I spent an hour or so this afternoon sorting through the current MLS data for the month of April to come up with some early unofficial real estate statistics. Here are the numbers that I came up with followed by a short commentary. I would expect that the Realtors Association of Maui will have some official statistics some time around the middle of the week.
There were 47 homes sold in Maui County last month at a median price of $495,000. This compares to 78 homes sold in April of 2008 at a median of $577,500. That is a 40% drop in volume from this time last year.
There were 29 condos sold in Maui County during the month of April at a median price of $290,000. This compares to 94 condos sold at a median of $600,000 in April of 2008. This is a 69% drop in volume year to year.
There were 11 parcels of land sold in Maui County during the Month of April at a median of $1,100,000. This compares to 8 sold last year at a median of $477,000 in April of 2008. That is a 37 percent increase in volume from year to year.
Of the sales listed above, 13 were bank owned properties 7 were short sales. It is notable that 31% of the condos sold were bank owned or short sales. We are starting to see bank owned and short sale properties creeping up into the luxury market. The most example was a luxury home in Pineapple Hill in Kapalua that sold for $1,700,000. The prevalence of short sales in the lower price ranges has led to more significant price adjustments in that part of the market. I imagine we may start to see more price adjustments at the high end as motivated sellers in that segment are forced to compete with some of these bank owned properties.
Last month, we saw some positive numbers in the real estate statistics. The rate of decline year to year slowed in all three components of the market. I was reticent to call that a trend or a sign of market change as our market size is going to lend itself to some month to month variability. I think that word of caution was merited as April’s numbers proved to be a mixed bag.
The most glaring statistic was the low volume of sales in the condo market. After rising up to 48 sales in March, we dropped back down to 29 sales last month. We aren’t seeing any new developer sales to bolster our numbers. That compares to 12 new development sales in April of last year and 4 last month. That may account for some of the low sales volume. That being said, it is hard to sugar coat these numbers. Sales volume is low due to lower demand and selective buyers waiting for opportunities. The condos that are selling are generally those that are showing the biggest price adjustments.
The second most glaring statistic is the median sales price for condos. This is the first time the median for condos has been under $300,000 since July of 2004. It looks particularly startling when compared to last April’s median which was over $600,000. Last April’s median was inflated due to high end new development closes. Again, that can only account for part of the discrepancy year to year. The other two factors are market activity and price adjustments. The greater price adjustments at the low end of the market continues to attract more buyers and a greater percentage of overall transactions. Of course, we are also seeing price adjustments across the board. The rate of price adjustment continues to vary. Contact us if you want details on a particular segment of the market.
The home statistics are off a little bit on volume compared to March of 2009, but they aren’t too far outside the range of variability that we see month to month. Median prices are down a little more, but again the numbers aren’t too far off month to month.
Land sales were the bright spot for April statistics as we hit double digit sale numbers for the first time since June of last year. The median price is inflated due to a greater percentage of high end sales with 6 deals closing over $1,000,000. As with the rest of the market, this is a case of buyers following opportunities. A number of sales were in Papa’anui Makena a new development across from Makena Landing. These lots are priced quite a bit lower than other recent comparable Wailea/Makena land sales, and buyers have taken advantage of this opportunity. One thing to keep an eye on with land is lowering building costs. I have heard that construction costs are down a fair bit from their peak, but haven’t seen the numbers to verify this statement. If this is the case, we may see the land market pick up a little more. For the last couple of years, it was cheaper to buy an existing home than it was to build from scratch. That may not be the case anymore as land values adjust and construction costs fall.
What does it all mean? I offer no great epiphanies or prognostications. There continue to be buyer opportunities as we see prices adjusting through all segments of the market combined with low interest rates. It is worth noting, that we are seeing some instances where sales prices are well below list prices. This points to the importance of making offers. Sellers need to sharpen their pencils and price themselves at or below comparable sales to generate interest from buyers. Over priced homes just aren’t getting near the showings that well priced homes are seeing. Please feel free to call us or send us an e-mail if you have additional questions or need assistance in navigating the Maui Real Estate market.