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Unofficial October Maui Real Estate Statistics

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I combed through the Maui MLS this weekend to see what I could find out about October Sales numbers. This should tide us over until we see official numbers later this week or early next week. Without further ado, here are the numbers that I was able to come up with this weekend followed by a few observations and comments on the statistics.

I counted 79 homes sold this month at a median price of $510,000. These properties averaged 162 days on market. This compares to October of 2007 numbers of 79 closes at a median of $585,000 and an average of 137 days on market.

By my tally, I have 48 condos sold at a median price of $402,500 and an average of 273 days on market. This compares to the October 2007 numbers of 112 condos sold at median price of $552,000 and an average of 143 days on market.

Land sales remain very slow. They come in at 4 sales with a median price of $590K and an average of 75 days on market. This compares to 16 sales in October of 2007 at a median of $432,500 and an average of 165 days on market.

These numbers continue a pattern of low sales volumes on the island. The numbers in the fall tend to look particularly slow as this is the quietest time of year for real estate. We have our slowest visitor traffic and fewer potential buyers. This is exacerbated this year by slumping visitor numbers. There were a few other things that I thought were worth noting about the October stats.

Last month, we saw something of a shocker with our dip in median sales price for condos. This was a classic case of beware of small market statistics. We are seeing price adjustments but none on the scale that were suggested by the dip in September numbers. We saw another low median sales price for condos in October. One month by itself may be considered an anomaly. I think the second month in a row points to a trend. The cause for the dip is what I mentioned in my September analysis.

We are seeing a shift in where activity is occurring in the market. There had been more activity in the luxury segment of the market while middle of the road and entry level condo closes slumped. The disproportionate number of closes in the high end was driving up our median sales prices, when in reality we were seeing modest price decreases in many segments of the market. The last few years saw a lot of luxury resale buyers. However, the numbers swelled even further when you take into account all of the high end new development closes. Most months dating back to the spring of 2006 saw a pretty significant number of closes at new luxury condo complexes. In many cases these new development closes were based on contracts dating back to 2005. We saw only three high end new development closes in October following only four in September. The resale closes are down as well. This coincides with an increase in low end closes as buyers are taking advantage of values in that segment of the market. It is this shift in activity that accounts for most of the rapid drop in median values. That being said, we are seeing more wide spread price adjustments.

A few other quick notes worth mentioning on the luxury segment. This part of the market is still producing some eye catching closes. The high sale on homes was $5,500,000 for a beautiful property above Puamana. The highest priced sale for condos was $7,800,000 for a premier unit at Wailea Beach Villas. This one is a bit noteworthy in that it was well below list price and below comparable sales in the complex. High volume in the luxury market helped bolster prices. The dip in volume and a dynamic global financial picture may create an increase in motivated sellers in this segment. This close also points to the value of making offers.

The condo sales volume stats and the condo days on market stats deserve a quick comment. The volume is in line with the recent numbers we have seen over the last few months. There is a pretty big gulf in sales volume on condos between this year and last year. Again some of that can be attributed to new development sales curtailing. There were 35 new development sales last October vs. a handful this year. The high days on market were boosted by a few closes that exceeded 1000 days on the MLS. Days on market have gone up, but there have been some very well priced condos that have sold quickly.

It is interesting to note that the October home sales were much much more resilient than condos when comparing volume between this year and last year. We did see a bit of a boost in this year’s volume due to some new development affordable housing closes, but overall this segment appears to be a little less impacted by the fall off in vacation numbers. It will be interesting to see if this trend continues to hold.

Land sales remain very quiet. Peeling the onion doesn’t help much with October. One of the four sales was actually more of a commercial lot than a residential lot. Another lot included a home that was being built, but construction was abandoned at around 60% of completion. In other words, it wasn’t your basic lot.

What does this all mean? Well it is pretty clear that we remain firmly in a buyer’s market. There are some interesting opportunities out there with lots of inventory to sort through. To repeat something I mentioned above, there is no harm in making offers in this market. We have seen some closes well below list price. Sellers need to continue to adjust to the realities of a buyer’s market. You need to be priced well to stand out among the other properties that are listed. This is especially true for land. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about the Maui Real Estate market or would like assistance looking at properties.

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11/3/2008

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