Mahana Update
May 2017
Aloha Fellow Mahana Owners,

Thanks to Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman we all know the term "bucket list".  But now, according to a new survey from AARP, we top it!  Hawaii was chosen as the #1 domestic bucket list  destination for Baby Boomers.  Do you suppose it's because Hawaii was listed as one of the top 10 most fun  states in the country, according to WalletHub? Or maybe the fact that Kualoa Ranch was named among the top four trending U.S. attractions for spring 2017 by TripAdvisor. Kualoa ranked just behind The Grand Ole Opry, New York Tour and DC Trails.

You may remember the 36,000-acre Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar Co. plantation on Maui closed down last December.  Now Alexander & Baldwin has teamed  up with the Maui Cattle Company to use about 4,000 acres called Kulolio Ranch.  The ranch will raise grass-fed cattle. Currently they have 300 animals but hope to increase that to 900 by the end of this year, and 3,500 by 2021.

"Go For Broke", a movie that tells a mostly forgotten story of Japanese-American soldiers from Hawaii during World War II, is being filmed in the Islands. The story began with a small band of University of Hawaii undergraduates who volunteered to serve. They became a battalion of 1400 Japanese American who became the 100th Infantry Battalion.  In 1943 the War Department called for volunteers for an all-Nisei regiment, and they helped form the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.  Hawaiian filmmaker Stacey Hayashi worked for 16 years to get the movie about the most decorated unit of its size in U.S. military history, to the screen.
Nationally, home sales reached their highest pace in a decade in the first quarter of 2017 as property prices continue to escalate.  In fact the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) has upgraded its forecast for the year.  Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist is now predicting existing-home sales to rise by 3.5%, and home prices to increase 5% this year.  On the mainland, Escalation Clauses  in contracts are on the rise.  That's where a potential buyer bids on a home at one price but is willing to raise that figure if the seller receives any higher bid. More good news ... foreclosure filings are down 23% from a year ago and have hit their lowest level since November 2005.

The number of U.S. properties considered "equity rich" has increased by nearly 1.4 million units from a year ago.  But the really great news is that Hawaii had the highest share of equity-rich homes in the nation in the first quarter of this year!   And since I told you about the Kaanapali Golf Course Revitalization Project and the Makena Resort Development last month, things have changed.  Both projects have received public opposition, with the Maui Planning Commission being sued to invalidate their approval of the Makena development.

Single-family home median prices on Maui edged up to $671,000, a 0.9% increase from last year's $665,000.  That was based on 97 sales, three fewer than last April.  Condominium prices surged over 10% with the median price at $490,563 compared to $444,500 last year.  The number of condos sold decreased 7.9% to 116, from 126 last year.

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

Figures from Realtors Association of Maui
Hawaii's second largest tourism segment is the romance sector - behind the leisure market.   Hawaii weddings have always been popular but a new niche industry is thriving: E lopement Planning!  A lot of millennials are choosing to elope to Hawaii, spend less, travel in smaller groups, and keep it simple. Japanese couples represent 35% of our overall wedding market, but unfortunately there has been a decline in the number due to decreasing birth rates and couples choosing to delay marriage.   The Hawaiian Tourism Authority is targeting that segment with "wedding photo tours" appealing to Japanese brides-to-be with beach locales instead of the traditional church ceremony.

State economists have revised Hawaii's economic outlook upward, saying the economy is expected to grow by 1.9% this year due in large part to tourism growth.  Through the 1st quarter, visitor spending is ahead of last-year's pace by 10.4%.  As a result, $511.3 million has been generated in tax revenue for the State of Hawaii.  The Mainland U.S. continues to be our strongest market, and Canada has rebounded nicely, but the resurgence of Japan is the highlight of the 1st quarter.  Japanese visitor spending is up by 19.1% and arrivals are up by 7.3%.  All of this results in Hawaii hotel room revenue hitting $1.07 billion during the 1st quarter, that's a 6.7% jump to an average of $272.72 a night.  Maui had the highest average daily rate reaching $375.99 a night.

Arrivals by air increased 1.7% in March, while arrivals by cruise ships jumped 47.4%.  There was also an 11.6% increase in visitors that traveled to multiple islands compared to a year ago.
There's a LOT of Hawaiian Airlines news, and let's start with its national schedule.  Hawaiian is extending its nonstop summer flights between Los Angeles and Kauai to be offered year-round starting this Friday.  This weekend, the airline is also resuming seasonal service between Los Angeles and Kona on the Big Island.  Hawaiian will also resume daily flights between Oakland and Kauai this weekend through September 4th. If you live in California, there are special round-trip deals right now for flights from Sacramento, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, and Los Angeles to Hawaii details.  Internationally, Hawaiian is trying to capture a bigger share of the Chinese market.   Hawaiian is using Chinese social media and code-sharing agreement with Air China to boost it's 6 daily flights between Honolulu and Beijing.  If  you're thinking of going on that route here's a little tip: starting May 31st Hawaiian will begin offering fully reclining seats in their premium cabin.  In addition, China Eastern Airlines operates 5 direct flights per week linking Honolulu with Shanghai.  Another interline agreement has been struck between Hawaiian Airlines and South African Airways.  The partnership will connect South Africa with the Islands through a connecting flight in New York.

There's a new player who wants to jump on the Hawaii bandwagon. Singapore budget-airline Scoot is pending approval for planned service, with a stop in Osaka, Japan.  It could launch its service by the end of the year.  And lest we not forget South Korea's Jin Air.   They've signed a partnership with interisland based Island Air.  Starting next Monday Jin Air will operate 5 weekly flights between Honolulu and Seoul.  And starting immediately, there are 3 interline routes: Incheon-Honolulu-Kahului, Maui; Incheon-Honolulu-Kona, the Big Island; and Incheon-Honolulu-Lihue, Kauai.

