As an agent, I often hear other agents advise their clients — “South Kihei beaches are much cleaner” or “You don’t want to enter the water in North Kihei” and “That’s why North Kihei values are lower than in South Kihei”. As a volunteer knowledgeable in water quality, there is some truth and mostly not truth in these statements. I’m far from a scientific expert though I have talked to some of the best scientists looking at the issues. Kihei has some of the nicest beaches in Maui – about 6 miles worth! There is something for everyone.
North Kihei Beaches Have Poop?
A recent article about Kihei water quality in Maui Time was titled “Poop“. The title is totally sensationalized, however, it does cite some good resources. They are comparing apples and oranges. The article claims that the Kihei beaches are far worse than the Lahaina waters where the EPA is suing Maui County to clean up its act. With what I know, I absolutely don’t believe that and I’m happy that the EPA took action in Lahaina. While I am concerned about water quality in Kihei and would love to see improvements to the system, I’m more concerned in other areas of Maui.
The problem source is the Kihei Water Reclamation facility that is located mauka of the Pi’ilani Highway near the new Police Station. Most of Maui water is treated using injection wells. At various treatment plants around the island, they treat sewage and put the treated water into injection wells. The plants pump water to depth but the treated water does eventually migrate to the ocean. This is happening at a much faster rate than they believed when systems were designed (2 years vs. 8). Lahaina wastewater is treated at lower level than in Kihei which is the major problem in Lahaina. Lahaina water has been shown to have contaminants that contribute to MRSA outbreaks. The water the Kihei facility puts into injection wells looks clear enough to drink. It is distributed and used as recycled water at golf courses and school campuses. Here is an article that describes details of Kihei’s water reclamation facility. The article doesn’t tell us what the impact on our oceans is. The treated water does have more nutrients that create a great environment for seaweeds to grow. While seaweed is normal on all our reefs, it grows much faster and covers much more reef in impacted areas. Some Kihei beaches are filled with dead seaweed many times of the year; if it sits on the beach for awhile, it stinks and gathers flies. My experience is that the worst area is just north of Kalama Park where there is a pumping station near the Kihei Fire Station. The ocean currents along the Kihei coast flow North so there tends to be more nutrient-rich material along North Kihei beaches. That said, by the time you reach Sugar Beach, lots of seaweed is a rare occurrence. Having personally tested and observed water from many points, there is no “poop” in the water. In my experience, when people say they saw poop floating, it is usually right after a coral spawn and what they see is the dying coral spawn glopped together. Others will say it is turtle poop, but I personally haven’t observed or tested that! The water I’ve tested is just as clean if not better than points in Wailea and South Maui.
In my opinion (and I do live in North Kihei just up from Menehune Shores), the bigger issue that impacts the property values in North Kihei are the afternoon winds which are much stronger than further South. Just today while previewing North Kihei condos, I had my dress blow up over my head; luckily few were around to see. It can be fun to watch the afternoon kite-surfers and colorful kites but you’ll get sand blasted if you try to lay out on the beach! The second reason is that North Kihei has Sugar Beach which is the longest stretch of white sand beach on Maui. While people do like sand beaches, long beach stretches do not lend themselves to having the coral reefs and colorful fish that many visitors love to see.
If you love big ocean views and long walks on the beach, North Kihei may be perfect for you. North Kihei has many more oceanfront condos than South Kihei. Most South Kihei condos are across the street from public beach parks and the few on the oceanside are very expensive.
Looking at sales in the last year (May 2015-2016) and selecting fee simple, vacation rental condos with an ocean view, here is a quick price comparison:
|Property Location (# Sales)||Low||Median||High|
|North Kihei Oceanfront (41 units)||$257,000||$444,000||$850,000|
|South Kihei Oceanfront (10 units)||$675,000||$1,435,000||$1,830,000|
|North Kihei Oceanview (8 units)||$210,000||$263,500||$399,000|
|South Kihei Oceanview (50 units)||$263,000||$418,000||$840,000|
I do have a favorite North Kihei Best Buy that is the one of the most expensive listings in North Kihei at $995,000. Usually, when a unit is listed as ocean or beachfront, that means the complex is oceanfront. This unit is front and center on Sugar Beach just 10 steps to hours of peaceful beach walks. The first floor Nani Kai Hale unit has been elegantly remodeled and has a huge private lanai for amazing beach parties. Check this beautiful unit out here. Call me at 808-344-0469 if you are interested in this property or comparing any Kihei properties. Kihei offers a perfect mix of options for every buyer!