I begin this post with a humble apology. Last month was the first time that we have failed to provide some version of the monthly Maui Real Estate stats since 2008. For those that have come to expect this place to be the first resource to go for getting a pulse on the Maui market, I apologize for letting you down. If you didn’t see last month’s stats via another media outlet, here is a link to the Realtor Association of Maui March Stats. I will try to redeem myself with an expanded post that includes a cornucopia of Maui market numbers. April is a month of transition in Maui. It is the end of whale season, peak tourism season and peak real estate season. The real estate sales figures are typically pretty strong as we see lots of closes from properties that went under contract earlier in peak buyer season. Keep reading to see the April sales volume and median numbers, a few interesting numbers and tidbits from among this month’s closes, a broader look at the first four months of the year, some forecasting as to what we may see for sales in the coming months and a few other thoughts on the Maui market. Without further ado, here are the numbers.
By my count, there were 84 home sales reported in April with a median sales price of $583,000. By comparison, last April there were 79 home sales with a median price of $470,000. That is a 6% increase in sales volume over last April and a 24% increase in median.
There have been 134 condo sales reported for April with a median price of $403,500. There were 144 sales reported last year with a median price of $370,000. That is a 7% decrease in sales activity and a 9% increase in median prices.
There have been 19 land sales reported to date for April of 2014 with a median sales price of $510,000. Last April, there were 14 sales reported with a median price of $479,500. That is a 35% increase in sales volume and a 6% increase in price when comparing this April to last April.
These are preliminary numbers, we may see some additional sales reported from the end of the month in the next couple of days. While compiling the numbers above, I found a few other numbers that I thought were worth sharing.
- The highest priced home sale in May was a beautiful estate in the Makena Papa’anui subdivision located just above Makena Landing. The home with stunning ocean views and infinity pool closed for $6,850,000.
- That was one of six sales over $2,000,000 in April. There was one other sale in Makena Papa’anui, three sales in The Pineapple Hill Neighborhood of Kapalua and one Oceanfront home in Haiku.
- The highest priced condo transaction for the month was located at the Honua Kai Resort. One of the premier three bedroom units in the complex closed for $5,200,000.
- This was one of six condos that closed for $1,500,000 or higher in April. There was one other sale at Honua Kai along with sales at Kai Malu, Hoolei, Wailea Beach Villas and Ka’anapali Ali’i.
- There were only 9 bank owned (REO) closes last month. In April of 2013, there were 13 REO sales. This remains a pretty limited market segment and it seems as if a good number of the REOs that enter the market are being priced fairly high by the banks. With a limited inventory of lower priced homes, banks are trying to get more money for their assets.
- There were 10 successful short sale transactions this April compared to 15 in April of 2013. While I expect the slow drip of bank owned properties to continue, I suspect we may see the number of short sales continue to shrink under current market conditions. Better equity conditions for sellers and stiffer tax liabilities for owner occupants who complete short sales are going to reduce the impact of this type of sale.
This months stats were almost directly the inverse of last month’s stats and the overall trends for the year. Home and land sales were higher in April of 2014 than they were in April of 2013. Condo sales were down compared to last April. Overall for the year, we have seen higher condo sales while both land and home sales have been lower. I wouldn’t read too much into one month’s trends as we are likely just seeing some of the variability we tend to see with Maui’s smaller sample size of transactions.
As we tend to point out in our stats posts, it is important not to paint with too broad of a brush in Maui. Sales activity varied by community and price point around the island. Some communities are seeing more activity than last year. Some are seeing less than last year, and some are seeing almost the same. Here are some of the markets that are seeing some of the biggest differences in sales activity between this year and last year.
- Haiku residential sales are down 21% (four units) compared to the first four months of 2013. That reduction can be attributed entirely to a decrease in inventory and activity at or below the median with four fewer sales below $600,000.
- Pukalani has seen a 43% decrease in residential activity compared to the first third of 2013. This appears to be another community where reduced inventory is impacting sales. There were far fewer sales in Pukalani under $500,000 this year compared to the first four months of last year.