And while its been rumored for awhile, Southwest Airlines has officially confirmed its intention to offer flight to Hawaii, with service launching in 2018.  CEO Gary Kelly said that while there's still a lot of work to do before it can offer flights to the Islands, the first batch of Hawaii flights would be from the West Coast.
Interest rates dodged another close call earlier this month, and Dean Rathbun  of  Avis Mortgage has all the details for you.  Dean says the Federal Reserve voted to leave its benchmark interest rate alone, citing signs of a slowing economy between the January-to-March quarter.  However, an improving economy and job market in the coming months will justify a higher rate later this year.  The next Fed meeting is mid-June.

Interesting fact: The median time homeowners lived in their homes rose to about 8.5 years.  That's the longest tenure since 2002.  Dean says one of the reasons, is that many homeowners refinanced their mortgages when rates were at historic lows - around 3.25%.  With higher rates, some of those folks are reluctant to move.  Still, many home buyers are returning to the mortgage market undeterred by rising rates.  New mortgage applications rose 4% last week and are nearly 5% higher than a year ago.  Conversely, the higher rates did cause homeowners to back off of refinancing.  Those applications were down 5% last week.
The Maui County Council unanimously passed a bill to ban the sale and use of  polystyrene foam containers - a staple of takeout food eateries. The ban, which will go into effect on Dec. 31, 2018, covers only polystyrene foam - the white containers used to package takeout food and to hold coffee.  There are exceptions from the ban ... like those little packing peanuts used as protective packaging during shipping that get all over the place. Those are still ok.

Pacific Biodiesel has begun preparations for its first sunflower harvest on Maui this month.  The seeds will be crushed for oil.  The field is expected to yield 100 gallons of oil per acre.  They are hoping to produce 32,775 gallons of biodiesel annually from Maui sunflowers.  The farm is currently the largest biofuel crop project in the state.  They're looking at future crops of safflower, canola and maybe even chickpeas, in addition to the sunflowers.

Solar powerMaui Electric Co. has been named one of the top utilities in the nation for connecting energy storage to the grid.  We ranked 7th in the United States with 17 watts of installed solar storage per customer.  This isn't the first time we've been given the nod ... it's the 8th!  And another 6 megawatts - enough for possibly 850 residential rooftop solar systems, will be coming available soon.  As for the State of Hawaii ... it ranks 5th in the country for shifting to renewable energy.  Hawaii ranked 1st in residential solar per capita with 1 in 7 homes having solar, and 4th in EV (electric vehicle) adoption.  Things will get even better with the newly passed building energy code.  It could save Hawaii $14B in energy costs over the next 20 years.
Memorial Day
05/24: Open Mic Stand Up Comedy   every Tuesday
05/26: Pint Night For The Birds  Maui Brewing Co.  details
05/29: Dedication of WWII Veterans Memorial  8:30am Makawao
06/03: Lahaina Shingon Mission Obon Festival  6:30pm
06/03: 11th Ann. Celebration of Fathers    War Memorial Special Events Field
6/3-4:  Maui Jim Ocean Shootout Kaanapali  details
6/3-4:  Maui Upcountry Fair
6/8-11: 36th Annual Kapalua Wine and Food Festival info 
6/10-12:  2-night Free cabin stay service trip in Haleakala Crater   opportunity
06/11: King Kamehameha Day  10-2 Queen Kaahumanu Center Kahului
06/16: Wailuku Jodo Mission Obon Festival  6:30pm
06/17: Wailuku Shingon Mission Obon Festival 6:30pm
06/17:  Book Signing B&N, Maryann Ridini Spencer "Lady In The Window"
06/17:  Na Kamehameha Commemorative Pau Parade & Ho'olaule'a   Lahaina
6/21-25: Maui Film Festival  schedule
06/23:  Aipono Wine Dinner - The Millhouse  (808) 270-0333
6/29-7/2: 62nd Annual Makawao Rodeo and Parade           

Maui OnStage    Iao Theater   tickets
7/14-8/6:  9  to  5  The Musical

Maui Theater   Monday, Tuesday, Thursday Friday tickets  
'Ulalena           Hawaiian Show 5pm
Burn'n Love    Relive Elvis in Hawaii Concert 7:30pm

Maui Arts & Cultural Center
5/25: Maria Muldaur & her Red Hot Bluesiana Band  concert
5/25: Trevor Noah (Daily Show)  8pm & 10pm
6/09: Pualani Kanahele,  In the Green Room
6/10:  Zenshin Daiko's 18th Annual Taiko Festival  concert
6/17:  MAMO Wearable Art Show
6/22:  James Van Praagh    Medium
6/25:  26th Annual Ki Ho'alua Guitar Festival   slack key

As you read in our Current Market Update section  there are fewer properties for sale, but they're getting higher sale prices.   You also read about the low inventory available and the rising interest rates.  If you're even considering selling your property, let us give you a no obligation, confidential evaluation of your property in today's market.  And if you're thinking of purchasing a property, lock in that interest rate now.  Either way we can help you.  With over 30 years experience in the Maui market, you can't put yourself in better hands.   Remember, we are the only Berkshire Hathaway Real Estate Brokerage on Maui with offices in Lahaina and Wailea-Makena.  We're available to you 7 days a week.  

John and Sid
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