Yesterday, I looked through the local Realtor database so I could try to get a handle on the October 2010 Maui Real Estate Statistics. If you are a new reader to our blog, I usually try to post some “unofficial statistics” within a few days of the first of the month. These are a sneak peak before the Realtors Association of Maui posts their official stats sometime during the second week of the month. I also like to provide a little commentary and context for our stats. Maui has a small enough sample size that there is potential to draw erroneous conclusions from our statistics. With that in mind, here are the numbers that I came up with for October sales.
By my count, there were 60 home sales on the month at a median sales price of $435,000. This compares to 74 home sales in October of 2009 at a median price of $488,500. This represents a nineteen percent decrease in sales when comparing year to last year.
There were 71 condo sales last month at a median price of $320,000. This compares to 61 condos sold at a median of $400,842. This translates to a sixteen percent increase in sales when comparing the two Octobers.
Land sales were as anemic as they have been at any point in the last 12 months with only 5 sales at a median price of $210,000. This compares to 8 sales at a median of $382,450 last year at this time. This is an over thirty-seven percent drop on volume albeit based on a very small sample size.
Short Sales and Bank Owned listings have played an important part in the Maui real estate market for the last 18-24 months. We have been tallying the REOs and Shorts that close each month. In October, there were 31 REO transactions and an additional 22 short sales. Bank Owned transactions and short sales constituted forty-three percent of all home sales. They accounted for thirty-eight percent of the condo transactions. There were no bank owned or short sale closes among the five land sales. These numbers are in line with what we have seen over the last few months.
The big number that sticks out this month is the decrease in home sales. Throughout most of this year, there was an improvement in volume over the same month last year. In some cases, the increase was significant. Before anyone hits the panic button, there may be some good reasons as to why the year to year comparisons are looking less favorable. First and foremost, the second half of 2009 was not as dire as the first half. Sales volumes were at their lowest during the first six months of 2009 and gradually started to climb throughout the second half of the year. The first time home buyers tax credit is another factor. Part of the increase in the last quarter of 2009 can be traced to buyers entering the market to take advantage of tax credits. Conversely, October of 2010 may still be seeing something of a hangover from the expiration of the tax credits. The tax credits accelerated buyer demand leaving a smaller pool of buyers after expiration. I imagine we may see these trends continue for the next couple of months.
Condo numbers beat last October, but are not particularly strong when compared to the rest of 2010. In fact, this was the slowest month of the year for condo sales. That being said, it was also a month that saw the least benefit from long term new developer closes. While The Honua Kai effect helped pump up sales during the first half of the year, we only saw one long term close at Honua Kai in October.
Land sales remained depressed in October. This was the lowest sales volume for land of any month during the year to date. This market will continue to remain slow with abundant opportunities in the housing market and limited financing options for land purchases.
Overall, October was steady but hardly a robust month for sales. Our broker Billy wrote an interesting blog post yesterday that looked at traditional factors that might tell if we were at the bottom of the market. The factors he looked at included days on market, inventory and asking prices. The three indicators provided mixed signals and we saw that again in this month’s statistics. If anything, the slight ebb in sales volume and the high number of foreclosure closes suggest that those calling the market bottom may still be premature.
For buyers and sellers, our advice remains unchanged. Sellers continue to be in a position where they need to price aggressively. If sellers have the financial means, they should also have surveys and home inspections completed in advance to avoid any surprises when you go under contract. Buyers are going to continue to find opportunities. That being said, buyers who require financing should make sure they are pre-qualified and preferably pre-approved by a lender prior to submitting offers. There are loans available, but the process is difficult and can be frustrating.
We will post the Maui Realtor Association’s official October statistics when they come online sometime in the next week. If you have any questions or comments on the current market, please feel free to contact The Maui Real Estate Team.