Maui Home Prices Surge

Aloha!

If you want to check out Maui real estate, it’s helpful to know that the median prices for single-family homes jumped 21.3% to $570,0000 in September, compared to 2013. Condos are up 34.8% to $465,000, according to the Realtors Association of Maui.

It’s worth noting that all of this is based on the area. For single-family homes, Central Maui (Kahului) had 32 sales and a $449,500 median price. Kihei had 12 sales and a $502,500 median price. But Haiku came in with eight sales and a $745,575 median price.

These low-end median prices are usually a typical Maui home made of cement block, and have three bedrooms, one bath, and a tiny kitchen. Perhaps a more accurate depiction of a median is this home in Olinda that I found on http://www.Zillow.com. (I love Zillow, especially the mapping and birds-eye views.) With a nice-sized kitchen, covered porch, etc.

image

Four sales of luxury homes occurred in Wailea, for a total sales volume of $12.4 million and a median price of $1.4 million.

For those interested in condos, Kihei, the town right next-door to Wailea, outpaced all of the regions. It had 31 sales of condos with a median price of $315,000. Up north, Napili/Kahana/Honokowai had 12 condo sales, and a median price of $465,000. And upper-end Kaanapali came in with a median price of $930,000.

This is good news for Maui homeowners who have been hanging on waiting for their house prices to bump up so that they could sell. For those looking to buy in Maui, the time is now!

The full report can be seen at http://www.ramaui.com

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Aloha, Jamaica

Other Side of the Coin

Other Side of the Coin

Aloha!
Without asking, I got to hear the other side of the story from the medical community. I’ve been seeing a physical therapist for my tennis elbow, and we had a chat on Saturday. She told me she’d never worked anywhere else where patients were so uncooperative as they are on Maui. Why do you think that is? I asked. She said as far she was concerned we needed to look at the type of person who typically moves to Maui to begin with… Rebels, those who can’t fit in anywhere else, and misfits (her words). She said she could tell the minute she met me that I would do the exercises she prescribed, however, most people gave her backtalk and told her reasons why other things would work better! And then didn’t do the exercises.

Another piece of this story is that I had gotten physical therapy 10 years ago at the same place but it was owned by different people, a couple from New Zealand. I really liked them, but they’re gone now… This is the cycle on Maui. No matter what or whom you love: a restaurant, a hairdresser, a doctor, a tradesperson… They leave. They open a business, find out how hard it is on Maui with such a small population, and poof! they’re gone.

On another note, this physical therapist told me how hard it is for her to get a date on Maui. She’s cute, funny, intelligent, and holds multiple degrees… But she’s over 40. You wouldn’t know that to look at her, she surfs every day, but she said the guys just don’t ask her out. Again I asked, why do you think that is? She said because she reads at the beach the guys say she’s too smart, and it’s off-putting. They also want someone in their 20s. She’s resigned herself to being alone. Isn’t that sad?

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

Living on this Island

Living on this Island

Aloha!

People are certain a move to Maui will strengthen a marriage; eliminate job stress, and take them away from the grime and crime of their area. People dream about moving to Maui, however, few take the leap due to fear of the unknown and losing touch…

Would you be able to live on an island? I really don’t think about being surrounded by water here, but there are people whom it really bothers. I knew a woman named Linda who lived Upcountry and had this view:

West Maui Mountains

I thought the view was spectacular, but it drove her crazy. She said that because she could see the island end to end, she knew all the time that she was surrounded by water. Her husband was an engineer who had come to Maui to oversee the cleanup of Kahoolawe, so they were only going to be here for a few years… But she left after two years, she couldn’t take it.
Interestingly, people say the cut-off is two years for how long newcomers last in Maui. The novelty wears off of going to the beach every single day. People drive around and around the island and realize they’ve seen everything. What’s next? But that’s it, we’re on an island.

Or they see that their favorite band is going to play on the mainland, and they start realizing all they’re missing. Or they start thinking that the family that drove them crazy back home wasn’t so bad after all. And they think that their friends on the mainland will come visit more often than they do… But airline travel is very expensive and annoying now. And they find out that when the sugarcane is burnt they get headaches and their lungs feel heavy…or if they have asthma, they simply can’t breathe when the Vog (volcanic organic gas) from the Big Island rolls in.

