March 2009 Unofficial Maui Real Estate Statistics

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It has been a pretty busy week for the Jalbert brothers. Billy had two closings today and my Haiku Condo home listing went under contract yesterday. That being said, I was able to take some time today to poke through our MLS database and look at last month’s closings. I will post the numbers that I came up with below as well as a short commentary on the numbers. These are unofficial statistics. The official Realtor Association of Maui monthly real estate statistics should be posted in the next few days. In the interim, these are the sales numbers that I saw.

There were 53 homes sold in Maui County last month at a median price of $505,000. This compares to 95 homes sold in 2008 at a median of $620,000. This is roughly a 44% drop in volume of sales comparing the March numbers.

There were 48 condos sold in March of 2009 at a median price of $331,000. During March of 2008, we saw 91 condos sold at a median of $527,000. This constitutes roughly a 47 % drop in volume between the two Marches.

There were 7 plots of land sold in Maui County in March of 2009 at a median of $1,050,000. The March of 2008 numbers were 10 sales at a median of $537,500. This is a 30% drop in volume.

Over the last couple of months, I started tracking REO or Bank Owned property and Short Sale closings. There were 20 REO closes this month and five short sales. These numbers do not count REOs purchased at auction that are not listed on the MLS. It is notable that 13 of the 48 condo sales were REOs or more than 25% of inventory. This is the high water mark for REOs and Short sales in the four months that I started paying attention to these numbers. I imagine we will continue to see good numbers of REO and short sale transactions for the forseeable future.

On to the meaning of the numbers, it is clear that we are seeing the continued trend of low sales volume for the Maui Market. If there is a bit of a silver lining, the decrease in volume of sales year to year is not as drastic as last month where land, condo and homes all decreased by more than 50%. It is way too early to say if this is the start of a recovery in sales volume or a bit of a statistical anomaly. Maui’s sample size can make for some pretty drastic fluctuations. This will be something to watch over the next few months.

In terms of the Median sales price numbers, the drop in condo median is the most striking. This is the lowest condo median we have seen since April of 2005. Part of the drop in median reflects price adjustments and part of the drop reflects where we are seeing market activity. It is clear we have seen price adjustments across the board. That being said, the percentage of price change varies widely by condo complex and market segment. The greatest adjustments have occurred in the lower ends of the condo market where there was more sub prime financing. More no money down loans and adjustable rate mortgages have resulted in a greater number of short sale and REO listings. Some of the entry level condo complexes have seen prices adjust greater than 50% from peak to current. The higher ends of the market and the vacation rental condo market have seen less drastic adjustments. For the most part these condos were subject to much more stringent financing requirements. A requirement of a minimum of 25% down for vacation rental condos means fewer owners with negative equity and a lot fewer distressed sales and REOs. The variation in price decreases has had an impact on market activity. Buyers are looking for values and those condo complexes that have fallen the most to date are attracting a healthy share of buyers.

On the other end of the spectrum, the median price for land was strikingly high in March. This is a classic case of the dangers of sample size and market activity. Last month, we saw a median price of $262,500. This month we have a median that is 400% higher. Last month’s buyers were looking for values at the low end of the market. This month, there were four high end land sales over $1,000,000. I think the “surge” in high end activity is more month to month variation than market trend.

What does this all mean? I can’t say that I am going to offer any great epiphanies that you haven’t seen in my previous monthly statistics analysis. I will repeat that there are opportunities out there for buyers, and they aren’t all REOs and short sales. Developers continue to offer nice incentives and price adjustments for buyers for those that are looking for new homes and condos. There is also something to be said for perusing home and condo resales. There are long term home and condo owners on high island who still have significant equity in their homes. Good home equity plus a want or need to sell can equal good deals for buyers. It is also worth noting that those with good credit and stable employment may be able to take advantage of the good mortgage rates we are seeing. Qualification requirements for loans remain stringent. Sellers need to price competitively at or most likely below comps to improve your chance of sale. If you don’t need to sell your home and are thinking of fishing for high prices, you may be better served by keeping your property off the market. Please feel free to Contact us with any questions about buying or selling real estate on Maui.

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