Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has completed a shopping trip in Maui. The multibillionaire and his girlfriend, Lauren Sanchez, reportedly made a massive land grab on the Valley Isle.
The off-market deal was said to be at a price of $78 million, which would set a new record for real estate on Maui.
So what led the suborbital space traveler to snap up the earthly delight? We spoke with local experts for an inside view.
But first, some background.
Known as the Carter estate, the property is located on the island’s southern shore. Doug Schatz, co-founder of Colorado’s Advanced Energy, previously owned the spread on La Perouse Bay.
He purchased it with business partners for $4.2 million in 1996. In 1998, he and his wife bought out the partners and proceeded to build a compound.
The 14-acre offering is said to include a 4,500-square-foot main house, a 1,700-square-foot guesthouse, and a 700-square-foot pool. The ultraprivate and rare holding encompasses seven parcels of land, a fish pond, and a private white-sand beach.
The outdoor kitchen includes a fire pit, according to Maui Magazine. There was a tennis court, which was removed by the owner.
The acreage is mainly wooded, with one main house, notes David Richardson, an agent with Hawai’i Life, who represented the property in 1998.
“It’s a pretty special place, very private,” he says. “It’s a great little spot.”
Even so, the deal caught Richardson by surprise.
“I didn’t think he would sell,” he says of the owner. “But $78 million would catch anyone’s eye.”
All beaches in Hawaii are essentially public, notes Richardson. So this property, which includes the aforementioned fish pond—which is actually a small private bay—is a rare acquisition. The ancient fish pond, which connects to the ocean, was traditionally used to catch fish to feed a tribal chief.
“You actually own the beach and you own the pond. So it’s very unusual,” says Richardson. “To have your own private beach and bay that you can snorkel in and no one else can come in is pretty cool.”
Surrounded by nature
Along with the private beach and beachfront land, the area offers even more seclusion, courtesy of a nature preserve. Thousands of acres of conservation land surround the site. A lava field is nearby, and the rugged terrain offers coastal hiking galore.
Set on La Perouse Bay, the area is a mecca for snorkeling.
The property is just a few miles from the members-only Makena Golf & Beach Club. Coming out of a foreclosure, the high-end club has been taken over by the Discovery Land Company, a developer that promises an exclusive experience.
Membership is granted to homeowners on club property. Bezos has been spotted there, but it’s unclear if he came as a guest or purchased a home there as well.
The Bezos transaction caps a high-flying year for sales on the tropical locale. This summer, the $45 million sale of Maui home appeared to be the second-highest sale in state history, after a $46 million sale of a Kauai property in 2018.
The Maui market has been hot even beyond the banner sales.
“There’s no year like this,” says Matt Beall with Hawai’i Life. Single-family homes have seen a lot of recent activity, which he attributes to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“People for the most part have wanted single-family homes,” he says. “I don’t think demand is going away.”
And for luxury properties, “there’s not a lot of inventory,” Beall says.
Hawaii, which has never been cheap, has gotten only pricier during the pandemic. According to Realtor.com®, the median list price on Maui is $878,500, with 760 active homes for sale.
Beall notes that, due to travel restrictions, sales have largely been from domestic buyers. He expects pent-up demand from international buyers to hit the islands hard.
“On the demand side, I think we’re in totally new territory,” he says.
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