I apologize for being a little slow getting out of the gate with our September Maui Real Estate Statistics. This post includes all of the usual content on median sales prices, sales volume, pending sales and other notable numbers and closes for September. It also includes a deeper dive into the recent condo sales numbers. We have seen a trend develop over the last six months where Maui condo sales totals have under performed compared to last year. I wanted to see if we could peel the onion back and expose any clearly discernible reasons as to why there are fewer condos selling. I have proffered some anecdotal evidence in recent stats posts, but I hoped to find something more substantive in the actual sales data. Keep reading to find out what I learned and all the other numbers from the September Maui Real Estate Statistics.
September Maui Real Estate Sales Volumes and Medians
By my count there were 95 homes sold on Maui in September with a median sales price of $570,000. Last September, there were 85 homes sold with a median price of $470,000. That calculates to approximately a 12% increase in volume and a 21% increase in median price while comparing this September to last September.
There were 79 condos sold last month with a median price of $465,000. By comparison, in September 2013 there were 121 condos sold with a median price of $345,000. That calculates to a 35% decrease in sales volume and a 35% increase in median price when comparing this year to last year.
There were 12 land sales on Maui this September with a median sales price of $520,000. Last September, there were 15 sales with a median price of $335,000. That is a 20% drop in volume and a 55% shift in median price when comparing this September to last September.
Interesting Notes and Numbers From the September Maui Real Estate Transactions
While compiling the numbers above, I thought there were some other facts and figures that were worth sharing from the September Maui Real Estate Transactions.
- The highest priced home that sold last month was actually a bank owned property. A six bed/seven bath luxury home in the One Palauea Bay Subdivision in Makena sold for $8,500,000.
- That was one of six homes sold for over $2,000,000 last month. The other homes were located in Paia, Kula, Kihei, Kapalua and Lanai.
- The slow month for condo sales was reflected in the luxury condo market. There were no sales over $1,500,000. The high sale was a two bedroom/two bath condo that sold at Honua Kai for $1,390,000.
- The highest priced land sale was a beachfront lot in Ka’anapali. The .87 acre lot sold for $6,900,000.
- There were 12 bank owned (REO) sales last month. That is up slightly over the 11 (REO) sales that were recorded in September of 2013.
- There were 6 successful short sale transactions completed in September. Last year, there were 26 short sales in September. With more sellers in improved equity positions on their properties, there will continue to be fewer short sale transactions.
Thoughts on the Maui Condo Market and the September Stats
The condo market continues to catch my eye when looking at the numbers above. There is a continuation of recent trends with condo sales under performing last years transaction totals. Condo sales were down 27% in the third quarter of 2014 when compared to the third quarter of 2013. I thought it was worth taking a more granular look at the condo transactions to see if there are anything that might help to explain the slow down in activity. The chart below compares sales in different price points of the condo market during the third quarter of 2013 and the third quarter of 2014.
As you can see in the chart above, there were only four price points where the 2014 third quarter sales totals outperformed the sales totals of the third quarter of 2013. The biggest drop in 2014 third quarter sales occurred in the price ranges between $101,000 and $400,000. Inventory is a big factor in this price range, particularly in the $101-$200,000 range where there is around three and a half months of inventory available based on recent absorption rates. That limited inventory is clearly hampering sales volume.
The inventory may be even tighter than it appears on paper. With some sellers really shooting for the moon on prices, there is a reduced pool of properties priced at or near market values. Maui has always been a market where sellers tend to reach on their pricing. This is due in part to the fact that there are a lot of second home owners who can afford to let their condo sit on the market for an extended period. The ranks of overpriced properties may also be due in part to changes in the rates of appreciation. Some entry level condos saw huge bounces off the bottom with appreciation reaching into the 70% or more range. Some sellers have based their go to market prices on those recent rates of appreciation. With the last real estate downturn still fresh in some minds, buyers are not willing to sustain those rates over the long haul. That is most apparent with entry level condos priced in the low to mid $200,000s. After big gains in 2012 and the first half or 2013, those condos have seen little to no appreciation over the last 6-12 months.
Once you get above the $400,000 range, the condo inventory is not quite as tight. It has certainly dwindled below what we saw during the doldrums of the market, but there is still more than six months of inventory based on current absorption rates. There is enough inventory that it shouldn’t be constraining market sales. The healthier inventory is reflected in the sales figures in these price ranges. The difference between sales in third quarter 2013 and third quarter 2014 is smaller and there are of course a few price points where 2014 third quarter sales are higher. I am not sure that I can pin all of the decrease in market activity as being driven by inventory constraints, that said there is a clear correlation in some market segments. If there are any other factors that are hampering sales, they are not quite as easy to discern.
The luxury condo market is one part of the market where inventory is abundant. In the $1,500,000 to $4,000,000 price range there is well over a year of inventory based on current absorption rates. That would suggest that inventory is clearly not a factor in the slower third quarter sales volumes for luxury condos. The third quarter slump is something of a surprise as the first half of the year saw very strong sales in this range. It will be interesting to see what happens during the fourth quarter. If the slower sales volumes continue in that price range, it may illuminate what other factors are cramping the condo market. That said, this is a market segment with a small sample size that can see a lot of variability. The fact that there were strong luxury home sales in September makes me think the lower luxury condo sales could be an anomaly.
There was one other thing that I thought was worth mentioning about the September condo numbers. We typically don’t spend a ton of time discussing the median sales prices that we report in our stats posts other than to give the caveat that they aren’t a great indicator of changes in value. Our market size is small enough that the distribution of sales can have a bigger impact on medians than the changes in the values of properties. I think the stats for this month are a good example why. The 35% increase in median is driven heavily by the decrease in sales between $100,000 and $400,000. Fewer lower priced sales resulted in a big boost to the median sales price.
While the condo market has seen a clear trend of decreasing sales compared to last year, the home market has seen similar levels of market activity compared to 2013. As of this month, there have now been four months where sales were stronger than the same month of 2013, four months of slower sales and one month where sales volumes were the same. While constrained inventory has reduced the number of entry level home transactions, that has been offset by a little more activity at the higher price points in the market.
The 2014 Maui land market has occupied a middle ground between the condo and home market. It has had more months with lower sales volume than higher sales volume compared to 2013, but not quite as many down months as with condos. Inventory could be a factor with this market. Lower priced land opportunities are becoming harder to come by.
September Pending Sales
One thing to remember with real estate sales is that they are a lagging indicator. Most transactions on Maui take 30-60 days to close. We also keep track of pending sales in our statistics to get a sense of more recent market demand.
The pending property sales are mirroring current trends. The number of homes that went under contract in September was equal to what we saw in 2013. The land and condo pending sales are both down from 2013 levels although the margins are small.
What Buyers and Sellers Should Expect in The Current Maui Real Estate Market
While sales numbers are down a little, the overall buying and selling experience on Maui has changed very little in the last twelve months. Scarce inventory makes for a competitive market for buyers. Buyers should do all that they can to be prepared to act quickly when well priced properties that fit their needs hit the market. That means getting pre-approved for a loan prior to your search if you require financing. It also means being decisive and putting your best foot forward when submitting offers. Well priced properties are still frequently generating multiple bids. Sellers who want to sell quickly will need to pay attention to recent comparable sales and current conditions within their neighborhood and community. Even with reduced inventories, overpriced properties are sitting with very little interest from the market. Both buyers and sellers should be aware that market conditions can vary significantly by neighborhood and price point. The Maui Real Estate Team would welcome the chance to sit down and discuss your real estate needs and the market conditions in communities that could be of interest. Contact The Maui Real Estate Team for a free consultation.