Maui Real Estate Blog

June 2021 Maui Real Estate Market Update

When the pandemic started, we provided weekly updates on market conditions on Maui. There were a lot of unknowns at that point and plenty free time to put together statistics. As market conditions improved from the doldrums of the spring and summer of 2020, carving out time became harder. By the middle of fall, weekly updates slipped to once every few weeks. I last posted a market update in mid-January. The frequency of the posts inversely correlates with market conditions. A quieter market meant more frequent posts, while the dearth of posts over the last 6 months is a testament to the busiest period of real estate transactions seen on Maui to date.

I had a little bit of time to catch my breath this week so I wanted to catch you up on market conditions through the first five months of 2021. While I am loathe to enter the world of prognostication after the surprising turn in market conditions last year, I will also provide a few thoughts on the outlook for the next few months.

Booming Demand

The Covid-19 Pandemic created a real estate boom in a number of markets throughout the mainland United States as early as late Spring of 2020. Due to the travel restrictions to Hawaii, the Maui market remained comparatively quiet. We saw a modest uptick in activity in June after stay at home orders were lifted. As the year progressed, momentum increased. The resumption of tourism in October caused another uptick in demand. The Maui market hit a whole new gear in 2021.

This chart compares the number of homes sold in Maui County during the first five months of 2021 and the first five months of 2020.
Monthly Homes Sold in Maui County, Hawaii in the first five months of 2020 and 2021

Maui Realtors reported 598 homes sold during the first five months of the 2021. That calculates to roughly a 57% increase over the 389 homes sold during the same period of 2020. The difference in sales between 2021 and 2020 increased in part due to growing demand, but also due to the fact that Covid-19 impacted April and May 2020 sales volumes . The monthly difference in sales volume started at 18.8%in January and peaked at 290% in May. To be clear, the sales volumes for 2021 don’t look strong just due to weaker 2020 numbers. By comparison, home sales for the first five months of 2021 were 33.4% stronger than the same period of 2019.

A comparison of monthly Maui condo sales volumes between the first five months of 2020 and 2021
A comparison of monthly condo sales volumes in Maui County Hawaii during the first five months of 2020 and 2021.

Maui Realtors reported an impressive 1,019 condos sold over the first five months of 2021. That represents an 81% increase in sales volume over the 564 condos sold during the same period of 2020. As with the single family home market, the difference in sales between the two years is due in part to depressed sales in April and May of 2020, and a big surge in activity in 2021. This is evident in the monthly numbers. The January 2021 sales volume actually fell below January 2020 by 10%. Sales volume picked up dramatically in February of 2021 as evidenced by the 24.6% increase over February 2020. By May, the difference in monthly sales volume between 2021 and 2020 rocketed up to 448%. It is notable that the months of March through May were the first ever months where condo sales volumes exceeded 200 closed transactions on Maui.

Shrinking Inventory

While the number of properties going under contract soared, the number of new listings coming to market remained limited. The result was rapidly shrinking inventory for the first five months of the year.

This chart shows the monthly inventory of homes and condos for sale in Maui County. The chart starts right before the start of the pandemic through May.
The monthly inventory of active homes and condos for sale in Maui County at the end of the month. This chart starts in February 2020 right before the start of Covid and runs until May of 2021.

According to the Realtors Association of Maui (RAM), there were only 203 active home listings at the very end of May. That is 37% below the 318 active home listings at the end of December. It is 54% lower than at the end of February 2020 right before covid impacted the market. The home inventory declined steadily throughout the pandemic.

As of the end of May, RAM reported 224 active condo listings. This is 68% below the number of active condo listings at the end of December. It is 58% below the number of condos for sale listed right before the start of Covid at the end of February of 2020. The decline in condo inventory hasn’t been quite as linear as the decrease in home inventory. Active condo inventory grew every month between March of 2020 and December of 2020. That makes the decrease in inventory in 2021 all that much more dramatic. It is also worth noting that the home and condo inventory weren’t exactly robust going into the start of Covid. Pre-Covid, there was less than 6 months of homes and condo inventory.

I would surmise that some of the recent decreases in sales volume may be due in part to the lack of inventory. Buyers are looking, but there just isn’t much out there to buy. Well priced properties are still seeing a frenzy of activity.

Rising Prices

Strong demand and shrinking inventory resulted in a lot of upward price pressure over the first five months of 2021. This is evident as Maui’s median sales priced crossed the $1,000,000 barrier for the month of May.

