I spent some of yesterday’s work day sorting through the October sales that have been reported through the Maui MLS. The results are my unofficial October Maui Real Estate statistics. They are an opportunity for THE Maui Real Estate blog readers to get a sneak peak before the official stats come out sometime late this week or early next week. There may be a few additional sales reported between now and then, but these numbers should give a good sense of October sales volumes. I also like to provide a little perspective on the numbers. Maui is a small enough market, that statistics can be deceptive. Without further ado, here is what I was able to find.
Thus far, there have been 70 home sales reported countywide for the month of October. The median price for those sales was $488,500. This compares to 80 homes sold in October of 2008 at a median of $509,500. This is a 14% decrease in volume year to year.
There have been 60 condo sales reported for October 2009 at a median sales price of $414,921. This compares to 49 condos sold at a median of $385,000 for last October’s number. This translates to a 22% increase in volume when comparing the two Octobers.
Land sales in Maui County currently show 8 sold for the month at a median of $382,450. This compares to 4 sold last October at a median of $590,000. This comes out to a 100% increase in sales volume for the year.
There were 23 bank owned or REO listings sold in the month of October. There were also 15 short sales that closed for the month. Thirty-one percent of the homes sold last month were either short sales or foreclosures. Twenty-three percent of the condo sales were shorts or foreclosures. There were even 2 foreclosures among the 8 parcels of land sold in the county. These numbers are pretty darn close to the figures we saw in September of 2009. This trend appears as if it will be one that should continue for a while with plenty of REO inventory and short sale listings available and more forthcoming.
Condo sales are continuing to show strength when compared to last year. This stems in part from improving sales volume this year, but it is also a reflection of the second half of 2008 being tough for condo sales. The improvement in this year’s numbers can be attributed to a couple of factors. There is likely some bump from buyers taking advantage of the first time home buyers credit. However, we are also continuing to see increased activity in the vacation rental market. As we step away from the economic abyss, people are getting more comfortable purchasing second homes.
The median sales price for condo shows an improvement over last year. This is a case where one should be wary of taking statistics at face value. We have not seen any increase in condo values year to year. The increase in values is more likely a reflection of a shift in market activity. A little more activity in the high end of the market can also cause an increase in medians.
Home sales appear to be weaker this year when compared to last year. That being said, peeling back the onion shows a stronger market than statistics might indicate. The 70 homes sold is the highest monthly sales number for 2009. Last year’s numbers were also bolstered by 18 long term contract new developer sales. These contracts were executed 12-24 months before their 2008 close. Subtract those 18 sales and you can see that demand is higher this year. I am sure the October numbers for 2009 are bolstered in part by buyers chasing first time home buyer tax incentives. As with the condo market, the increase in activity extends beyond first time home buyers. We also saw ten closes over $1,000,000 and two sales over $4,000,000. While I can’t say this is a robust recovery in the luxury market, this marks an increase in activity.
Land sales doubled verses last year, but the numbers remain anemic. Relatively weak demand is being further diminished by limited financing options for land purchases. It will be interesting to see if more financing becomes available after the new year.
What does all of this mean? Well, the good news is that we are continuing to see some improvements in volume. While some of this can be attributed to the first time home buyer tax credit, there are other segments of the market which are showing signs of improvement including the vacation rental condo market and the luxury home market. The good news is that we should be able to sustain some of this momentum over the next few months. While winter is traditionally the slowest time of year for many mainland markets, the holiday season marks the start of our buyer’s season. Favorable currency exchange rates may also help entice International buyers. As the Canadian dollar approaches par, we have seen a healthy increase in inquiries from North of the border. It also appears as if we may get an extension and even an expansion of the current home buyer tax credits.
While there is an opportunity for continued improvement of the local market, sellers need to be aware that this remains a buyer’s market. The sellers who are having the best luck closing their properties are the ones who are pricing at or below recent comparable sales. Buyers will continue to see good opportunities. Feel free to contact us with questions or for additional assistance buying or selling property on Maui. I will be posting the official October Maui Real Estate statistics as soon as they become available.