Last week was a good news, bad news kind of week. I was pretty busy all week with frequent showings of our listings. The burst of activity resulted in us putting our Grand Champions listing under contract. That was the good news. The bad news was that the market activity made me a little slower than usual putting together our unofficial Maui Real Estate statistics. The board of Realtors beat me to the punch with their official stats. That being the case, I will do something of a hybrid between my usual official and unofficial statistics posts. I will provide some highlights of the official stats and some commentary. Here is a link to the official stats that should provide a framework for discussion.
There were 30 homes sold in February of 2009 at a median price of $581,250. This compares to February of 2008 where there 76 homes sold at a median price of $624,391. This marks roughly 60% decrease in sales volume from this time last year.
There were 44 condos sold in Maui County during February of 2009 at a median price of $578,950. This compares to the February of 2008 numbers of 95 condos sold at a median of $575,000. As with the home sales the difference in volume was significant. There were roughly 54% fewer condo sales this February.
There were 6 parcels of vacant land sold in the county during February of 2009 at a median of $262,500. That compares to 24 sales at a median of $262,500 for February of 2008. This is a 75% decrease in volume from last February’s sales.
Last month I started looking at the number of foreclosure and short sale closes that were showing up on our multiple listing service. Overall, there were four bank owned homes or condos that closed. There were five short sales that closed and one bankruptcy sale that closed. This is down from the January numbers of short sales and foreclosures, but I don’t believe we are seeing any sort of market trend. This number is going to fluctuate on a monthly basis especially since the timing for short sale closes is going to be driven largely by the banks and their investors. This appears to be an active part of the market and it will likely stay that way for a while.
If you note in my highlights of the stats, I have started to quantify the annual change in volume, but I don’t do the same for median prices. As I have mentioned in the past, medians are more likely to fluctuate due to shifts in market activity. You can see that this month with the condo sales where our median price is actually higher than last year. This increase was driven largely by high end condo sales including a number of new development closings at Honua Kai. If you compare like condos year to year, it is safe to say that condos this year are valued lower than last year. I am trying to see if there is any way I could filter out some of the biases that stem from market activity. One suggestion was to try to compare median cost per square foot year to year. I am going to have to defer this option to next month’s stats or perhaps later in the month when I have a little more time. There is no easy way to sort median cost per square foot in our database so I will need to do it manually. It is worth noting that changes in pricing are not uniform across the board with different market segments adjusting at different rates. If there a specific market segment that interests you, contact us and we would be happy to do a market analysis relevant to your specific property needs.
As to the volume stats themselves, we appear to be on a pretty similar trajectory as last month. Sales volume is down significantly compared to the previous year. The land sales appear to be particularly slow with a 75% drop. That being said, this is one case where the numbers aren’t quite as bad as they appear. February 2008 land sales numbers were buoyed by a bulk sale of parcels in one subdivision. This was actually the best volume we had seen in the last 5 months.
While not reflected in the median stats, pricing is adjusting a little more rapidly due to a variety of factors. Short sales and foreclosures have helped bring prices down. Sellers who need to sell and have equity are also making adjustments. A number of developers are dropping prices and offering incentives on new construction. Plain and simple, the volume of buyers is much smaller this year than last year. Sellers who are pricing themselves to stand out in the market are having the greatest success drawing from the smaller pool of buyers. These adjustments are creating opportunities for buyers. My apologies for the delay on this month’s stats. I hope to get back to a normal schedule for the March stats. In the interim, please feel free to contact us with any questions on Maui Real Estate.