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Road To Recovery

Where does Maui’s housing market stand today?

August 4, 2011
Josh Jerman

Brewbaker is the founder of TZ Economics and the former chief economist for Bank of Hawai‘i. In a lively presentation entitled “Maui Housing: Double-Dip? Single-dip, and this is IT!,” Brewbaker imparted some sage advice and wisdom—along with his trademark humor.

So, was it good news or bad news? Fortunately, it wasn’t all bad. In light of recent reports suggesting there is a “double dip” or relapse in the housing market statewide, he assured that we shouldn’t let these “scary headlines” elevate our blood pressure, as he sees no double-dip recession on the horizon. In fact, he said now is the ideal time to invest in real estate—not shy away from it.

He did, however, address the issues of an “overhang of distressed properties, delinquencies with Mainland borrowers and lenders [and] a foreclosure logjam.” But there does seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel.

In a series of graphs and charts, he showed that the median sales prices of Maui’s existing single-family homes are “now smoothly converging to the low- to mid-$400,000s,” and existing properties on the market reflect lackluster absorption, not a “glut of supply.”

Even better, despite the recent surge, mortgage delinquencies are now subsiding as home prices begin to settle—another sign of recovery.

He also issued a reminder: “This is not the Mainland, so don’t act as if everything that happens there matters here.” While trends in other areas may suggest a downward (or, upward) spiral, it’s not a one-size-fits-all situation for Hawai‘i—or Maui. “Hawai‘i’s economic experience is dichotomous,” he explained. “O‘ahu and the Neighbor Islands have had different Great Recession outcomes.”

What’s the take-home here? Real estate on Maui is on the upswing, which is good news for anyone who is—quite literally—in the market.

A copy of Brewbaker’s presentation can be found on the RAM Website at



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