Mahana Update
February 2017
Aloha Fellow Mahana Owners,

The Hawaii State Legislature is considering Online Gambling, including a lottery, online poker, and fantasy sports. It's estimated that tens of thousands of Hawaii residents participate in illegal online gambling ... which translates into tens of million of dollars in revenues escaping Hawaii taxation.   It may have seemed like a gamble when Larry Ellison, billionaire co-founder of Oracle, bought the Island of Lanai ... but now he's planning to up the ante on making it an adventure center.  Ellison is planning to build a Zipline, 50-acre tennis academy park with dormitories, and a heliport. These will add to the activities already there; croquet, golf & putting course, horseback riding, archery and shooting range, and Utility Terrain Vehicles.

The "Ice Bar" concept may be coming to Hawaii ... Ice Bar Igloo! Ice Bars are just what they sound like and they've been popping up all over the world. Everything inside is made of ice with new sculptures being constantly created.  From Ice to Milk.  Another Hawaii billionaire eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, has completed his 2 year Environmental Impact Statement of his Hawaii Dairy Farms ... and it looks like a go.  The 699 milking cows will produce roughly 1.5 million gallons of milk a year - enough to meet the needs of about 60,000 islanders.

Disney, Marvel Studios and IMAX are planning to develop a headquarters in Hawaii for Marvel's next major project - a feature film and ABC television series "Marvels The Inhumans".  Not only will this create hundreds of jobs, but it will pump between $80 million and $100 million annually into the state's economy, surpassing such Hawaii-filmed TV series such as ABC's "Lost," and CBS' current series "Hawaii Five-O."   The PBS television home improvement show "Ask This Old House" came to Hawaii for the first time and just filmed a segment.  Episode 1526 will premiere in May.
Chief economists at Fannie Mae released a "Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI), and it showed a 2% increase in January to 82.7, ending a five-month decline. Quoting chief economist Doug Duncan, "Three months after the presidential election, measures of consumer optimism regarding personal financial prospects and the economy are at or near the highest levels we've seen in the nearly seven-year history of the National Housing Survey."  So what could this mean nationally?  One in four U.S. adults say they are considering buying a home this year, which extrapolates to a whopping 59 million people.

So how has the state of Hawaii fared?  The equity picture is looking brighter for homeowners. Equity rich is when the loan on a property is 50% or less of the property's estimated market value.  In a national report by RealtyTrac comparing the states with the highest share of equity-rich properties at the end of 2016 - Hawaii was #1 with 37.8%.  On a metro-level (population of at least 500,000) Honolulu came in 3rd after San Jose and San Francisco, California.

Narrowing things down to Maui ... condominium prices jumped by 36% last month, with the median price at $537,000, compared to $395,000 in January 2016.  The total number of condo units sold increased 15.6% to 96, up from 83 sold during the same period last year.  Single-family home prices rose 4% to $655,000 compared to $630,000 last year.  And while the prices were up, the number of homes fell 10.9% to 65 homes sold, from 73 sold during January 2016. It's also interesting to note that over the past several months approximately 37% of all sales have been cash transactions.

Now l et's take a look at the Mahana:


Figures from Realtors Association of Maui
Hawaii tourism set new records in 2016, with total visitor arrivals rising 3% to nearly 9 million visitors, and spending increasing by 4.2% to a new high of $15.6 billion. That brought in an additional $1.82 billion in state tax revenue. Maui visitor arrivals increased 3.9% to 2.6 million, while spending surged 8.4% to $4.5 billion in 2016.  Visitors from the U.S. West (our largest tourism market) increased 4.3% to 3.7 million visitors. Visitors from the U.S. East increased 3.7% to 1.9 million visitors.  Japan arrivals were flat but the spending increased 4.6%.  Visitor arrivals and spending declined from Canada.  So now the Hawaii Tourism Authority plans to capitalize on that momentum for 2017 focusing on transportation, marketing more to the U.S. East and the LGBT markets, and use food of the Islands to appeal to millennial travelers.  The HTA talked with cruise lines to figure out why Hawaii is not as attractive for cruises.  Operators say scheduling is difficult and there isn't technology to help with planning and reserving harbor space.  The HTA is developing software now to make that market a lot stronger.

Hawaii room rates surged while occupancy decreased last week.  Statewide the average daily room rate increased 5.6% to $259.83 while the hotel occupancy rate decreased by 1.4% to 79.5%.  Room rates on Maui saw the largest increase in room rates, jumping 9.1% to $339.41 last week, with occupancy dropping 3.2% to 78.2%.

Many of you have an apartment that you place in a rental program when you're not using it. Why not ... It offsets the cost of owning.  Some of you opt to do it yourself - like I used to.  So I don't have to tell you about the hassles and headaches that come along with that option. That all turned around when I placed my vacation rentals with Maui Beachfront Rentals. They cover everything: at no additional cost to you they advertise your rental on sites like VRBO, HomeAway, Flip Key and more. And their concierge service can't be out done ... car rentals, airline reservations, island activities, even special in-room amenities.  Now I have other folks who aren't looking for a vacation rental program, but would rather place a long-term tenant in their unit.  Well, I can make that easy for you now too with  Maui Realtors Leasing .  The property managers take care of everything for you. They'll market your property correctly, pricing it right for our Maui market, and reduce your vacancy time - if any. All the maintenance is handled, and you'll get paid faster and more securely.  If long-term tenants are what you're looking for ... check them out. 
Island Air will be expanding its service to operate as many as 476 flights each week between Oahu and the Neighbor Islands by the beginning of May.  That's nearly twice the 266 flights it currently operates.  The flights will be serviced by the new fleet of Q400 turboprops. 