I know a girl who works for one of the moving companies, and she told me this story: a Woman moved here with her two children. She moved everything, and was still unloading the crate from the shipper when they burned the sugarcane. The woman was horrified, both her children had asthma, and she had no idea that they burned the sugarcane. She loaded the crate back up that minute, and left the island. They never even moved in. The girl at the moving company told me they all thought that was some kind of new record.

Moving to Maui is a big commitment. It isn’t like the mainland where you can just put stuff in a moving truck and drive across state line. It takes so much thought, preparation and money, that if you get here and decide it isn’t for you, you can’t just turn around and leave.

Do you think you could live on an island? Would it bother you to be surrounded by water? Could you leave your friends and family? Would you be willing to have your pay cut dramatically and yet have your housing costs practically double? Would your work skills even translate to Maui?

Moving to Maui, like marriage, should not be entered into lightly.

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

Aloha, Jamaica

Hawaii Dogs Just Wanna Drive

Hawaii Dogs Just Wanna Drive

Aloha!

Apparently, Hawaii dogs have been taking driving lessons while the rest of us sleep. I have heard of two instances now from friends in Hawaii where their dogs have tried to drive their cars.

My friend Shel does Alaskan Malamute rescue. (You have not seen a hot dog until you’ve seen an Alaskan Malamute in Hawaii.) Also, Malamutes “blow their coats” in colder climates, just big football-sized hunks of fur, but in Hawaii their systems are confused because it’s so hot, and so  just shed and shed slowwwwlly. Shel says the Malamutes are on Maui time, too! Shel is a model of patience with dogs, and also can’t say no to a stray or rescue, and is a foster Mom for Maui Humane Society puppies. Which leads us to her dog, Jesse. Jesse was a rescue found in a cave in Tennessee. He had been bit by what they assume was a copperhead, and it got infected and really mangled his jaw bone. When Jesse smiles his doggy smile, you can see daylight through the side of his jaw. But the good news is, Shel became his foster Mom, going to the mainland and flying Jesse all the way back to Maui; not an easy or in no way inexpensive, feat.

Shel and her husband Clay, who is a phenomenal wood sculpture artist: http://simpsonartworks.com/,  built their house in Kula on a hill. The driveway is at the top of the hill and you drive down the driveway to get to the house below. The whole place is fenced in, because of the dogs. Shel had just returned from taking her mom to the airport, and Jesse was in the truck, riding shotgun. Shel stopped the truck at the mouth of the driveway (top of the hill) so she could get out to open the gate. The truck has some transmission/gear issues, and you guessed it–Jesse knocked the truck into gear while on the hill.

Just as Shel got the big gate swung back, she saw the truck start to move, and could only chase behind as the truck rolled down the hill straight for the house, Jesse at the wheel. She noted that he appeared to be having an inordinately doggone good time. Shel could barely watch as the truck rolled smack into the front of her house. I groaned as she relayed this, then asked her who had  won… House or truck? She said since the house is built like a bunker (cement block with rebar inserted for hurricane protection) the house had won. The truck has a smashed-in front end and is currently non-drivable. “And,” she says firmly, “Jesse’s license has been suspended.”

The second instance of giddy Hawaii dog drivers was our friend Mike’s dog, Dawg. Mike owns a backhoe company and was parked on the shoulder of Hana highway, looking at a job. He’d left Dawg in the pickup truck while he checked out the job site. There were numerous barrels of diesel fuel in the back end of the pickup, kept there for the backhoe. While Mike was talking to the site owner, out of the corner of his eye he saw his pickup truck start rolling backwards downhill…and out onto the road. His dog had also knocked the truck out of gear. Mike could envision all manner of mayhem, including a 15-car pileup and mass destruction on the highway… But the truck suddenly switched direction, backed over an embankment, then flipped over and crashed. Endless seconds passed as he watched, waiting to see if the truck was going to explode. If this had been the movies, the special-effects guys would’ve had a riot. BUT…nothing!!

