Maui Real Estate Blog

January 2014 Maui Real Estate Statistics Sneak Peek!

The first month of 2014 is in the books and Valentine’s day is just around the corner. That means it is time to take the pulse of the Maui Real Estate market and get a sneak peek at the January 2014 Maui Real Estate Statistics. This post takes a look at sales volume and median prices for properties this January and compares them to what we saw during January 2013. I also highlight some other numbers that I came across while compiling these stats that I thought might be of interest. This month, I am opting not to do a video analysis. I will be saving my face made for radio until next month. However, I did take a stab at gauging buyer activity during the first six weeks of peak buyer season. Without further ado, here are the numbers.

This table shows the sales volumes for homes, condos and land in Maui, County, Hawaii during January of 2014 and January of 2013
This chart compares the Real Estate Sales Volume for Maui during January of 2014 and January of 2013

There were 64 homes sold in Maui County during the first month of 2014 with a median sales price of $691,500. Last January, there were 63 homes sold with a median price of $550,000. That is a less than 2% increase in sales activity and a 26% increase in median price when comparing this January to January 2013.

There were 92 condos sold in January of 2014 with a median price of $431,000. In the first month of 2013, there were 63 sales at a median price of $297,000. That means a 46% increase in sales activity and a 45% increase in median prices over last January.

There were 13 land sales in January of this year at a median price of $370,000. Last January, there were 7 sales with a median price of $675,000. That is an 86% bump in activity and a 45% decrease in median. With the smaller sample sizes, the difference in sales and medians can be more dramatic.

In addition to the numbers above, here are a few other numbers and tidbits that I thought were worth sharing about the January Real Estate sales activity.

  • The highest priced home sale for January was $9,300,000 for a 4,000 square foot oceanfront home at Makena Place.
  • That was one of 11 homes sold over $2,000,000 in January. That is a very strong month for ultra luxury purchases. For context, there were only two sales in that price range last January. It was a geographically diverse list of homes sold with big closes in Spreckeslville, Pukalani, Lanai, Ka’anapali, Wailea, Kihei and Makena.
  • The high condo sale last month was $2,600,000 for a three bedroom unit at Hoolei in Wailea.
  • The Ho’olei sale was one of 7 condo transactions that sold for over $1,500,000. There were also high dollar transactions at Honua Kai, Ka’anapali Ali’i, Puamana and the Terraces at Manele over on Lanai.
  • As a quick side note, there continues to be pretty extensive luxury sales activity on Lanai. I did a little digging and the vast majority of the purchases appear to have been made by an LLC out of Walnut Creek, California. I suspect that LLC is owned by Larry Ellison.
  • The high land sale in January was $4,587,999 for 3,455 acres of land in Hana. This is all of the Hana Ranch land on the Mauka or Mountain side of Hana Highway. This was a complex transactions with additional considerations above and beyond the published sales price. This also included the Ranch’s cattle operation and private water system. With the water system comes additional obligations. It is also known that there were quite a few parcels of land included in the purchase that did not have clear title.
  • Bio-Logical Capital was the entity that purchased the Hana Ranch. They plan to keep the land in agriculture and conservation with the hope of boosting the agricultural productivity. It will be interesting to see what changes this purchase might bring to Hana and the Hana Real Estate market.
  • There were only 4 bank owned (REO) sales that closed last month. There were 6 REO sales in January of 2013. At this point, bank owned properties are having a very limited impact on the Maui market.
  • There were 10 short sale transactions completed in January. Last January, there were 14 short sale transactions. It will be interesting to see if the number of short sale transactions will decrease significantly going forward. A mortgage forgiveness tax break expired on December 31st. Sellers may find debt forgiven by banks to be classified as income by the IRS.

There were a couple of things that stood out about last month’s numbers. They are both related. Number one on the list is the high monthly median sales price for homes. To be clear, the drastic increase in medians is not a just a reflection of the increase in home values. It is safe to say that there were price increases around the island, but that wasn’t the only factor that drove up the median. Distribution of sales plays just as big if not an even bigger role than price increases when it comes to changing median sales prices. That brings us to the other number that really stood out this month in the stats. The 11 homes sold over $2,000,000 was significant. When 17% of the homes sold in a month are over $2,000,000, that is going to push up your median sales price. As I have said in other recent stats posts on our blog, I think we can attribute a good portion of this high end market activity to a very strong year for the stock market. There were high net worth buyers who cashed in on their stock returns and made discretionary purchases of Maui luxury properties.

January is typically a slower month for sales to be reported. That is because November and at least the first couple of weeks of December typically see fewer properties to go under contract. That isn’t as busy a time of year for year for visitors and local buyers tend to be preoccupied with other holiday activities to be shopping for houses. While January may not bring a ton of sales, this is one of the three to four months of the year that constitute our peak buyer’s season.

Lately, I have heard some buzz on the street and from other Realtors that the market had really picked up as of late. That didn’t quite jive with what I had observed in my own personal real estate experience. It also didn’t quite reflect what I was seeing with pending properties on our MLS. The market feels like it is humming along at a good pace, but it did not feel any stronger than last season. If anything, I suspected that more limited inventory on the low end was reducing the total number of sales. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing something.

