May is off to a busy start for The Maui Real Estate Team. Sales activity and other obligations put us a little bit behind schedule for our “Unofficial Maui Real Estate Stats.” This is one of the months where the Realtors Association of Maui (RAM) beat us to the punch with the release of their official numbers. As a result, this is going to be something of a hybrid between an unofficial and and official stats post. I will provide the same data, thoughts and commentary as one of our traditional unofficial posts with a link to the additional data of the RAM stats. Without further ado, here are the monthly numbers.
There were 79 home sales reported on Maui during April of 2012 with a median sales price of $469,000. There were 87 sales reported last April with a median price of $488,000. That is a 9% decrease in volume and a 4% decrease in median when comparing this year to last year.
There were 128 condos sold last month with a median price of $399,000. That compares with 120 sales with a median price of $336,102 for last April. That is roughly a 7% increase in volume and a 19% increase in median price when comparing the two Aprils.
There were 8 lots sold in Maui county during April with a median price of $365,000. By comparison, there were 14 sales at a median of $382,500 last April. That is a 43% decrease in volume and a 5% decrease in median value when comparing the months of April.
Here is a link to the full Official RAM April Maui Real Estate Statistics.
One thing that you won’t see in the RAM stats is specific data on Bank Owned (REO) and short sale transactions. We have been keeping track of these types of transactions as they have had a major impact on market dynamics since 2008. There were a total of 53 bank owned or short sale closes during April of 2012. Of the 79 homes sold, 24 were REOs or shorts. That is 30% of the sales volume. Of the 128 condos sold, 29 were REOs or shorts. That is approximately 23% of the total sales volume. There were no bank owned or short sale land transactions this month. It is also worth noting that there were more short sale closes than REO closes this month. This is something of a recent trend that I will discuss a little more below.
There were no earth shaking stats this month. The thing that stood out to me was the decrease in REO sales and the relative strength of short sale transaction volume. As noted in other unofficial stats posts this year, we have seen a shrinking REO inventory over the first half of 2012. Banks also seem to be more open to short sale transactions than they have in the past. That has led to this shift where short sale transaction volume is equal or greater to bank owned closes. This may well be something of a temporary shift. While I suspect banks will remain more open to processing short sales, it is likely we will see more bank owned inventory coming to market this summer. The foreclosure/robosigning settlement between the banks and the federal government is likely to unclog a portion of the bank owned pipeline. We may also see some of the foreclosure inventory that has been backlogged due to Hawaii’s ACT 48 fallout.
Home and condo sales were very similar to last month. As with last month, condo volume is slightly outpacing last year’s totals while home volume is down a little compared to last year. While land sales saw a brief day in the sun last month with 20+ closes, this month’s numbers regressed to 8 total sales. I may have been premature when I speculated that we could coming out of the worst of the land market doldrums in the March unofficial stats post. It will be interesting to watch the land market to see if March truly was an anomaly.
My advice for buyers and sellers entering the Maui Real Estate market varies based on your price point and property type. The Maui market is not monolithic. The biggest differentiator between market segments is inventory. This month’s official RAM release indicated that home, condo and land
inventory shrank across the board. The inventory at the entry level of the market is extremely tight. Home buyers entering into this market will find prices way below peak prices, but they will also find that the limited inventory is leading to upward price adjustments and competitive bidding. Buyers who want to get into the market should be pre-approved for a loan prior to beginning their search. That will put the buyer in a better position to move quickly when the right home or condo comes on the market. Land, East Maui and the luxury market are a few areas where inventory is higher and you will find more of a true buyers market.
Sellers will need to closely evaluate their segment of the market place prior to listing. Sellers at the lowest priced segments of the market will find a ready pool of buyers albeit they will likely be disappointed with sales prices when compared to the peak. In the market segments where buyers are fewer, sellers need to look closely at recent comparable sales when determining their price point for market entry. Sellers should also be aware of recent changes to the Hawaii Purchase Contract. Sellers now have greater disclosure obligations that are further incentive to do a home inspection or even a survey prior to listing. Keep an eye peeled for more discussion of the new purchase contract and it’s implication for sellers on The Maui Real Estate Blog and www.MauiRealEstate.com. Contact The Maui Real Estate Team with questions on the market or for assistance buying or selling Maui Property.