Mike held his breath as he ran for the truck. Score: Dawg fine, Mike furious.

Lest we think it’s only Hawaii dogs who enjoy these hijinks, there was also recently  a mainland couple who took their two small dogs with them on a ride to the dump. While they were unloading junk from the back, they heard the unmistakable THUNK sound of the cars doors being locked. The dogs had hit the lock button.(They probably wanted to go for a joyride and could only do so by locking the owners out.) Locksmith was called. Score: dogs one, owners zip.

What’s next–Dogs who throw their boat owners overboard and start sailing their boats?

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

Have You Laughed Today?

Aloha!

Maui is a pretty loose place. I’m always amused when I’m out and about and notice how feral-like many Maui children are. They haven’t been groomed within inch of their lives, unlike the little mainland boy I saw at Ha’iilimaile General Store the other night. He was about six years old, pasty-skinned, like he never stepped outdoors. Blonde hair parted with military precision; slicked down. Wearing khaki shorts and a plaid button-down shirt, with gleaming white tennis shoes. He looked like someone sat on him a lot.

Then there are the Maui kids: their hair sticking up and out, like it hasn’t been brushed in a week. They wear bright, mismatched clothes, and are tanned and healthy- looking. Usually they sport some interesting choice of footwear, like zebra-print rubber boots with shorts. Surely to grow up to be iconoclasts, all. Another thing about Maui kids: they laugh a lot, and don’t seem to pitch fits like I hear the kids do when I’m on the mainland. It leads me to believe that mainland kids spend way too much time indoors, and Maui kids are pretty much allowed to run wild, so they’re just calmer by nature.

Hearing lots of laughter was one of the things I noticed most when I first moved to Maui. At the beach, in restaurants, standing on street corners. Locals are a raucous bunch. I was in an office building yesterday and all the female workers were just cackling loudly, maybe over some bawdy joke. No one sushed them or reminded them they were in a place of business. Maui children running wild grow up to be Maui office workers. And they laugh a lot. Even in bad times.

One of my favorite things about working at the hotel all those years was hearing the laughter from the Front Desk people. The Concierge desk sat further out in the lobby, so I wasn’t really part of the Front Desk. But I could still hear them tell stories, share what they had for dinner the night before, and always, there was laughter.

The other evening, after a long day, I stopped at IHOP in Kahului and put in a to-go order. I had about a fifteen minute wait (should have just eaten there) and while I waited, a local family came in. More and more of them, till they filled the waiting area with ten people, and more of their party was still to arrive. Watching them all together, laughing, telling stories in their melodic pidgin and cutting up, I had a twinge of loneliness–of missing my family on the mainland, the choice that all of us who move an ocean away must  live with.

It turns out this family had just come from a surprise engagment party. They had all gathered, knowing the young man was going to propose to The One. Except, she didn’t show up. She was always running late. They waited and waited. Finally, she arrived. In pidgin the groom-to-be now related, “While we was all dhere waiting, I got to tinking…instead of engagement ring, mebbe shouda got her one watch!” They all roared, and I couldn’t help joining in.

Laughter: it’s good for the soul.

Thought for the day: Live a balanced life–learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work everyday some. —Robert Fulghum

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

Aloha, Jamaica

Island Style

Aloha!

Are you a Hawaiian music fan?  There is so much to choose from , but two that I personally like are John Cruz http://www.johncruz.com/, particularly his song “Island Style”, which was a big hit, and of course Jake Shimabukura http://jakeshimabukuro.com/welcome/
the young ukulele virtuosa, who was a youtube sensation.

Speaking of music, there is an Internet email game going around. The idea is to name a song that’s so horrendous that it gets stuck in the recipient’s head. For instance, I would say “Muskrat Love”, and you would groan, because now that’s all you hear for the next hour. Then you’re supposed to tag me back with an equally bad selection. “Midnight at the Oasis” , for instance,sets my teeth on edge.  For many of us, the songs that get stuck in our heads came out before we were even born. But still we know them, possibly from  the dreaded Muzak, or from our parent’s collections.

