than just a real estate magazine for 16 years
all of Maui's Real Estate Community
What is the
status of the Maui real estate market? What is the price of a condo in
Kaanapali? What is the best deal on a beach front home, or upcountry
estate? What real estate office has the listings that are most appealing?
Or what is the distinction between Hawaii's leasehold and fee simple
years Maui residents and visitors alike have turned to Real Estate Maui
Style for answers to these
and similar questions .
magazine has been through shifts and changes, along with the economy and
real estate markets of Maui. There have been good times when the
publication swelled to 100 pages and bad times when it contracted to half
that size. But, throughout its history, Real
Estate Maui Style (REMS)
has been Maui's leading source for information about buying, owning and
living on Maui.
Number 1 of the magazine appeared on January 1, 1984. Originally planned
as a semi-monthly, it quickly became clear help would be needed. The
amount of time it took to put out a quality magazine, even on a monthly
basis, according to Foster Hull, who started it and served as its
"chief cook and bottle washer" was enormous.
real estate was just beginning its ascent to international resort status
when we began to publish," says Foster. "AMFAC's Kaanapali
project was complete and becoming very popular on the world travel scene
and it was clear that Maui was going to become a vacation and winter
seasonal home for people from the more frigid regions of the
mainland" he adds.
bust has been the norm in this paradise. Before the '70s Waikiki was the
dominate Hawaii vacation destination. But when AMFAC developed Kaanapali,
everything changed and Maui became a popular destination resort community.
In the late '70s and '80s much of the condo development on the island was
driven by Canadian buyers who, with a very favorable exchange rate, saw
Maui as the perfect respite from their harsh winters. Later the influx of
Japanese buyers, flush with trade dollars, discovered Maui and became the
driving force behind the boom of the late '80s and early '90s. Now
Californians and travelers from other mainland states, armed with cash
from the stock market, seem to be leading the way into a new boom era for
editorial content of early issues of Real
Estate Maui Style focused
on articles about real estate topics such as explaining fee simple
ownership vs leasehold properties; changes in State laws related to
property ownership; and many of the issues that the contemporary REMS covers today.
three months of doing the magazine largely on his own, it became clear to
Foster that he needed help. He needed an investor and Jim Gallagher, a
Chicagoan who spends winters in sunny Maui, joined the team and has been a
mainstay ever since. Wayne Gordon, Sales Manager also joined the team to
inspire and build the advertising base. Later, in the late-'80s, current
publisher and editor Leil Koch joined the ownership team. The influx
of new capital and leadership made it possible for the magazine to carve
out its niche with Maui residents and visiting readers who had an interest
in all aspects of real estate.
back at issues from the past fifteen years in five year increments reveals
an overview of developments and trends in Maui's real estate community.
A New Era on Maui
carried several predictions about Maui's growth and many have come true.
"Maui has been discovered," said the article. "We've
reached the point of no
return," it continued, predicting that the permanent population, then
at about 70,000, would reach 120,000 by 2000. The number now hovers around
the 115,000 mark in all of Maui county. In the decade of the '70s
condominiums were the rage both in West and South Maui. Kihei was just
beginning to move onto the scene with new condos and resorts. One bedroom
units at Kapalua's Bay Villas were listed at $197,500 (this issue has the
units listed in the $325,00 to $500,000 range). Similarly, top of the
tower units at The Whaler were pegged at $395,000 and today sell in the
$695,000 to $1 million bracket.
to another article chronicling the ups and downs of Maui real estate
between 1974 and '84, the last decade's booms and busts are nothing new.
It reports value increases in the 500% range in the first high demand era
between 1974 and '79 and nearly equal decreases in the high-interest-rate
era of the early '80s. Upcountry was just a farming region which was yet
to be discovered by new residents to our island paradise.
cartoons of Dirk Reith enlivened the pages with humor about the joys of
life on Maui compared to the Mainland. One final thing about this era:
there was an ad for The Polo Beach Club, then way out by itself at the
south end of Wailea, with the major selling point being "financing
below market interest rate at 12%."
The Japanese Era
By 1989 the
impact of Japanese buyers on Maui was obvious and REMS
was perfectly in step with the times. REMS
and many savvy Realtors' ads
used phrases in the language of the Japanese visitors who were finding
Maui's natural attributes and prices irresistible. While much of Maui's
real estate had been sold as leasehold property (condo or home structures
are owned, but the land on which they sit is owned by a developer,
corporattion or individual and leased for a specific number of years) new
laws started a trend toward fee simple ownership and was becoming more
prevalent. Prices were in a constant state of flux because of high demand
and relatively low availability to meet the public's desire to own their
piece of Paradise. Prices seemed to be changing monthly and moving mostly
upwards. It was a sellers market with multiple bids on the more desirable
Big Development Era
Japanese economy began to falter in the mid '90s Maui and all of Hawaii
entered a real estate bust period. Prices
tumbled and inventory of properties for sale began to accumulate. From the
early '90s two big new developments began to impact Maui's landscape and
real estate inventory.
South Maui, was in full bloom with its hotel row growing to include the
grand Grand Wailea Resort (originally the Hyatt), Four Seasons,
Renaissance (formerly Stouffer's) and Intercontinental (subsequently the
Aston and now the Outrigger). With it's many condo villas clustered in the
beautiful natural coastal setting and high-end homes lining the fairways
of its golf courses, Wailea was becoming a focal destination in its own
north end of West Maui, Kapalua was reaching it's maturity as a
contemporary planned community development providing exclusive villas,
homes and hotels such as the Ritz-Carlton and Kapalua Bay Hotel. In
between these two developments which serve as high-end bookends for the
island's leeward side development, Maui was experiencing a slow down,
caused in part by the mainland's struggling economy and Japan's severe
economic woes and a large inventory of unsold property. Prices were
stagnant at best and Maui had become a buyer's market.
REMS produced and began marketing Maui–A
Place in Paradise, a video tour
of Maui designed for visitors who need more information about the many
communities and distinct regions of the island. (See the business reply
card in this magazine for more details.)
Possible New Boom Beginning
Realtors are cheering 1998 as a banner year for real estate sales. Many
had record years in sales and are celebrating this as a major indicator of
the health and vitality of the real estate market. The Maui Board of
Realtors released aggregate figures showing double digit increases in unit
sales and dollar volume for single family homes and condominiums.
According to the Board, both single family homes and condominium unit
sales increased by 19%.
importance to the perceived health of the island's economy and real estate
market is the upward swing in average prices registered by both single
family homes and condominiums. Again the two were closely linked with
single family homes increasing 8% from $352,772 in 1997 to $379,780 last
year and condominiums going up 9% from $211,609 to $231,246.
numbers from the Maui Board of Realtors indicate a healthy inventory of
property for sale on the island. At the end of '98 there are 688 single
family homes and 1,283 condos (942 fee simple and 341 leasehold) listed
for sale in the Multiple Listing Service. Both of these numbers are down
significantly from this time last year, indicating a sizable reduction in
the number of housing units for sale on Maui, according to Terry Tolman,
executive officer of the Maui Board.
see this upward trend in sales and prices continuing and see the potential
for a new boom period for Maui real estate. The island's ultra-high end
properties (over $5 million) are moving extremely well; and many savvy
investors, recognizing that the Maui market has bottomed-out and is
turning upward, are buying multiple homes and condos.
What the future
holds for Maui real estate is not absolutely clear. One thing is certain
Estate Maui Style will be
here supporting all areas of the real estate-related industry with quality
advertising and editorially covering the range of issues affecting real
estate ownership and living on Maui. In it's fifteen years of serving this
diverse community it has truly become "more
than just a real estate magazine."