Third of Maui County homes are bought by nonresidents

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From the Maui News

Sales down in 2019 as prices up 3 to 4%

Local News

Jan 17, 2020


Staff Writer


This four-bedroom oceanfront home at 399 Front St. in Lahaina is listed for sale at $4.6 million. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photos

Out-of-state residents bought about a third of homes on Maui in the first three quarters of last year, with the trend expected to continue, the state’s chief economist said.

Mainland buyers represented 30.4 percent and foreigners 2.2 percent of Maui purchases of homes for the first three quarters of 2019, state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism Chief Economist Eugene Tian told The Maui News this week.

Over the last decade, out-of-state residents made up nearly half of Maui homebuyers. Locals purchased 51.9 percent; Mainland residents, 42.4 percent; and foreigners, 5.7 percent from 2008 to 2019, he said, citing data from Title Guaranty of Hawaii, which uses the state Land Court for data.

Tian told The Associated Press he anticipates the trend of homebuyers from outside the state to continue. Buyers from outside the state have purchased 24 percent of Hawaii’s homes through the last decade, but numbers are higher for Neighbor Islands, Tian said.

News of a chunk of Maui’s homes purchased by people from outside of the state comes as the Realtors Association of Maui released its 2019 data last week.

This three-bedroom oceanfront home at 271 Front St. in Lahaina is listed for $3,465,000.

Sales of single-family homes and condos were both down in 2019, compared to 2018, the report showed. Single-family home sales dipped 1.9 percent to 1,117 units, and condos dropped 3.1 percent to 1,606.

Median prices rose in the 3 to 4 percent range for the year for homes and condos. The median price, the middle number in a series, for homes was $741,355, up 4.4 percent from 2018; for condos, the price was $515,500, up 3.1 percent

Some months in 2019 reported high median prices. In August, the price of a home reached $837,500 — a new record for the association’s statistics, which date back to 1993. It was a 19.6 percent increase compared to the same month in 2018.

The median price for condos was $522,000 in June — the highest mark in a decade.

The affordability index for homes fell 4.3 percentage points to 45 and 3.1 percentage points to 65 for condos. An index of 120, for example, means the median household income is 120 percent of what is necessary to qualify for the median-priced home under prevailing interest rates. A higher number means greater affordability.

David Belew, the association’s chief staff executive, pointed to lack of inventory as the reason behind increases.

“Prices are up slightly and inventory is down because we don’t have the inventory required in the market,” he said this week. “If we had more housing available, then the prices would stabilize based on the laws of supply and demand.”

Belew added that the association is collaborating with others to work to alleviate Maui’s housing shortage.

“We (RAM) are working with the county to find creative ways to increase the supply of homes, focusing on ways to create more affordable housing for Maui County residents,” he said.

The report did not have the 2019 inventory data but other factors indicated a shortage. For example, the number of days homes and condos were on the market in 2019 fell 8.3 and 11 percent, respectively.

By region, Upcountry areas of Makawao, Olinda and Haliimaile had a 30 percent increase in sales of homes to 82 compared with 2018.

While Wailuku and Kahului typically are hot spots for residential sales, both areas were down in 2019, with Wailuku dropping 6.4 percent to 248 units and Kahului falling 6.6 percent to 128 units.

Luxury locations in Wailea and Makena remained relatively the same year over year with 35 sales, while Kapalua saw a 137.5 percent increase to 19 units and Kaanapali a 30.6 percent decrease to 25 units.

Wailea-Makena’s median sales price for the year was $2.5 million, up 38.5 percent. For Wailuku, the median price was $675,000, up 2.3 percent, and $682,500, up 5.2 percent, for Makawao-Olinda-Haliimaile.

For condo sales, Wailuku (25.4 percent to 126), Kahului (8.3 percent to 33) and Maalaea (37 percent to 29) all dropped in 2019 year over year. Meanwhile, luxury spot Kapalua increased sales 35.6 percent to 61 while sales in Wailea/Makena fell 38.4 percent to 133.

Median prices for Maalaea were $463,000, up 8.3 percent; Wailuku, $415,000, down 5.4 percent; and Kapalua, $1.1 million, up 1.8 percent.

Statistics specific to December showed median prices increasing 4.6 percent to $740,000 for homes and 4.7 percent to $514,120 for condos compared with 2018.

Also, supply of inventory was down 18.6 percent for homes and 9.4 percent for condos for the month. Overall, sales dipped 2.6 percent to 229 for all properties.

Looking ahead, Belew said the association has a positive outlook on the local real estate market.

“Overall, we feel the market will be fairly stable in 2020,” he said. “There has been some softening in the past few months, but it hasn’t been drastic, and we don’t see any indicators that it will be markedly different in 2020.”

For the complete report, go to

Third of Maui County homes are bought by nonresidents