Hawaii Housing Ranked Most Expensive in Country

Hawaii Housing Ranked Most Expensive in Country

Aloha!

If you love to visit Hawaii and hope to buy a home/condo here in the future, better make it soon.

Coldwell Banker http://www.coldwellbanker.com/ just released a report that puts Hawaii’s housing costs the highest in the nation. An average 4 bedroom/2 bath home is more expensive than any other state, with an average listing price of $742,000.

Kailua, on Oahu where Mike grew up (in a modest 3 bed/1bath home) and where President Obama and family plan to vacation this holiday season for the fifth straight year in a row, ranked 8th out ot the top 10 most expensive places to buy a home.

We are so glad we bought our house when we did (2002), even though we tore it down and built what we now have. Because building materials have just spiraled upward also.

Analysts say they expect prices to skyrocket even further in the future. I suppose the next thing they will rank is how Hawaii housing costs compare to the entire world.

If your dream is to live in Hawaii, better buy while you can. I wish you the best of luck.

 A hui hou! If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the Follow button on the Homepage. Mahalo for stopping by!

Aloha, Jamaica

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Where Does Oprah Live on Maui?

Where Does Oprah Live on Maui?

Aloha!

No matter what I post on any topic, it seems the thing people really most want to know is: where the heck does Oprah live on Maui? So, I will tell you.

I directed tourists on how to get there all the time when I worked as a concierge at the Maui Kaanapali Villas: (www.astonmauikaanapalivillas.com.) Hard to believe, but it’s a destination drive for tourists now. I wonder if someday they’ll stop there with the tourist buses like they do on the Beverly Hills “See the Stars’ Homes” tours.

Soooo (drumroll please…) Here is Oprah’s House, as seen on http://www.oprah.com:

And this is how we’ll get there: Let’s pretend you fly into Maui and board my Maui Magical Mystery Tours bus. We are now driving away from the airport, and the mountain range on your right is the West Maui mountains, and the mountain on your left is Haleakala. We’re going to go toward Haleakala. If you look at a map of Maui, and see Highway 37, we are going to follow that out toward Ulupalakua.

image

When we get to the main intersection in Kahului (Dairy Road and Hana Highway, just past K-Mart) we make a left onto Hana Hwy. and stay on it about one mile till we see a big green sign on our right that says “Haleakala Crater” “Kula” and “Pukalani”. We will make a right.

This is Hwy. 37. We will stay on this ALL the way until the turn-off for Oprah’s house. Since you’re not the one driving, you will get to enjoy the breathtaking scenery as we slowly climb the mountain. We will pass the turn-off for Makawao. While it’s a perfectly nice little cowboy town with a few art galleries thrown in, we won’t turn off. We will then pass the signs that say “Crater.” But we are on a mission, so we don’t turn off, as much as we might like to see Haleakala Crater.

We will eventually pass mile marker 12, then mile marker 13. We will pass Rice Park on our left. We will keep going until we see mile marker 16.5 and Keokea Park will be on our left.

Now, we SLOW DOWN. We will see a sign for “Thompson Ranch Road” because Oprah bought Thompson Ranch. Grandma’s Coffee House will be on our right, and we make the left onto Thompson Ranch Road, which immediately veers to the right. We are careful to make this right or we will be going uphill to Kula Hospital!

Thompson Ranch road is a bit like a small roller-coaster ride, up and down and all around. It’s pretty much one lane, so we are careful of all the people going in the other direction who have already been to view Miss Oprah’s house, and are now probably on their way for coffee at Grandma’s. (Oprah would probably make money if she put a coffee stand at the bottom of her driveway, there are so many people who go there now.)

We won’t know we are at Oprah’s house unless we are watching the hillside on the left. About a quarter mile down there it is, white and gleaming, perched on the hill. Lucky for us there happens to be a little turnaround were we can pull off on the right and view it. Would you like to get off the bus and stretch your legs? We’ve been on here for about 35 to 40 minutes now. Be sure to bring your camera…though you won’t get pictures anywhere is good as the one at the top. It’s uphill and the angle is not right for photos.

Okay now, everybody happy? That’ll be $19.95 for the bus tour. Oh wait, this is Maui. Make that $89.95.

Thank you for traveling today with Mauidailyescape.com. Remember, you read it here. Please tell your friends about this blog, and be sure to direct them to this post so they’ll know how to get to Miss Oprah’s house. Share it on Facebook…tweet it….then I can cover other interesting topics on this blog in the future. Thank you for riding along.