While we have our fingers in a broad cross section of the Maui market, maybe there was more activity that I overlooked. The January sales volumes above are a lagging indicator. They don’t show the current market activity. To get a gauge of current activity, I wanted to look at the properties that went pending since the start of peak buying season. The table below shows the properties that have gone under contract between December 20th and January 31st and compares it to the same period a year ago.

This chart compares the number of properties that went pending during the beginning of this year’s peak buyer’s season and the beginning of last year’s peak buyer’s season.

As you can see from the chart above, buyer activity during the 2013-2014 peak buyer’s season is for all intents and purposes mirroring what we saw the year before. Vacant land is the only property type where the number of properties going into escrow is lagging behind what we saw last year.

For buyers considering entering the Maui Real Estate market, the analysis above looks at the market in broad brush strokes. Sales activity and pricing momentum varies around the island by community and price point. The Maui Real Estate Team would welcome the opportunity to discuss market conditions and available inventory for the types of properties that will meet your needs. Sellers will find that market conditions have continued to improve, but there are still places where higher inventory requires thoughtful pricing. Contact The Maui Real Estate Team today for a free consultation to discuss your property and your real estate needs.

Pete Jalbert

Maui Real Estate Blog

The Hana Ranch and A Hana Real Estate Market Update

The highest priced listing on Maui over the last four years has been the Hana Ranch. This 4,500 acre property located in East Maui was originally listed at $65,000,000 and is currently listed for $55,000,000. This is a legacy property that required a pretty unique buyer with A LOT of capital. While Hana is a magical part of the island, the seclusion and the unique character of the area made it a poor match for those that are looking for acreage for development opportunities. For that matter, the sellers were hoping to attract a buyer who would be more inclined to preserve the area. While there is an active agricultural component to the property, it isn’t exactly a cash cow. Ranching operations were cash flow negative. For such a big price tag, this property doesn’t pencil out for most who are looking for business opportunities. That being said, it appears as if the right buyer may have come along. As noted in last Thursday’s Maui News, Bio-Logical Capital is under contract to purchase Hana Ranch. While terms of the contract and a closing date have not been disclosed, Bio-Logical Capital has made its intentions with the Ranch known. They hope to preserve and potentially expand existing cattle ranching operations. They also hope to do additional sustainable agriculture on the property. Indications are that they are sensitive to the rural character of the community. On paper, things sound promising that Bio-Logical Capital will be good stewards of the land. We will provide additional details on the Hana Ranch sale as they become available.

The contract to purchase Hana Ranch cast the spotlight on East Maui Real Estate last week. It is the marquis sale or potential sale in what has been a year of renewed interest in Hana properties. Hana’s real estate market languished last year. During the first half of 2011, only one home and one parcel of land sold. There were only six properties sold in all of East Maui last year. There has been a positive uptick to the market through the first half of 2012. Here are the numbers.

A Comparison of Real Estate Sales Volumes in Hana and East Maui for the First Half of 2011 and the first half of 2012

There were seven homes sold in the first six months of 2012 with a median price of $349,900. There were 2 condos sold at the Hotel Hana with a median price of $475,000. There were three lots sold at a median price of $335,000. While we are dealing with small sample sizes, this is a 600% increase in activity over the first six months of last year.

Here were a few other things that I found notable about the Hana real estate numbers for the first six months of 2012.

  • Three of the twelve properties included above are in the community of Nahiku.
  • Two of the sales in Hana and East Maui were bank owned properties.
  • There were no sales in the East Maui Communities of Kaupo or Kipahulu. That being said, inventory has been pretty limited in both communities
  • The highest sale was $720,000 for a home on 5.4 acres in the Hana Ag Park. This property was listed by The Maui Real Estate Team.
  • The lowest sale was $225,000 for a property with multiple structures of questionable permitting in Nahiku.
  • Hana sellers have had to show a little more flexibility on pricing. Only one property sold for full asking price. Many of the properties sold for significantly less than original asking.

The Hana market is showing sings of life after what can only be described as a pretty dismal 2011. One factor in the resuscitation is addressed in my last bullet point directly above. Sellers have become more flexible on pricing and buyers have been responding to the values. This isn’t rocket science, but it is a clear theme coming up with all of my other midyear market updates. Buyers in this market are value sensitive and well priced properties are moving.

With a better first half of 2012, what can we expect for the rest of the year in Hana and East Maui? There is still a sizable inventory in Hana. There are twenty homes listed with three pending. That suggests a pretty good variety of properties for buyers. The pool of Hana buyers isn’t all that deep due to its relative seclusion. This means Hana home sellers are going to need to keep their pencils sharp. The land market is also pretty flush with listings. At this time, three of the twenty-seven land listings are under contract including the Hana Ranch. This is another market segment where motivated sellers will need to keep sharp on pricing to draw interest from the smaller pool of buyers. The Hana Ranch transaction could be an X factor in the Hana Real Estate market for the rest of the year. There have been other examples where high profile closes have drawn attention to a community and bumped real estate activity. It will be interesting to see if that happens with Hana if and when Hana Ranch closes.

If you are interested in the Hana Real Estate market, you can browse the current inventory of East Maui Homes for Sale on Feel free to contact The Maui Real Estate Team if you are interested in selling or buying Hana Properties.

Pete Jalbert