If you are long time readers of this blog, you may know that I am somewhat wary of using median sales price as a means of tracking changes in property values. The change in median price is based in part on change in value and also in part due to the composition of sales. A higher number of high end sales in anyone month can help push median sales price upwards. There is no doubt that this is a factor in the current market. We are seeing a much higher number of high end properties closing in this market. That said, it is also clear that prices are increasing.

Determining an exact number for the change in values is difficult. The Maui market is pretty heterogeneous in terms of structure size, lot size, location, view and finishing. There is also some variability in how much values are increasing in different geographies and price points. Contact us to discuss changes in value specific to areas of the market of interest to you.

What to Expect Going Forward?

I gave up prognosticating on this market earlier in the pandemic. If you told me market conditions would be what they are now back in April of 2020, let’s just say I would be skeptical. With that in mind, there are some things that I will be watching for over the months ahead.

Inventory The number of active listings tumbled throughout the spring on Maui. The limited inventory means a continued seller’s market. That said, we are starting to see increasing inventory on mainland markets. According to Axios Research, the inventory of single family homes nationally is up 7% since April 30th. Will our market start to see the increase in inventory? We seemed to lag behind the mainland market in terms of market trends throughout Covid-19 due to our inaccessibility. Will that continue?

Overly Ambitious Sellers As mentioned above, we are currently seeing strong appreciation in the market. Over the last month, I have started to see some pretty ambitious list prices with prices well above recent comparable sales. Will buyers be willing to absorb these higher prices due to lack of inventory? If not, will sellers be willing to adjust their pricing downward. Thus far, I am seeing a little bit of both. Some sellers are adjusting quickly to negative market feedback. Others have the means to wait and see if the market will come to them.

Interest Rates Global supply change disruptions due to Covid are causing inflationary pressure. There is a lot of argument amongst people a lot smarter than me as to how long this will continue. Inflation can bring rising interest rates. Thus far, the Federal Reserve is not inclined to raise rates. They view the inflation as temporary. If inflation were to be more prolonged, pressure to react may increase.

Other Impacts on Buyer Demand Rising interest rates are just one factor that could impact buyer demand. It’s pretty clear that a significant portion of buyers over the last year came from off island. Maui became a Zoom Town so to speak. With rising levels of the population fully vaccinated, some businesses are calling their employees back to the office. What does that mean for demand going forward? Could that also impact supply if some of those called back to the office decide to sell their homes?

Covid also brought a surge of second home buying. There are some signs that this may be cooling in other markets around the country. Redfin released a report this week that showed mortgage applications for second homes are decreasing. They attributed this in part due to tightened rules for second home lending. They also attribute decreased demand due to rising home prices. Some second home buyers are feeling priced out after recent price increases.

These affordability issues already knocked a lot of local home buyers out of the market. Some are priced out. Others are struggling to compete with the cash or higher down payments from affluent buyers relocating from the Continental United States.

Contact The Maui Real Estate Team

While I am again tentative to offer any sort of forecast, I would surmise that we won’t see any seismic shifts in market conditions anytime soon. Any relief in supply is likely to be gradual while the recovering economy should sustain some demand. Buyers looking in this market are likely to find that well priced properties generate a lot of interest. Bidding wars are common at all price points. The competitions can be particularly fierce at and below the $1,000,000 mark. Sellers will find favorable market conditions. With such limited inventory, it is hard to be overlooked by the market. This means that sellers will get market feedback on their pricing pretty quickly. Contact The Maui Real Estate Team if you are considering buying or selling property on Maui. We would welcome the opportunity to provide a free consultation.

Pete Jalbert

Maui Real Estate Blog

Official January 2013 Maui Real Estate Statistics

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.

A comparison of the Maui Real Estate sales volumes between January 2012 and January 2013

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.

Pete Jalbert

Maui Real Estate Blog

Maui 2012 Year End Market Report

We wanted to take a little bit of a different look at the 2012 year end statistics for Maui County. While we will give a brief look at the broad view. I wanted to hone in on the distribution of sales. While 2012 was a stronger year for sales overall, not all price ranges in the market performed equally. We want to show how different segments of the market performed and compare those segments to the current inventory. That may help us get a better sense of the 2013 outlook for the market. Without further ado, here are the numbers.

A comparison of real estate sales volumes between 2011 and 2012 in Maui County, Hawaii

There were 933 home sales reported in Maui during 2012 with a median sales price of $470,000. By comparison, there were 901 sales in 2011 with a median sales price of $432,500. That calculates to a 4% increase in sales volume and a 9% increase in median sales price.

