Gary's Blog

Friday, July 18, 2014

How Blessed We Are to Live on Maui!

Maui Voted Best Place to Visit in U.S.

Maui was named the best place to visit in the U.S. and the fourth best place in the world for 2014-15, according to U.S. News and World Report rankings released a few weeks ago.  

"Maui is not nearly as large as the Big Island, nor is it as small as Lanai, as bustling as Oahu or as quiet as Kauai" the news release said.  "For many Hawaii vacationers, Maui is just right - offering a taste of just about everything the Aloha State has to offer, from impressive wildlife to intriguing history and culture.  While on a visit here, you can shimmy alongside professional hula dancers, golf along coastal fairways, snorkel alongside five different types of sea turtles or simply lounge along some of Hawaii's most notable beaches."

Visitor Numbers UP Again
Visitor expenditures in Maui County edged up 10.9% in May compared with the same month last year.  Maui island visitor arrivals were up 3%.

Investment Trust to Buy Wailea Marriott

A California-based lodging investment trust announced Thursday that it intends to acquire the 544-room Wailea Beach Marriott Resort and Spa.

Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. said it has entered into "a definitive agreement" to purchase the 22-acre resort property for $325.7 million.

Sunstone has already planned a renovation of the resort in 2015 and 2016.  

The transaction is expected to close this fall.

Maui Lu Under Contract

The 27-acre beachfront site is prepped for construction of 388 timeshare units, according to Real Estate Alert.  The property, listed for about $68 million, is under contract according to local sources.

The site, at 575 S. Kihei Road in North Kihei, now houses the 120-room Aston Maui Lu Hotel, which opened in 1959.  Although it generates cash flow, one investment plan could be to demolish the three-building hotel and construct time-share units, according to Real Estate Alert.

Permits are in place for the development of 388 two-bedroom units in 19 buildings of one to four stories, including a restaurant, swimming pools and clubhouses.

This transaction is also expected to close this fall.

Maui Unemployment Rate Drops Again

Maui County's unemployment rate of 4.7% is 0.2% below the same month last year.  Maui Island's rate is 4.6%; while Molokai has the state's highest unemployment rate of 8.6%.  Lanai has the lowest in the state - 3.4%.

Oahu Housing Prices Reach Record Levels

The median cost for a single-family home was $700,000 in June, eclipsing the June 2007 record of $685,000, according to statistics released last week by the Honolulu Board of Realtors.

Condominium prices also reached a new median high in June of $360,000, topping the previous record of $359,450 set in February.

For the first six months of the year, both median single-family house and condo sale prices gained 7%, to sit at $669,500 and $350,000 respectively.

Maui Prices also Up

The number of sales of homes and condominiums in Maui County decreased while median prices rose in the 2014 half-year totals compared to 2013, in what a Realtors Association of Maui official called "a normal market".

Terry Tolman, chief staff executive of the association, said that "prices are rising, sales numbers are lagging" but "this isn't a boom" like the last 2005-06 rising market.

The current trends in a market that is still on the rise signal "a lot safer market" he said.

Residential sales decreased 36 units or 7% to 454 homes sold from January to June, compared to last year.  Condo sales fell 17 units or 3% to 656 units sold in the same period.

Meanwhile, the home sale median price rose 7% to $575,000, and the condo median price was $422,750, up 13%.

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