The State of the Maui Real Estate Market 2021

Maui Real Estate Market Report

Looking back on the Maui real estate market of 2021, we saw a year unlike any we have seen before in total sales, prices, and buyer enthusiasm. A variety of unique factors combined to fuel an unprecedented acceleration in property value at the national and local levels. The unique Maui market witnessed record after record being broken along with a surge in demand for investment properties. Over half of the properties sold in 2021 sold at or above listing price. 

Historically high demand for homes and condos on Maui driven in part by historically low-interest rates, coupled with seller reluctance and low inventory, created an extreme seller’s market where more than 5,500 transactions led to over 4.5 billion dollars in sales volume compared to 2019 where roughly 3,300 transactions led to 2.5 billion dollars in sales volume. Quite a leap considering 2019 had been a very strong year itself. At the Montage Residences in Kapalua alone, $136,092,887 was transacted in 2021. The COVID market of 2020 on Maui isn’t great for comparing, as stalled condo sales during lockdown created a statistical anomaly.

Maui Real Estate Market

Pent Up Demand

Po'olenalena Beach

‘Pent up demand’ was a very commonly used phrase among real estate professionals on Maui during 2020 and early 2021 and now we can look back and see that there was indeed as much, if not more, pent up demand than we had forecasted. What many did not forecast was that short-term investment condos would become an extremely popular anti-inflationary hedge for savvy investors.

Capitalizing on low fixed interest rates and income-generating properties with further horizons for appreciation, investors sought to offset the predicted 7% depreciation of the dollar of the next year by borrowing and securing their cash in the more stable real estate market. 


A Market With Nuances

As you probably already know, within Maui’s real estate market there are a few sub-markets. This is true in most resort areas, but it’s very pronounced on Maui. We have a market for full-time residents and locals, a market for second homeowners, and a market for investors primarily looking for short-term rentable condos, but also larger developments. 

Primary Residences and Locals

Locals continue to feel the challenges created by living and working in paradise with the affordability index decreasing 21% in 2021. The median sales price for a single-family home is up 26.6% year over year from 849,000 to 1,075,000 as of December 2021. With these types of median home prices, loan limits have increased to over $900,000 meaning mortgages typically exceed affordability. 

Homes in areas like Maui Lani, Kehalani, Pukalani, were in short supply in 2021. They go pending very quickly and usually require an escalation clause or an over-asking offer to get an accepted offer. The migration of remote workers looking to take up full-time residency in the Aloha State expanded significantly during the last two years as well, putting further pressure on the county to address affordable housing and to find a solution to the problem.

A few new affordable developments are slated to begin construction in Central Maui and on West Maui, but few would maintain that the county is doing enough to secure home affordability for locals

Second Homeowners and Investors

The second home and investment market became even more attractive to out-of-state buyers during 2021. So attractive that even tech giant and often the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, purchased a 78 million dollar beachfront compound/estate in Makena next to La Perouse Bay and is reported to have acquired another property in East Maui. Every well-positioned short-term rentable condo received multiple offers and typically one or more of those offers was cash.

Cash was king on Maui in 2021 with more than 30% of all sales closing in cash. Many who close all-cash eventually do what is known as a ‘recoup’ by refinancing out shortly after closing to take advantage of the interest rates. Many couples are purchasing properties ahead of their retirement and then transition here full time once retired.

What's the Verdict on Maui?

Makena Beaches Maui

So, looking back on 2021, it was certainly a great year for buyers and sellers alike, especially those who purchased in 2020 and early 2021. Some great clients and friends of mine purchased a 2bd at Kapalua Golf Villas in April for 950k and now if they were to go to market the unit would easily go in the 1.4M to 1.5M range. This level of appreciation is certainly expected to cool off in 2022. While I don’t expect a lowering of prices anytime soon, I do expect the rate of appreciation to begin to slow as interest rates slowly work themselves back up. 

2022 should be a continuation of very high demand though and a great year for both buyers and sellers on Maui in spite of the expected increases in interest rates. The pandemic has highlighted the universal desire to travel and our willingness to continue traveling even with the new protocols. I personally traveled more in 2021 than I ever have in a year. Maui will continue to attract visitors and new residents alike because Maui is more than a place, it's a lifestyle, and that's what we really love about the islands is the lifestyle. 

How Was My 2021? Thanks for Asking!

2021 was also a great year for my real estate practice personally. I was able to help over 17 families and individuals buy and sell a little over 16 million in property while putting another 15 million under contract scheduled to close this year and 2023.

My Sales

A couple of my highlights were 4358 W. Waiola Street in Wailea Golf Vistas that closed at 4.1M, 426 Wailau in Launiupoko under construction for 9.75M, a back row 2bd unit at Wailea Hills La’i Loa under contract for 2.195M, Mana Kai 203 for 1.78M, a home in Wailea Kai at 1.5M and many others that I’m proud to have been a part of.  I made a lot of great friends along the way, and on top of all of that, I also got engaged! Busy year!

Year in Review Evan Harlow Maui

Blessed Beyond Belief

To all of my clients, I am so extremely grateful and proud to have the opportunity to represent you and work for you. I sincerely appreciate the trust you place in me to get the job done. 

To those who are wanting to get into the market or sell their current home, I would be honored to represent you, its never too early to reach out and start the conversation. I’m excited about all of the great work we are going to do in 2022! Aloha and Mahalo!

Get In Touch!

Evan Harlow Maui

Evan Harlow is a Realtor on Maui who has the expertise, experience, and work ethic to help you achieve all of your real estate buying or selling goals. We promise exceptional service and support from the beginning of the process through closing and beyond.

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