During 2012, there were 1,248 condo sales reported on Maui with a median sales price of $358,995. By comparison, the 2011 numbers were 1,157 units sold with a median sales price of $310,000. That calculates to an 8% increase in volume and a 16% increase in median price.

There were 173 land sales reported in Maui County during 2012 with a median price of $350,000. In 2011, the numbers were 134 lots sold with a median price of $310,500. That means that the 2012 land sales increased 29% over and the median increased 13% over 2011.

While the overall market showed improvements in volume for all three types of property, market performance on Maui varied by price point. The chart below compares the sales volume of homes at various price ranges during 2012 and 2011.

A Comparison of The Sales Volumes of Homes in Different Price Ranges in Maui County During 2011 and 2012

There were a few things that I found noteworthy about the chart above. First and foremost, luxury sales activity decreased in 2012 compared to 2011. There were 41 sales over $2,000,000 in 2012. There were 61 sales over $2,000,000 in 2011. That is a 33% drop in volume. On the other end of the spectrum, it was noteworthy that the activity dropped below $300,000. The reason for the drop in activity at the low end isn’t due to a lack of buyer interest. With record low interest rates, first time home buyers were very active. Instead, we are starting to see the impact of reduced inventory. Prices began to rise at the bottom end of the market and there were fewer bank owned properties in that price range. The middle of the market saw greater variability in performance depending on price range. Some slices of the market saw more activity in 2012 while others saw less. That being said the overall trend in the middle was an increase in activity.

The chart below compares the distribution of sales for condos between 2011 and 2012.

A Comparison of The Sales Volumes of Condos in Different Price Ranges in Maui County During 2011 and 2012

While condo sales were up overall in 2012, we also saw variability in performance by price range. Some of the same trends that were evident in the home market also appeared in the condo market. As with the home market, luxury condo sales were down. There were 46 condos sold above $1,500,000 in 2012. There were 65 sold over $1,500,000 in 2011. That is approximately a 29% drop in volume. The lowest price ranges in the condo market also saw a dip in inventory and a subsequent drop in sales volume. Sales under $200,000 were off 18% below 2011 levels. As with the home market, this wasn’t due to lack of demand. We just saw a shrinking of entry level condo inventory during 2012 due in part to price increases and a big reduction in the number of bank owned listings.

The chart below compares the distribution of land sales on Maui during 2011 and 2012.

This chart compares the distribution of land sales by price range during 2011 and 2012 in Maui County, Hawaii

The land market was a little different than the home and condo market in 2012 in that we saw improvements in the vast majority of price ranges. The low end was up and much of the middle of the market was stronger. The luxury market was down slightly with 1 less sale over $1,000,000. The land market was lagging more so than condos and homes going into 2012. It had the greatest inventory and lower levels of demand going into the year. Sales outpaced 2011 levels through much of the year with an added boost in the last couple of months. The lack of interest in this market meant more motivated sellers and comparative values.

While the charts above provide us some historical data on last year’s market, they don’t tell us a whole lot about the current market. I hope the next three charts will help to tell that story. These three charts show the current inventory of properties by price point juxtaposed against the 2012 sales volumes by price point. Assuming that demand is equal to or potentially greater than what we saw last year, this will help to show parts of the market where inventory is really constrained and the other parts of the market where there is a relative abundance of property to choose from. A few things to note about these charts. Current inventory includes active listings as of January 24th. It does not include properties under contract. The active inventory includes all of Maui County including Lanai and Molokai.

This Chart Compares the Distribution of the Current Inventory of Homes for Sale in Maui County Against the Distribution of 2012 Home Sales. The left side of the chart represents units sold. The bottom of the chart represents price ranges by the thousands of dollars.

It is said that a healthy real estate market will have six months of inventory. More than six months supply is thought to be a surplus. Less than six months and you are considered to have a shortage of properties for sale. As you can see from this chart comparing current home inventory against 2012 home sales, the Maui Real Estate market is seeing very different dynamics based on price range. The low end of the market is experiencing extremely low supplies of home inventory. Based on last year’s sales rates, there is about one month of supply of homes in the $300,000-$399,000 price range. The numbers are slightly better under $300,000, but that is somewhat deceiving. The supply on the island of Maui is almost nonexistent. Most of the active homes in this range are located on the neighboring islands of Molokai and Lanai. Supplies are still constrained until you get to the $800-900,000 price range. At that point, the supply is a little more than six months of inventory. As you get higher in price, the tables turn considerably. Once you get over $1,000,000, there is over a year of inventory based on last year’s absorption rates. In the price range from $1,750,000-$2,000,000, the supply of homes exceeds two years of inventory. From that price point and higher, you have anywhere between 2 and seven years of inventory depending on price ranges.