- Wailuku sales are down 16% (7 units) compared to the first four months of 2013. This was also driven in part by a decrease in inventory and sales below $500,000.
- Makawao residential sales are up 55% (6 units) compared to last year. This surge was based on an increase in activity at higher price points. There were 7 more sales over $500,000 compared to the same time last year.
- Kapalua sales are up 150% (3 units) compared to the first 4 months of last year. This is a pretty small sample size which makes the number a little more dramatic.
- Kihei condo sales are up 22% (30 units) over the first four months of last year. This increases has occurred despite a pretty sharp drop in inventory below $200,000. The biggest increase in sales activity occurred between $250,000 and $500,000 with more modest gains above $500,000.
- Condos in the West Maui Communities of Napili, Honokowai and Kahana were up 19% (11 units) over the first part of 2013. This community was somewhat anomalous in that there were more gains at lowest price points rather than the middle and higher price points.
- Wailea saw the biggest dip in condo sales with a 22% (9 units) decrease in sales volume compared to the first four months of 2013. With a couple of new developments on the horizon in Wailea, we may be seeing some buyers deferring purchases as they wait for opportunities to purchase new construction condos.
I also thought it was worth looking at changes in sales activity by price points during the first four months of the year.
- Home sales under $500,000 were down 26% (36 units) compared to the first 4 months of 2013. This is a clear case of decreasing inventory impacting volume.
- Home sales from $500,001 to $999,999 were up by 2.8% (3 units) compared to first third of 2013.
- Home sales were up 54% (22 units) in the $1,000,000 and up price range. The high end market appears as if it is continuing to gain steam after a relatively strong 2013.
- Condo sales priced $250,000 and under were down 21% (22 units). This is a case of shrinking inventory.
- Condos priced between $250,001 and $499,999 are up 28% (49 units). This is due to a combination of appreciation in the market and a general increase in activity.
- Condo activity between $500,000 and $999,999 was up modestly at 9% (9 units).
- Condo sales between $1,000,000 and $1,499,999 was up 22% (6 units).
- Condo sales from $1,500,000 and above were up 45% (9 units). This is pretty impressive as this market segment was up significantly in 2013 over 2012.
The numbers above would seem to indicate that recent market activity is being dictated in part by available inventory. The only part of the market that is seeing less activity is the part that has seen inventories decrease the most in the last year. There are buyers looking at lower price points, but they aren’t finding the properties that they want. The increase in activity at the higher price points also accounts for some of the increases we are seeing in median prices. It is a combination of price increases and more high priced transactions that are causing the jumps in medians. Don’t mistake increases in medians as a true reflection of increases in values.
While sales are a reflection or recent market demand, the number of properties under contract better illustrates current market demand. As we have been moving out of peak buyer season, the total number of pending properties has been dropping steadily. This is a little different than what we have seen in the last few years when the momentum of peak season carried into May. The chart below compares the number of homes, condos and parcels of land that went under contract in April with the number that went under contract in April of 2013.
The numbers show a pretty sharp dip in both homes and condos. It will be worth keeping a close eye on May pending sales to see if we are seeing something of a trend or if this month is just an anomaly.
What does all of this mean for buyers and sellers? Buyer and seller strategy is going to be dictated in part by community and price point. That said, there are a few statements applicable to all geographies. Entry level buyers are going to find a limited inventory and competitive market. Getting pre-approved for financing is a must prior to starting your search. When you find a property that you like that is well priced, decisive and fast action is typically necessary. Some of the higher price points in the market offer a broader range of inventory, but seller motivation tends to go down. Buyers may find that the staying power of luxury home owners can undercut their leverage even in markets with lots of inventory. Sellers who need to sell in quick fashion will need to look closely at recent comparable sales and the level of market activity around their price point. Over priced properties are sitting in this market. Current market conditions can be challenging for both buyers and sellers. The Maui Real Estate Team would welcome the chance to sit down for a free consultation to discuss your real estate needs and how we might be able to help you navigate the market. Contact the Maui Real Estate Team today to get started.