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Moving to Maui is an exciting prospect, but it also brings unique considerations compared to the average move. If you apply some forethought, you can remove most or all of the stress that comes with relocating to a new place, especially one like Maui.
The first thing you should do is plan out the move and find homes for sale on Maui that you are interested in. Document all of the key items that will go into it, such as flights, initial lodging once you arrive, locations for dining, shipping of household goods, and so forth. Having a central, organized source of planning information is key.
Perhaps the most important thing you’ll need to do that can dictate how content you are living in Maui is to choose the region thoughtfully and carefully. Different areas of the island have distinct characteristics and can create vastly different living experiences for you. The experiences you can have in Maui bring enough diversity to ensure there’s an area that fits your lifestyle. Make sure to do some research on this; the next section of this article should serve as a good start for you.
Also take a close look at the job market, unless you already have something lined up. The types of jobs and robustness of the market can vary widely depending on the region, so you’ll want to do your homework on that aspect.
If you have children, look closely at reviews on the various schools in the area. The experience your child has can be very different in relation to the school and its cultural philosophy. This alone can be a huge driver in where you end up living in Maui. Talk to your Realtor or leverage online resources for this.
Lastly, since you’re going to an island, look into the cost and logistics behind shipping your goods as well as your car. You may find that it’s easier to leave much of it behind rather than transport it and pay the associated expenses.
Maui Communities & Beaches
As mentioned, when trying to decide where to live on Maui it’s best to first sort by region, then drill down from there. Maui can be divided up into the following areas: East, West, North, South, Central and Upcountry. Below is a quick overview of what you can expect in each of those areas.
If you’re seeking the quintessential “Hawaii” experience, wish to be surrounded by nature, and enjoy a minimalist approach, then East Maui is for you. The problem is, it’s incredibly far from most anything else you may want to do, like shopping and dining.
On the plus side, you’ll get your fill of what’s essentially a rainforest, complete with freshwater pools, waterfalls, cliffs, and a range of colorful beaches. From an employment perspective, work trade opportunities are your best bet.
On the downside, the distance to non-outdoor activities is exacerbated by the lack of efficient road routes. Getting out of East Maui for an extended period of time will require some basic planning.
Some of the major cities or towns in East Maui include Keanae, Wailua, and Nahiku. The best beaches can be found at Wai’anapanapa State Park, Hamoa Beach, and Honomanu Bay.
In short, if you don’t mind tourists, then West Maui is for you. If not, strike it from your list of potential destinations.
West Maui is known for some of the best beaches on the island, as well as a host of dining and shopping options. With the tourist traffic, however, expect to pay top dollar at restaurants and other entertainment venues. The need for robust infrastructure to support the tourist population means there are plenty of efficient routes one can take advantage of to get around, but if you’re traveling out of this part of the island, you may find congestion to be a bit frustrating.
As for views and sheer beauty of the island, West Maui delivers. You’ll enjoy great views of the mountains, Lana’i island, and can even catch some whale watching. Outdoor activities like surfing and snorkeling are great in West Maui, as well.
The job market is centered on tourism, hospitality and services, as you’d expect in an area like this. If you work in West Maui, all the more reason to live there and be close to your job while enjoying the benefits at the same time.
Major cities/towns include Lahaina,Ka’anapali, and Honokawai, among others. For beaches, check out Ka’anapali Beach (arguably the best beach in Maui), Honolua Bay, Kapalua Bay, and Olowalu Beach.
If you’re active and into healthy living, then Northshore Maui is for you. Just don’t expect to have easy access to some of the necessities product- and service-wise – you’ll definitely need to hop in the car for those.
The vibe in Northshore Maui is relaxed, and the population is a younger demographic. Restaurants cater to the health food crowd, and you’ll have all types of “surfing” options close by, like body, wind, and kite surfing. Keep in mind, though, water activities are more geared towards the “sport” aspect versus “relaxed” aspect (check out the South Maui summary below). Tourists are scarce, so that’s a plus if you’re looking to avoid them.
Some of the major cities/towns in Northshore Maui are Paia, Kuau, Haiku, and Spreckelsville. Notable beaches include Baldwin Beach Park and Ho’okipa Beach Park. Keep in mind, you’ll get lots of rain in the North so that may dampen some of the outdoor activities in this area.
If you’re into relaxed water activities, like swimming, snorkeling or just lounging on the beach all day, and favor walking distance, then consider moving to South Maui. Keep in mind though, like West Maui, you’ll run into lots of tourists here.
The job situation in South Maui is probably one of the best on the island, and you’ll find opportunities in hospitality, real estate, and services. Compared to the West, dining options are bit more on the affordable side of things. There are also plenty of bars, movie theaters and shops in the South. You can even catch some whale watching here, too.
From a climate perspective, the South is the hottest part of Maui, and you’ll even notice ash at times form the burning of sugarcane.
Major cities and towns to check out in the South are Kihei, Wailea, Maui Meadows, and Maalaea. Beaches are aplenty, including Makena Beach State Park, Palauea (White Rock) Beach, Oneuli Beach, Kamaole Beaches, and Charley Young Beach.
Similar to North Maui, the Upcountry locale favors a more natural setting , versus the crowded beach scene. You’ll enjoy great views due to the higher elevation and experience less traffic in this area. You can also grow fruits and vegetables in this area fairly easily. Restaurants and shops are locally owned, and live music events are plentiful.
Climate-wise, the temperature averages on the cooler end compared to other areas on the island, with less rain than the North. If you’re looking for beach access, Upcountry is not the best place for it.
Major cities include Makawao, Pukalani, Olinda, and Kula; there are no notable beaches in this area.
Simply put, when you think of Maui and all the reasons you might want to live there, Central Maui does not fit the bill. It’s commercialized (airport is located here), and beaches and great views are either nonexistent or scarce. About the only upside to it is the fact that you’re around a lot of practical considerations, like banks, grocery stores, coffee shops, and shopping centers. Iao Valley does have some great hiking possibilities, as well.
Major towns include Kahului, Waikapu, Wailuku, and Waiehu; there are no notable beaches in the area.
MAUI MARKET TRENDS AND FORECAST
As one might expect, the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown has impacted the Maui real estate market, much like most of the country. In general, this will translate to a buyer’s market, especially when you factor in historically low interest rates (hovering around the low 3% range in many cases).
Looking at some recent statistics for Maui single-family home sales reveals the following fluctuations since 2019 (figures as of May 2020):
- Closed Sales are down a whopping 68.7%
- New Listings down 15.5%
- Pending Sales down 28.2%
- Days on the Market (DOM) up 13.3%
As for condo sales:
- Closed Sales down 62.8%
- New Listings down 18.8%
- Pending Sales down 52.7%
- DOM up 28.7%
The Closed Sales figures are staggering for both homes and condos, but a quick comparison to the April figures for New Listings and DOM shows an improving trend. This suggests that while buyers may have the edge right now, that could very well prove to be fleeting. It’s all the more reason for buyers to act quickly and be aggressive in their pursuit of new acquisitions.
Nonetheless, Maui remains an expensive real estate market. Depending on which area of the island you’re focused on, median home prices range between $700,000 and $800,000. Put simply, a median income level does not qualify for the median home price.
Overall, look for Maui real estate to bounce back over the coming months. As economic trends improve steadily, combined with the natural allure of Maui’s paradise-like setting, good deals could be more difficult to come by. Talk to your Realtor today!