Annual Power Index: West Maui Neighborhoods Ranked

The Power Index? While you’d usually find most power indexes on sports websites and programming such as ESPN or FOX Sports, this article will make an attempt at offering a very similar type of critical and subjective, poking and prodding, in-depth analysis.

However, instead of ranking by positions, coaching, matchups, strength of schedule, or the injury report, we’ll take a crack at ranking real estate, particularly West Maui’s residential sector. And while this is not an NFL or NBA combine, we will take a page out of the scouting playbook and judge West Maui’s neighborhoods not by assessing essential core criteria such as location, weather and schools, but rather purely on the exterior stuff — speed and muscle… in other words, by taking an in-depth look at sale pricedays on market, and total sales volume as our absolute criteria.

Big numbers and fast movement — that’s what we like.

1. Launiupoko & Puunoa

Originally a rugged hillside filled with blue rock the size of buses, rock piles the height of small buildings and wind gusts that would borderline a tropical disturbance (mild exaggeration). Boy, has Launiupoko hit the scene… when you look up the hill, barren agricultural land has given way to landscaped swaying palm trees on mega 2-25 acre estate properties where you can build a multi-dwelling family compounds. After topping all West Maui $3M+ luxury sales in 2016, Launiupoko led all areas one again with 10 sales of $3M+ and had another 17 under $3M. The 31 total sales in Launiupoko comprised 19% of West Maui’s entire residential market. That’s right, a neighborhood… not a vast district or region made up 19% of our West Maui market and $77.5M in sales. Now, that’s strong. Average days on market: 200.

Outlook – Large agricultural lots and acreage with expansive land, big time views, and newly constructed ultra luxurious homes, cottages, and barns will continue to be in demand. Perfectly situated facing the west/north west. No other area in West Maui, or Maui for that matter, offers what Launiupoko does. 2016 rank – #1

2. Kaanapali Golf Estates

West Maui’s premier resort style neighborhood complete with homogenous conformity, immaculate grounds and for the sake of this article includes the gated neighborhoods within a gated neighborhood of the Pinnacle, Summit and Lanikeha. Arguably the best location and weather in West Maui situated just above the Kaanapali Resort — enjoy year round tropical, trade wind breezes, morning mist with warm sunshine. From a convenience standpoint, Kaanapali is “central” West Maui. From a neighborhood standpoint, homesites are mostly in the 10,500 sq ft range, which some have golf course frontage and nearly all to some degree take advantage of the views (the views!). With 3 sales over $3M in 2017 and $33M on 13 transactions, it was not too shabby of a year for Kaanapali Golf Estates. Average days on market: 284.

Outlook – While KGE’s Pinnacle, Summit, and Phase 1 areas will continue to be resales, the continued emergence and development of new construction in Lanikeha will continue to be the choice of new luxury $$$ that wants to be in a gated HOA neighborhood and in the Kaanapali Resort. 2016 rank – #3

3. Kahana Ridge

Could be Any Neighborhood, USA. You can tell right away that this was a planned development immediately as you come up the hill and see the first set of swaying palm trees in the common area road planter. You also take into account the relative conformity of the homes/lots — in their size, shape, style, height, landscaping. That is not to say this is a Model A, B, C type of place, it’s just that Kahana Ridge on the surface has all of the elements of your regular suburban neighborhood. There is a community park, the streets are managed and well lit, and common areas are beautifully landscaped and irrigated. Plus, you notice the clean and uncluttered appearance as there is no street parking or boats in driveways.

From the real estate sales perspective, Kahana Ridge has been dominating West Maui residential sales in the $1M price range for a while now. In 2017, Kahana Ridge’s 14 sales comprised 50% West Maui’s entire $850K-$1.25M market.

In the past 2 years, Kahana Ridge has had 24 of the 56 total transactions in this same price range. Kahana Ridge offers huge views, an upper west side climate and one very festive place to trick or treat. All in all, $16.5M total sales on 17 transactions in 2017. Average days on market: 171.

Outlook – Outside the luxury sector, the homes at Kahana Ridge are all modestly bigger by Maui standards mostly 1,800-3,000 sq ft. Where Kahana Ridge differs from Anywhere, USA, is the year-round 80 degree temperatures, and the vast, yet intimate ocean, island, and sunset views. For $1M, there is nothing quite like Kahana Ridge in all of West Maui. With roughly 355 homes, Kahana Ridge will continue to have available inventory as well as be a favorite choice for families looking for the “anywhere” appeal with a BANG. 2016 rank – #3

4. Lahaina Town

Lahaina Town probably has the most differentiation of inventory offered of any place mentioned on the list and probably the largest disparity between low and high home values as well (low isn’t that low and high is sky high). For instance, up Lahainaluna Road, or in the heart of town on the mountain side of Front Street, you have some older cane homes and cottages in need of refurbishing or full teardown in the $550K-$650K range. Conversely, on Front Street where the Pacific Ocean and sand meet the property’s edge, you could have a home on 1/3 acre where the dirt alone is worth $3M+.

And somewhere in between like in Wahikuli on the north side of town situated up on the hill, where for $900K-$1.1M you can find 1/4 acre lot, a main house, cottage, and a lower elevated, but very intimate ocean view (condition of home to be determined). The common theme among them all is you will not find HOAs or fees. From the sales perspective, Lahaina had the lowest average sales price in 2017 at $801K. However, it also had 31 home sales for $30M and had the lowest days on market with 155.

Outlook – Lahaina is for those that like “town” appeal, convenience, entertainment and the lifestyle that comes with living close to the action close and beach. It was once the Capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii. Remember not everyone goes to Kapalua or Kaanapali, but everyone, whether it be guest or local, comes to Lahaina Town. And by that alone, it deserves a little power recognition. Lahaina Town will always be in demand. 2016 rank – 5

5. Kaanapali Coffee Farms

While KCF had only 1 residential home sale in all of 2017, I included this agricultural residential subdivision in anticipation of what’s to come. Land is selling and heavy equipment is all over the scene at Kaanapali Coffee Farms. These 5-6 acre lots situated in a working coffee form environment and while only 1 acre of the land can be used for building…From a land perspective, Kaanapali Coffee Farms has seen an abundance of activity. Of the 19 West Maui land lots that sold for more than $750K, KCF sold 9 of them (ranging from $762K – $1.1M). I’d expect to see the hillside just north of the Kaanapali resort change quite a bit over the next few years. Average days on market: 171.

Outlook – Like Launiupoko, large agricultural lots and acreage with expansive land, big time views and newly constructed ultra luxurious homes, cottages & barns will continue to be in demand. Perfectly situated facing the west/north west. No other area in West Maui or Maui for that matter offers what Kaanapali Coffee Farms does. 2016 rank – N/A

If you are in the market for buying or selling West Maui real estate or have any questions about the area or the market in general, please feel free to contact me. I welcome the opportunity to give you information on my previous sales performance and marketing strategies. Or if you’re curious about what your property is worth in today’s market, it would be my pleasure to provide you with property information and a value assessment free of any sales pitch.

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