When my dad was a kid in the 30s, his brother Jimmy bought the record “Frankie and Johnny.” (Cue music: Frankie and Johnnie were lovers…oh lordy how they could love…) Jimmy played it and played it and played it. One day my dad, who was five years younger than his brother and absolutely sick to death of Frankie and and her stupid, cheatin’ lover, took that record out across the road and sailed it into the field. Although his brother looked and looked, he couldn’t find it. Winter came and went, and the following spring my dad was out hiking in that field with his English setter. There, wet and mangled, lay,”Frankie and Johnny.” He never told his brother.

“Achy, Breaky, Heart” . “Seasons in the Sun”. Can you hear it?

Then there is Hawaiian music, an acquired taste for some.  I like much of it. I can even handle the high falsetto if it’s live, in person, and done well. Other people, not so much. A few years back I was at the Maui Writer’s Conference.( Don’t bother to Google it, it’s extinct now). Anyway, the line for the women’s restroom was a mile long, as all lines for women’s restrooms tend to be. I had probably been standing there for close to 10 minutes, and Hawaiian music was playing the whole time. I was enjoying it, as it echoed around the restroom and bounced off the walls.

A few feet ahead of me in line was a little Texan woman. She had the big hair, 2 inch nails, and little gold lame sandals. A Hawaiian falsetto song came on. All of a sudden she shuddered, covered her ears, and yelled in a southern drawl, “I just can’t take this horrible noise one more second!” and she bolted out of the bathroom, after waiting in line all that time. As the rest of us watched her go, there was a moment of silence, and then we all burst out laughing.

Seasons in the Sun. It’s a Small World After All.

Tag, you’re it.

Maui Weather Today: High 85, Low 71

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

Aloha, Jamaica

The Facts of Life on Maui

The Facts of Life on Maui

Aloha!

I always say that owning a house on Maui is like owning the Golden gate Bridge. It’s a fact of life that when those workers get to one end of the bridge and have finished painting it, they turn around and start again at the other end. In Maui, that’s true of both the inside of the house, and the yard.
In California, I worked like a maniac and had a housekeeper. In retrospect I ask, What for? There was no dirt! Just a little dust, every two weeks, and of course the bathroom can always use a bit of attention. But in Maui, it’s really hot, so you open the windows. Then the wind starts blowing. The wind is full of the ubiquitous red dirt.  You know the house is going to get covered with dirt, but it’s too hot to close the windows. And it’s too expensive to run the air conditioning… so you leave the windows open.
Today I cleaned my office. Not organizing, mind you, just cleaning.  Every book I touch has a layer of red dirt on the top of it’s spine. The books feel gritty, as do the bookshelves. My desk, mouse, computer screen; all covered with red dirt.

Then under the bookshelves, in the corners, and along every windowsill is the gecko poop! Another fact of life: the geckos know they own the house, they just let you live there. There is no catching them because they have amazing suction cup feet. You chase them and they just run up to the ceiling, hang upside down, and cackle at you. Literally, they cackle. And continue to poop wherever they like. Then there is the array of other interesting creatures. My friend Shel wrote to me the other day and said she was vacuuming (we spend our lives chasing red dirt) and she heard a caaathunk. She said, “Now just try googling ‘how to remove mangled live centipede from beater bar of a vacuum cleaner.'”

You heard me.
A large chunk of the budget when we built our house was installing wood floors. I would not have put carpet in my house if someone paid me. The reason: I was in a client’s home, who had orange carpeting. Except that then she moved a dresser, and underneath, the carpeting was BLUE. The entire carpeting was so full of red dirt it had turned orange. Tile or carpeting it is!
I am a writer and I love books. I have books everywhere. If I had my way I would own the expensive old Barrister’s bookcases, because they have a glass door that you could pull down over the books to protect them. In Maui, that would help keep out the red dirt.
I know of women in Haiku who take every book off their bookshelves, turn on blower fans, open up all the books, and let the fans blow through to drive the humidity out of them. They do this multiple times throughout the year. Otherwise, they mold.
Just another day in Paradise!
Maui Weather Today: High 85, Low, 72
A hui hou. If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, click the Follow button on the Home page. Mahalo for stopping by!
Aloha, Jamaica