A hui hou! (till next time.) If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the Follow button on the Homepage. Mahalo for stopping by!

Aloha, Jamaica

With Gratitude at Thanksgiving

With Gratitude at Thanksgiving

Aloha!

For those of you who might be getting on the road to go see family for the Thanksgiving holiday, I wanted to say safe travels and thank you for reading. I have been touched by, and feel gratitude for, all of you who have written to say how much you enjoy this blog. It is my pleasure to bring you a little bit of Maui, no matter how far away you are.

I love Thanksgiving. It’s one of those holidays that everyone can join in enjoying, without trying to be politically correct, or the divisiveness of religion. You don’t have to worry about spilling the beans about Santa Claus or wonder what you’re going to buy someone for a gift. Thanksgiving just is. A day for feasting, reflection, merriment, family and relaxation (if you’re not the one basting Mr. Bird.)

I’m really hoping it’s going to cool down on Maui in time for Thanksgiving. A couple of years ago I put a turkey in the oven for a Christmas party we were having, and by the time we were ready to eat, the house was SO HOT that no one was hungry. We have a window air conditioner and when the day was over I discovered that it has been set on “fan” instead of “cool.” And here I thought it was all that body heat. You can bet I’ll never let that happen again!

At Thanksgiving time we pause to consider all we are grateful for, and my heart goes out to all those on the East Coast who are still struggling in the aftermath of Sandy.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and thank you for being a part of the ohana here at Maui Daily Escape.

A hui hou! Mahalo for stopping by.

Aloha, Jamaica

Baby Dolphin Birth (Video)

Baby Dolphin Birth (Video)

Aloha!

Dophin Quest on the Big Island http://www.dolphinquest.com/index.php/dgh-2012contest recorded the live birth of their newest baby dophin in a man-made lagoon at the Hilton Waikoloa Village resort, where visitors are encouraged to touch and swim with the dolphins. The female baby was born to Keo, a 12-year-old first-time mother. The video shows the tail emerging first and then the baby popping out. She goes to the surface for air before swimming with her mother. You can view it here on youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYcBJnbpqo8. Dolphin Quest officials said that in the wild the survival rate of babies born to first-time mothers is about 50 percent. The new baby appears to be thriving.

Dolphin Quest is holding a contest to name the little one, along with two others born recently, one to a 27-year- old named Pele and the other to a 28-year-old named Kona. Submissions for names should be Hawaiian words. The contest runs through Dec. 14th. Submissions can be made in person or online , and winners will get a swim for two with the dolphins and a photo CD.

Sounds like a good excuse for a trip to the Big Island!

Did you ever swim  with the dolphins? What was is it like?

A hui hou! If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the Follow button on the Homepage. Mahalo for stopping by!

Aloha, Jamaica

Oprah’s Organics?

Oprah’s Organics?

Aloha!

Would you buy organic produce from Oprah Winfrey if you got the chance? It might soon be a reality here in the Islands. It appears she is turning her 160 acre property in Hana, Maui into a new business. The US patent office late last month received seven trademark filings under “Oprah’s Organics,” “Oprah’s Farm,” and “Oprah’s Harvest.” Earlier this year, several websites quoted a National Enquirer story in which Winfrey joked that she might move to Maui to run an organic farm if her Oprah Winfrey Network cable television channel didn’t work out.

According to her rep, Oprah says she wants to use her Maui farm to grow and distribute produce throughout the state. But these filings also clear the way for all kinds of products from frozen foods to beauty supplies. According to an article in Pacific Business News,http://www.bizjournals.com/pacific/blog/2012/11/oprah-puts-her-famous-brand-on-organic.html the Oct. 29 application for Oprah’s Organics said “the trademark is for everything from soaps and shower gels, cleansers, lotions and moisturizers to shampoos, conditioners and sunscreens. The Oprah’s Harvest application filed on Sept. 7 just says it is for food, beverages, agricultural and catering services, but the New York Post’s Page Six reports that the applications also cover organic salad dressings, frozen vegetables, soups, beverages and snack dips. A Winfrey representative told the Post that the trademarks filed for Oprah’s farm were for produce to be grown and distributed on Maui and the rest of Hawaii.”

I feel it’s my civic duty here on Maui to report this to you, because “Where does Oprah live on Maui?” And “Oprah’s Farm” are two of the biggest search terms this blog receives. It would appear that even though Oprah has retired from network television, people still can’t get enough news of her.

