"For several years, San Francisco investment banker Thomas Weisel had quietly shopped his beachfront Maui mansion with no takers. But when Covid hit, Hawaii’s luxury market surged, and so did interest in the modern home on just under an acre.
After multiple buyers emerged, Mr. Weisel sold the roughly 22,000-square-foot home in July to “Yellowstone” actress Barret Swatek and her husband, Adam Weiss, a retired hedge-fund executive. The price was $45 million, making it one of the most expensive sales in Hawaii history, said Anne Hogan Perry of Compass, who represented the buyers.
Over the past year, buyers have poured money into luxury real estate in Hawaii, which for many became a tropical haven during the pandemic. There were 64 sales over $10 million statewide during the first nine months of 2021, more than six times the 10 sold during the same period of 2020, according to brokerage Hawaii Life. With multiple sales above $40 million—previously, a rare benchmark—the aggregate value of deals above $10 million this year surpassed $1 billion, up from $150 million in 2020.
To top it all off, in a deal that captured the market frenzy, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos dropped $78 million for a secluded 14-acre compound in Maui, which was previously owned by Douglas Schatz, an energy executive from Colorado. The off-market deal made headlines around the world but never hit public records. Neither Mr. Bezos nor Mr. Schatz responded to requests for comment."
"Hawaii has been a magnet for celebrities and tech billionaires for years, and the trend has picked up in recent months. In addition to Mr. Bezos, Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan—who bought 700 acres of beachside property on Kauai for more than $100 million in 2014—shelled out another $53 million in March for 600 more acres on the island, records show. In June, EarthLink founder Sky Dayton and his wife, the author Arwen Elys Dayton, paid $41.75 million for neighboring properties on the North Shore of Kauai, according to records. A month later, a San Francisco-based limited liability company paid $43 million to buy the 22-acre estate of the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen."
"An additional attraction is that Hawaii is on American soil and has multiple daily flights to the West Coast, said Ms. Perry, who said airports have become clogged with private jets. “When life changed and you could work anywhere in the world, and you were concerned for your personal health and safety, people came to Hawaii,” she said. Some people who had vacation homes in Hawaii are trading up, she said, purchasing larger properties with the intention of staying there for months, not weeks, at a time. Some of her clients work mainland hours and then have the afternoons free to hike, snorkel and surf."
Source: Wall Street Journal