cash-out refinances are also on the upswing, to the likes of numbers that haven't been seen since the financial crisis. But economists are not concerned - at least not yet. Home prices are still rising, and during the financial crisis home prices were dropping. This is Dean's area of expertise. Reach out to him at Avis Mortgage .
As you can tell from my update, the real estate market here is hot, with no signs of cooling down anytime soon. If you already own property here, you might want to dip your toe in and see how much your value has increased. I'd be happy to give you a free, no obligation, confidential assessment.

Now if you're looking to buy, this is not the time to put on the breaks. We are talking about a substantial investment, and folks have recently jumped into the real estate business hoping to catch a lucky break on the trend. That's not what you need. As Owner/Operator of Berkshire Hathaway Maui Properties I have the experience and knowledge to guide you to the right property at the right price. I've put together some of the biggest sales in Hawaii.

Remember we are the only Berkshire Hathaway Real Estate Brokerages on Maui. Our offices are located in Lahaina-Kapalua and Wailea-Makena. I'm available to you 7 days a week. Email me at or give me a call anytime at (808) 280-7061. 

Condo-tel Lender over 20 yrs
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161 Wailea Ike Place #B109
Wailea, HI 96753| (808) 280-7061
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