It will certainly be interesting to see what this organic produce from Oprah will cost here on Maui. Gerry Ross and Janet  Simpson own Kupa’a Farms, an organic farm in Kula. http://kupaafarms.blogspot.com/. From their website it says that Kupa’a means firm or steadfast in Hawaiian and “describes the hard soil on our farm and our determination to amend and enrich it. The land was first cleared for corn and asparagus in 1979 and went organic in 2003.” I admire Gerry and Janet. Organic farming is not an easy life, unless you are someone who thinks that rising at 4 am is your idea of a good time.

But then if we really believe that Oprah will be gettin’ up at 4 am to pick her own vegetables, then we probably also believe that the Easter Bunny fills in for Santa when he’s sick.

A hui hou! If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the Follow button on the Homepage. Mahalo for stopping by!

Aloha, Jamaica

Maui Real Estate Stats

Maui Real Estate Stats

Aloha!
For those of you considering moving to Maui, (and I hear from a lot of you!) here are the latest stats on real estate in the Upcountry Makawao/Pukalani area.
There were 36 properties sold in Makawao from April 1 to October 17, 2012
The highest selling price was $1,780,000. The lowest selling price was $210,000. That was for a three bedroom/1 bath, 820 square-foot house on a lot size of 6595.
This makes the median price $380,000.

In Pukalani the highest selling price was $1,085,000. The lowest price was $220,000. That was for a three bedroom/1 bath 1486 square-foot house on a lot size of 11,221 feet.

Be aware that these sales figures say nothing about the condition of the houses. There are some real stinkers out there. A house in Maui is in a perpetual state of returning to the jungle (rotting) from the humidity, red dirt, wind and rain. It takes a lot of time, love, and money to keep a house in tiptop shape. I couldn’t figure out why so many people let their houses go to pot, in need of paint, weeding and repair, until I owned a house in Maui and saw the kind of time and money it takes to keep one up. It’s like a continual battle between you and the jungle. Paint alone is much more expensive here than on the mainland. Don’t forget, they have to ship it.

National Association of Realtors chief economist Lawrence Yun said 2012 is expected to be a year of recovery for housing. “First-quarter sales closings were the highest first-quarter sales in five years.”

A hui hou!
Aloha, Jamaica

3rd Shark Attack in 3 Weeks

Third Shark Attack in Three Weeks

Aloha!
We are three for three here on Maui. Three shark attacks in three weeks. It’s beginning to feel like we’re living in a small town on the eastern seaboard and Jaws is on the loose. There was also a fourth attack off Kauai.

For the first time in 12 years, I have asked Mike to stay out of the water. Usually I’m glad to see him go surfing. It’s kind of like sending him off to church; he comes back with a big smile and attitude adjustment. But this is worrisome, we’ve never seen this kind of shark activity, and Mike, who has lived here his whole life, says he’s never heard of this many shark attacks this close together. The news reports say it may have something to do with an increase in the turtle population, the shark’s favorite food.

30-year old Marc Riglos was participating in the 2012 Maui Roi Roundup, an invasive species spearfishing tournament. He said the shark took a bite of his ankle then tugged it from side to side. “I thought I was going to die out there. (It) was crazy,” he said. With the help of his dive partner he was able to get back into shore, but they were 300 yards out and it took 25 minutes.

Riglos says he hopes that doctors can save his foot. On KHON 2 news last night, they showed him in his hospital bed at Maui Memorial Medical Center. His right ankle is stitched the entire way around. Riglos said his foot was literally hanging by a tendon.

A marine biologist interviewed on KHON said that the best way to fight off a shark is to get your fingers into the shark’s eyesockets or gills and tug hard, and they’ll back off. Um, easier said than done while their jaws are wide open and headed straight for you. When Mike worked as a professional diver, he said that the divers would stay in a circle and if a shark approached they would take the respirators out of their mouths and scream at the shark, and that worked, too.

Seems to me you don’t need a degree from Harvard to figure out you should maybe just stay out of the water right now.

If you have ever seen the “Shermans Lagoon” comic strip, it is a microcosm of marine life and they all have human characteristics. The big, dumb shark Sherman, his wife and son, the crab and the turtle all talk and comment on what’s going on up top. They stake out Unsuspecting Vacationers floating on the surface and decide which ones will taste best for dinner. It sounds morbid, but it’s quite funny.

Given that, I began to wonder if the sharks have just been watching too much television down there… Too many paid political advertisements. They got so frustrated, they just had to take a big BITE out of someone.

At least today that will all be over! And if the shark activity calms down… Well, what can I say. I was right.

A hui hou! If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the Follow button on the Homepage. Mahalo for stopping by!

Aloha, Jamaica