February is off to a busy start for the Maui Real Estate Team. That has translated into less time available for blogging. I have been in the process of working on our “unofficial” stats for over a week. In the meantime, the good folks at the Realtors Association of Maui beat me to the punch when they released their “official” January Maui Real Estate Statistics. This isn’t the first time that RAM was first out of the gate and it won’t be the last. As a result, I am going to do something of a hybrid official/unofficial post for this month’s stats. In addition to the link to the official stats above, I want to point out a few more numbers that I thought were interesting and provide some context and analysis to this month’s sales data.
There were 63 homes sold in Maui County during January with a median sales price of $550,000. Last January, there were 50 sales at a median price of $399,000. That is a 26% increase in sales volume and a 38% increase in median price.
I counted 61 condo sales on Maui this month with a median price of $287,000. That is actually one more sale than what was reported by RAM. The January 2012 numbers were 91 sales at a median price of $330,000. That is a 33% drop in sales volume and a 13% drop in median price.
There were only 7 land sales reported in Maui County during January 2013 with a median sales price of $615,000. The January 2012 numbers totaled 9 sales at a median price of $350,000. That is a 23% drop in sales activity. I am reticent to comment on the change in median price for fear that it will be misconstrued as a sign of a massive appreciation in land values.
Here are a few other numbers of note Maui’s January Real Estate Sales.
- There were 6 REO or bank owned sales in Maui County during January of 2013. By comparison, there were 29 REO sales in January of 2012. That calculates to a 79% drop in activity.
- The lack of REO activity may have contributed to some of the more frenzied bidding activity I have seen on a property. An entry level REO in Napili was listed for $225,000. By the time the smoke cleared, the sales price for the property was $390,299. That sales price was 73% over the original asking price.
- There were 14 successful short sales that closed during January of 2013. There were 19 short sale closes during January of 2012. That is 24% drop in short sale activity.
- The highest sales price for a home last month was $9,200,000 for a beachfront residential condo at Makena Place. This was the only sale over $2,000,000 last month.
- The highest sales price for a condo was $3,500,000 for a three bedroom/three bath beachfront unit at Honua Kai in the Kaanapali area. This was the only condo sale over $1,500,000. In fact, the next highest condo sale was $790,900.
There were quite a few interesting numbers above. That being said, I wanted to delve into the condo numbers first. Since we were late to the presses with our stats, I have the advantage of seeing some of the local headlines for this month’s stats. One local publication had a sensationalistic headline proclaiming a big drop in condo sales. Was this dip in activity headline worthy? Better yet, what caused this drop? Well, it is hard to say definitively but it is worth noting that the previous two months saw significant condo sales activity. Many sellers were anxious to close before the end of the year to avoid potential tax increases. I would surmise that this may have accelerated the condo activity at the end of the year at the expense of sales after the first of the year. As RAM executive Terry Tolman pointed out in the official stats, when you average the December and January Sales totals you come out to around 100 sales which is in line with what you might expect for an average month this time of year. I do not think the drop in sales numbers is in any way a reflection of future market trends. There have been 171 condos that have gone under contract since the first of the year. That is a pretty healthy number.
The drop in medians is also out of line with recent trends. I think part of that stems again from sellers trying to close before the first of the year. This was a particularly slow month for condo sales in the luxury market. It was pretty eye opening when I saw that the second highest condo sale for the month was $790,900. There are usually a few sales over $1,500,000 each month and quite a few more over $1,000,000.
While the median condo price plummeted, the home median was up substantially over January 2012. If you are a frequent reader of our stats, you will have read about the inventory crunch occurring at the lower ends of the market. Entry level homes are particularly scarce. There were only 14 sales under $400,000 this January. Last January, there were 24 homes sold under $400,000. I would imagine we are going to continue to see elevated median sales prices unless there is an influx of lower priced home inventory.
The land market regressed after a strong close to 2012. Perhaps, that may have been due to my over exuberance in the Unofficial December stats. More likely, we may have seen a similar scenario to the condo market with some sellers trying to close before the end of the calendar year resulting in fewer sales right after the new year. Again, I don’t necessarily see this as a sign of decreasing activity in the land market. As it stands, there are already seven land sales that have been recorded since February 1.
What does this all mean for buyers and sellers? Limited inventory continues to have a significant impact on the Maui Real Estate market. Entry level homes and condos are particularly scarce, but there are shortages of listings in some communities going all the way up to the $1,000,000+ range. Buyers need to be prepared to act quickly when the right opportunities come on the market. If you require financing, getting pre-approved on your loan is a must. It helps you determine your budget and it improves your standing in the eyes of sellers. Sellers are facing an interesting market place. While the situation for sellers is improving, there are things to be aware of if you are listing your property. I have seen a few properties go on the market well above recent comps. The Limited inventory has created enough of a frenzy that buyers are willing to submit offers at or near these premium prices. The challenge comes with appraisal. Appraisal standards are a lot tougher than they were in the boom times. If the comparable sales aren’t there, you won’t get the appraisal you need to move forward on a sale. Other listings that are going on the market for well over recent comparable sales aren’t getting as much interest. Market dynamics are proving to be complex. Either way, well priced properties are going to have a much higher chance of closing successfully.
We would welcome the opportunity to talk to buyers and sellers who are interested in entering the Maui Real Estate market. We look forward to discussing how we can assist you in achieving your goals in the Maui market. Contact The Maui Real Estate Team for a free consultation today.