Foreclosures hit Maui hard


POSTED: Thursday, July 30, 2009

Maui's main metro area was worse than the national foreclosure rate average while Honolulu appeared in the bottom half of nationwide rankings released today by RealtyTrac.

In the midyear data, there was one foreclosure filing for every 81 households in Kahului/Wailuku, Maui, which would have ranked No. 63 if the region had been considered urban enough to be included in the city listing, said Daren Blomquist, RealtyTrac's marketing manager.

In Honolulu, one in every 207 Honolulu homeowners was in foreclosure, earning the city a rank of 143 out of 203 cities, according to Irvine, Calif.-based RealtyTrac, an online foreclosure marketplace.

By midyear, 1,616 Honolulu homeowners had received a foreclosure notice, a 276 percent increase from the same period a year ago and a 31 percent increase from the prior six months.

But while Honolulu foreclosures are growing, overall the city has a limited foreclosure footprint as compared to the nation. RealtyTrac reported 1.5 million foreclosures in the nation during the first six months of the year, an average of one in every 84 U.S. households.

“;We are seeing huge increases in activity in Honolulu, but it's still at a point where there are a lot of other cities that are worse off, Blomquist said.

The same could not be said for the neighbor islands, which have been harder hit by economic recession and had experienced higher price swings during the last real estate boom, said Howard Dinits, a Realtor with RE/MAX Resort Realty in Wailea, who specializes in Big Island and Maui sales.

“;It's hard to know exactly what is going on in the neighbor islands and why those areas have significantly higher foreclosure rates than Honolulu, but they have less economic diversity and are more susceptible to changes in the economic climate,”; Blomquist said.

Declining real estate values and increased joblessness, combined with a tighter lending market and a depressed economy, have created the perfect neighbor island storm, said Dinits, who has had to switch real estate firms twice this year due to office closures.

“;Get ready, it's just going to get worse,”; Dinits said. “;California was littered with foreclosures last year and we tend to lag that market by six to nine months or more.”;

Hilo, which had one filing for every 88 households during the same time period, would have ranked No. 65 if it had been considered urban enough, he said.

Kapaa, Kauai, where one in every 98 housing units received a foreclosure filing during the first six months, would have been ranked No. 72, Blomquist said.

Phil Fudge, principal broker of Kauai Landmark Realty, said that the distressed market is driving Kauai sales.

The continuing drop in tourism has deeply affected Kauai's entire economy, he said.

“;With our hotels running slow, many people are getting laid off,”; Fudge said. “;We don't have any other major employers.”;

Kauai real estate agents are feeling the pinch, too, he said. Out of 650 agents, only 200 have made a sale through July, Fudge said.

“;And, only 33 agents have sold the $2 million in real estate that it takes to earn at least $60,000,”; he said.

While Maui and Big Island agent rosters have gotten shorter, Dinits has survived by focusing on distressed sales, he said.

“;My list of cute little old ladies with equity that want to sell is very short,”; Dinits said.





        RealtyTrac's midyear foreclosure rankings of cities nationwide:




  Foreclosure Rate Rank Location Per Households
1.Las Vegas/Paradise, Nev.1/13
2.Cape Coral/Fort Myers, Fla.1/14
3.Merced, Calif.1/15
4.Riverside/San Bernadino/Ontario, Calif.1/17
5.Stockton, Calif.1/18
203.Burlington/South Burlington, Vt.1/8,066
202.Utica/Rome, N.Y.1/5,441
201.Lincoln, Neb.1/3,625
200.Tuscaloosa, Ala.1/1,318
199.Kennewick/Richland/Passo, Wash.1/1,317
63.Kahului/Wailuku, Maui1/81
72.Kapaa, Kauai1/98
U.S. average1/84




        Source: RealtyTrac