There's a lot of buzz going around that Southwest Airlines   may be coming to Hawaii.  In fact Hawaii, Alaska and South America are increasingly showing up as blips on the airline's radar screen of possible destination for future expansion.  In the meantime, Southwest is hoping to hang on to its Cuba routes.

And there's a new player in town.  The long-haul low-cost carrier AirAsia X will soon service flights between Malaysia and Honolulu through Osaka, Japan four times a week.  Flights will start on June 28th and have great introductory ticket prices starting at $99 from Honolulu to Osaka, and $149 from Honolulu to Kuala Lumpur via Osaka.  Rates are only for travel between June 28, 2017 and February 6, 2018.
Mortgage rates fell slightly for the second consecutive week, taking a path that many economists haven't expected.  This is where I do the hand-off to my go-to guy   Dean Rathbun  of  Avis Mortgage .  Dean says that for the last 46 years, the 30-year mortgage rate has been almost perfectly correlated with the yield on the 10-year Treasury, but not this year.  While he expects mortgage rates to fall into line with Treasury yields shortly, this just may be a year full of surprises.

Dean also wanted to bring up a subject not often mentioned.  Loans that have been modified since 2014 are redefaulting at faster rates than those that were modified in prior years.  In fact 75% of the loans that redefaulted did so within the first 2 years after receiving a loan modification. Why?  The more recent loans modified had lower average FICO scores and a higher number of prior modifications.  In 2009, the average FICO score was 655 and only 1% of loans had multiple modifications.  By 2015, the average FICO score was 592, and 34% had multiple modifications.
Let me start out by saying that I am not in any way affiliated with Nissan or the electric company, but I just have to tell you about a program that has landed here after great success on the mainland. Hawaiian Electric has teamed up with Nissan North America and are offering a $10,000 rebate on the price of a 2016 or 2017 Nissan Leaf S, SV or SL.  Why? They're trying to boost electric vehicle (EV) use in the State of Hawaii.  Combine that $10,000 rebate and add it to the $7,500 rebate in federal tax incentives ... and that saves you $17,500 on a 107-mile range car.  The offer's only good thru March 31 and you have to present your electric bill, and the flyer available by clicking here.  By the way ... a new Hawaii bill would mandate "places of public accommodation" including shopping malls, hotels, restaurants, movie theaters and health care facilities to have at least 1 EV parking space per 100 spaces by July 2018.  Adding punch to the bill is that each facility will need to have an EV charging station and there will be penalties for landowners who don't comply.

And talk about outside the box thinking ... Hawaii-based Cellana is partnering with Living Ink Technologies to develop sustainable algae inks.  Renewable algae biomass will replace traditional, petroleum-based and often toxic ink components in a win-win for the ink and algae biomass industries.
2/21: Mardi Gras Maui Aids Benefit  4 Seasons Wailea  tickets
2/23: Stand Up for the Whales  guided stand up paddle  details
2/24-27: Whales Tales  Ritz Carlton Kapalua  info
3/05: 6th Annual Maui 5k Race  details
3/25: Spring Fair 2017 8a-2p Makawao Church Baldwin Ave below Rainbow Park
Maui OnStage    Iao Theater   tickets
3/3-19: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
4/28-5/14: A Few Good Men
5/20-21:  West Side Story Concert  Maui Chamber Orchestra
7/14-8/6: 9 to 5 The Musical

Pioneer Inn Lahaina   show reservations (303) 507-0987 
"An Evening with Mark Twain"  2/26, 3/19, 4/09, 5/07
"An Evening with Albert Einstein" 3/05, 3/26, 4/23, 5/21
2 Shows on the Following Dates : 3/12, 4/02, 4/30, 4/28
"The Old Man and the Sea" 6:30pm & "The Journey of C.S. Lewis" 7:45pm

Maui Arts & Cultural Center
2/22: Scott McCreery (American Idol Winner)   country
2/23: Dobet Gnahore   African vocalist and dancer
2/24: Kris Kristofferson   in concert
2/25: Allen Stone & His Band   edgy soul-pop
2/26: Keauhou   Hawaiian music
2/28: Journey with special guest Willie K   concert
3/02: Sean Dorsey Dance  The Missing Generation
3/04: Observe & Play Family Day  art exhibit
3/04: Sing Out For Sight:  Jackson Browne, Joan Baez and more
3/05: Ebb & Flow Ensemble
3/07: School Band Concert Series:  Lahainaluna High
3/09: "They Rose at Dawn"
3/14: School Band Concert Series:  Baldwin High
3/16: Nogales; Storytellers in Cartel Country
3/18: Kuana Torres Kahele
3/18: Kip Moore  concert
3/19: Maui Pops Orchestra: Spring Pops with HAPA
3/24: Bonnie Raitt in concert
3/30: Compagnie Herve KOUBI  French-Algerian/West African dance troupe

So as you read above, single-family home and condominium sales prices are up, even the number of condominium sales is up.  So if you've been sitting on the side of the fence about selling, this is the time to do it while the winter snowbirds are here ... it's our season.  On the other hand, if you're looking to buy another property  ... interest rates are still low ... and we can help you find that great buy.  Sid and I have decades of real estate experience, and we are the only Berkshire Hathaway Real Estate Brokerage on Maui.  We've got you covered with two offices to serve you ... Lahaina and our Wailea-Makena offices.  We're available to you 7 days a week.  We enjoy hearing back from you about our monthly updates, and always aim to include topics of most interest to you.

John and Sid
If you are currently listed with another Broker, this is not intended to disturb that relationship
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