Things are a little busy for the Jalbert brothers with Billy opening the doors of his new brokerage The Maui Real Estate Team, Inc. on Monday. I joined him the same day and we are both enjoying the challenges of starting the new company. That being said, I have stolen a few moments today to pore through our MLS data so I could get a sense of the February Maui Real Estate Statistics. I have included the results below followed by a brief commentary.
By my count, I have 54 home sales in Maui County during the month of February at a median price of $504,150. That compares to February 2009 numbers of 34 homes sold at a median of $545,000. That means a roughly 59% increase in sales when comparing the two Februaries.
I tallied 94 condos sold in February of 2010 at a median price of $429,000. February 2009 had 84 condos sold at a median price of $692,500. There was a 12% increase in sales volume when comparing this year vs. last year.
Land sales for the county remain meager with only 7 total sales for February of 2010 at a median of $350,000. This compares to 6 sales last February at a median of $262,500. This is a 17% increase year to year.
We continue to keep a close eye on Foreclosure and Short Sale closes in our Unofficial Maui Real Estate Statistics. We saw 30 Foreclosure (REO) closes and 21 short sale closes in February of 2010. Of all the home sales last month, 35% were REOs or short sales. Twenty-eight percent of all condo sales last month were bank owned or short sales. With only 7 land sales on the month, it was somewhat surprising to see 3 bank owned closes.
It is always helpful to have a little context on the numbers that I present above. The sample size for Maui Real Estate statistics is small enough that there is danger in taking the numbers at face value.
The home sales look good compared to last year. That being said, the first two months of last year were pretty much the absolute doldrums for home sales. We are actually a little behind the late fall and early winter of 2009 numbers. I am holding to my theory that the first time home buyer tax credit moved some home buyers schedules up a couple of months resulting in diminished numbers after the credit was originally scheduled to expire.
Condo sales appear to have risen modestly year to year, but a little digging reveals that the 2010 numbers are much healthier than the February of 2009 numbers. I have mentioned the Honua Kai effect numerous times on this blog. The February 2009 sales numbers saw a huge bump in sales due to closes in the complex. The 49 Honua Kai closes in 2009 were all based on long term contracts originally penned back in 2005. The Honua Kai effect continued in February 2010, but it’s impact was far more modest with 17 long term contract closes at Honua Kai.
The Honua Kai effect is also the reason for the huge difference in medians when comparing the two Februaries. It is easy to see how median numbers for last year are inflated when 58% of the condo closes were from Honua Kai. Those sales ranged from $572,900 at the low end all the way up to $4,500,000. This year’s numbers represented a more equitable distribution of sales across all property types with resale activity higher in all segments of the market.
Land sales volume continues to be depressed due to limited demand and financing options. It was interesting to note the high percentage of bank owned sales. I am reticent to infer too much from these numbers considering the limited sample size, but the increase in REO activity bears watching to see if anything constituting a trend develops.
Overall, my mantra remains the same for buyers and sellers. Buyers continue to see opportunities well below peak market prices with a few exceptionally discounted properties available. The very best deals are going quickly and often with competitive bidding. Sellers need to sharpen their pencils and price wisely. This means pricing at or below recent comparable sales to attract buyers. REOs and developers offering strong incentives make for stiff competition. Both buyers and sellers can benefit by working with a Realtor to navigate this challenging market. The Maui Real Estate Team is happy to offer their assistance. Contact us today for responsive, professional service.
Stay tuned to The Maui Real Estate Blog for the Official February Maui Real Estate Statistics. I will post them when the local Realtors Association makes them available sometime in the next week.