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Real Estate Maui Hawaii Blog


Real Estate Maui Hawaii Blog
Mark and Lisa bring you the latest on the Hawaii real estate market, events, fundraising benefits, news, sports, new island developments, tips to help you buy or sell a home and more. Subscribe to receive updates on our weekly blog today!
Hawaii Foreclosures Down in July
July saw a 50% decrease in foreclosures.
August 22, 2014

Hawaii Foreclosures Down in July

Maui PropertyAccording to RealtyTrac, Hawaii foreclosures plunged by 50 percent in July, compared to the same month last year. Why such a dramatic change? Yes, the economy has been improving, but there are a few factors in particular that analysts credit. First, unemployment has fallen significantly since July of last year. Second, property values are rising fast. Third, there's a new Hawaii law that requires attorneys to check all documents required before filing foreclosure complaints in the courts, which is something you might have expected them to do in the first place, but evidently many did not.

Only 129 homes in Hawaii were in some stage of the foreclosure process this past July, which is only one home in every 4,030 housing units. That definitely puts foreclosures back in the rare category. Thanks to new federal regulations, homeowners have more options when facing a potential foreclosure situation, but falling unemployment is probably the best sign overall as to the health of the state, and the nation.

The rising property value trend is more crucial than you might first assume. Now, many home owners dealing with financial hardship can sell their properties at a profit rather than dropping into a short sale. Knowing that your Maui property value is high should be reassuring whether you have financial troubles or not.

The law requiring attorneys to check all documents before filing requires them to also file an "attorney affirmation" with their judicial foreclosure complaint. The affirmation simply states that all the information in the foreclosure complaint is accurate, meaning the attorney has to be certain that all the information is in order and correct before submitting the complaint.

As for the rest of the nation, foreclosures fell 16 percent in July, year-over-year. That's a big step for the rest of the country, but Hawaii real estate is clearly much more secure than the national average. It's great to watch as the future unfolds with change for the better. Mahalo for reading this week! - By Mark Harbison

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New South Maui Residential Development
Alexander & Baldwin's 600-unit housing project just got their final zoning approval.
August 15, 2014

New South Maui Residential Development

South Maui HomesKeeping an eye on South Maui real estate developments? Alexander & Baldwin Inc. recently won their final zoning approval for the 600-unit housing project they've been planning for 95 acres in the South Maui area. Low housing inventory and high demand are major driving forces behind this development, which will be situated mauka (toward the mountain side) of Piilani Highway between Kaiwahine Street and the end of Mokulele Highway.

The project will include affordable and market-priced homes, and there will be a mix of single-family and multi-family homes, along with some parks and open spaces. There will be 600 homes total, and those that will be affordably priced will be among the first to be completed, according to Christopher Benjamin, president and chief operating officer of A&B.

When will this project be complete and the homes on the market? A&B plans to begin closing sales in 2018, so it's still in the early phases of engineering, design work, and subdivision approval. The project comes with a $220 million price tag, and the homes will be sold between $300K and $600K. There will also be a 1.4-acre commercial center.

The Maui County Council recently approved the zoning ordinance for the project, and Mayor Alan Arakawa signed off on it as well. The permitting process for new developments in Maui County tends to be difficult, but when you live on an island where space is tangibly finite, it's easy to understand why extra care and deliberation is taken when deciding where to put new homes.

As far as the economy is concerned, the construction process for this project will provide a lot of jobs for Maui residents, and then there are the long-term jobs provided by businesses in the commercial center, among others. Located in the northern part of Kihei, future owners and residents will be a bit closer to the conveniences of Central Maui than the residents of Wailea, Makena and the southern Kihei area.

We hope this new development piques your interest in the forward progress of Maui's housing market. If you need assistance in that arena, you'll find our contact information at the bottom of the page. Mahalo! - By Mark Harbison

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Construction Trends and the Economy
How nationwide trends in construction tell us about the economy.
August 08, 2014

Construction Trends and the Economy

South Maui HomesIn a time of such economic transition, it can be hard to get a clear assessment of where we stand, not just on a state level, but on a national level as well. The construction market can tell us a whole lot about conditions in various industries, and there are some recent reports pointing to areas of growth and stagnancy on that score.

According to various home builders, construction companies and architects, nonresidential construction is beginning to pick up because businesses are gaining confidence and pushing toward growth. Home building is still a bit behind, presumably due to low wage growth. The nation has seen a healthy increase in employment, but pay rates are pretty flat. For that reason, first-time home buyers and young adults are less inclined to buy a home. Houses sold to first-time home buyers are down to 28 percent nationwide, compared to 40 percent, which analysts consider the normal rate.

Another factor that's challenging the economy is a lack of skilled workers, which is true of home builders. Labor shortages are an inhibiting issue in construction because many skilled workers have left for other kinds of work, and haven't been returning. That may be slowing new home construction, but at least we know that in Hawaii, low inventory is a major impetus for change in that regard.

Architecture is picking up, most likely due to the nonresidential construction growth that comes with businesses being confident enough to grow. That means the construction of new facilities. Commercial construction is expected to grow by about 10 percent this year.

Lastly, institutional construction for projects like health care and education facilities are lagging, which is simply attributed to state and local governments getting their finances stabilized in the wake of the recession.

In summary, there are still some industries that need improvement, but on the whole, things are picking up. Hopefully we'll see the wage growth that the country needs in order to get those first-time home buyers into the market. We hope you've found this blog informative! Mahalo for reading this week! - By Mark Harbison

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Blogs for August 01, 2014

Coldwell Banker Island Properties,
Shops at Wailea, Suite B-35
3750 Wailea Alanui * Kihei, HI 96753
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