Last week, I posted the Official December Real Estate Statistics. These stats included a comparison of 2007 and 2008 sales numbers. The Maui News also ran a piece on the year end statistics. I thought it was worth chiming in with a few quick observations of the year to year numbers.
As per the Maui news article, the most clear cut year to year numbers are the decreases in volume. Volume of home sales was down 21% and volume for condo sales was down 34%. Volume of land sales was down 57%. Sales volume was impacted by a myriad of factors. The overall national real estate picture, tougher financing criteria, a strengthening dollar, a weak economy and a decrease in visitor numbers all combined to have an impact.
Changes in median prices were a little more ambiguous. The median sales price for land was up. The median sales price for condos was essentially unchanged and median home prices were down 8%. The reality on the ground doesn’t quite reflect the numbers as almost all property types were seeing price adjustments by the end of the year. While home prices show a decrease, I am not quite sure that the 8% decrease is a true reflection of a year to year decrease in values. Depending on your market segment, there are some homes that decreased less and some that decreased more than 8%. As I have said many times on the blog, our market size can cause issues with median prices. The Maui News article talks about some of the issues that skew our median numbers for 2008 in greater detail. They do a good job of capturing most of the root causes. They mentioned the impact of affordable housing numbers. I would argue that higher sales volume at the high end of the market over the first half of the year also had an impact in throwing the numbers off.
I am not sure that I want to get into the prognostication business as to what lies in store for us in 2009. There are just too many variables. That being said buyers will find opportunities through low interest rates and motivated sellers. Sellers will need to carefully consider pricing strategy. Those that are having the most success selling are pricing below recent sales. It is likely that we will continue to see foreclosures, bank owned properties and distressed sales playing a role in the market. Regardless, there is something to be said for owning property on Maui. Contact us if you are considering buying or selling Maui Real Estate in 2009. We will be happy to offer our assistance in these interesting times.