It is clear that home buyers looking at prices below the median price point are going to find that market conditions are tight. Selection is limited and well priced properties are being snatched up extremely quickly. Those that are venturing into this part of the market will need to be prepared to act quickly when well priced properties come on the market. The recipes are in place for price increases to occur on the low end. High demand and low supply will do that. That being said, I think there are some barriers in place that will constrain prices from rising too quickly. The biggest barrier is appraisal. Appraisers are a lot more conservative then when they were in the boom market. We have already seen issues with appraisal on properties that experienced competitive bidding.

The numbers above suggest a buyer’s market for luxury homes on Maui. There should be a few caveats to that statement. Not all communities and price points in Maui have the same level of supply. For example, if you look at a place like Wailea there are three homes for sale between $1,000,000 and $1,500,000. There were eight sales in Wailea at that price point last year. That means less than six months of supply in that price range. Where there is high supply, it doesn’t necessarily mean an abundance of motivated sellers. Many of the luxury home owners have significant staying power and may well be able to ride things out until market conditions improve. While there may be some motivated sellers out there, I think the biggest advantage to being a luxury buyer in this market will be the general quality of selection. Another thing to note is that I am using last year’s absorption rate. We are starting to see some anecdotal evidence of increased activity in the luxury market this year. Luxury markets saw improvement on the mainland last year. Typically, we lag behind mainland trends by a few months. If the luxury market is in fact improving, those “years” of inventory could shrink quickly.

A Comparison of the Current Inventory of Condos for Sale on Maui Against Last Year’s Condo Sales at a Variety of Price Points. The left side of the chart represents properties sold. The bottom of the chart represents price ranges by the thousands of dollars.

Looking at the chart above, the condo market is seeing some similar dynamics to the home market. There are tight inventories on the lower price ranges and robust inventories in the luxury markets. Currently, there is less than six months of inventory below $400,000. The inventory is even tighter than it appears below $200,000. A third of the properties listed in that price range are leasehold. There are also quite a few properties from Molokai and Lanai included in that inventory. The market dynamics change quite a bit as you go higher in price. Inventory between $400,000 to $1,000,000 range from a little over six months to a little over a year of inventory. Once you get over $1,250,000 and up into the luxury market, the inventory well exceeds last year’s demand. While there are more condos to choose from in this range, it can be a little more challenging finding motivated sellers. Again, many of the high end condo owners have the deep pockets that allow them to hold out for longer on pricing.

This Chart Compares the Current Inventory of Land for Sale in Maui County vs Last Year’s land Sales by Price Point. The left side of the chart represents units sold. The bottom of the chart represents price ranges by the thousands of dollars.

The land market has been far weaker than the home and condo market since 2007. Limited demand has allowed supplies to stay high. That is reflected in the chart above. The only price range with less than six months of inventory is below $200,000. Once you get above $300,000 there is more than a year of inventory. When you get over $500,000, you have two years of inventory or more depending on specific price points. That being said, November and December of 2012 were the two best months of sales since 2007. If the market were to sustain itself at that level, inventories could start to shrink quickly. I would not be surprised if that happened as buyers have started to explore the land market with fewer options available among the inventory of homes for sale. The other thing to note is that scarcity and abundance vary by community.

In general, the charts above suggest that we will have an interesting 2013 for Maui Real Estate. The limited supply at lower price points in the market may lead to a decrease in sales volume. The tight supply also is creating a dynamic that will result in price increases. Tight supplies and high demand are leading to a lot of bidding wars at the low end. As you go up in price, the overall supply of properties should limit the potential for any price increases. That being said, supply and demand in specific geographies may allow for price increases at higher prices. While the sheer volume of inventory suggests that there may be plenty of opportunities for luxury buyers, I would argue that their biggest advantage is going to be the selection of properties to chose from rather than highly motivated sellers. If you are interested in entering the Maui Real Estate market during 2013, we would welcome the opportunity to discuss your needs. Contact The Maui Real Estate Team today to arrange a free consultation.

Pete Jalbert

Maui Real Estate Blog

Unofficial December 2012 Maui Real Estate Statistics

Holiday decorations are going back in closets, the smoke from New Year’s fireworks has cleared and new calendars have been put up for the New Year. That means we are due for another installment of our Unofficial Maui Real Estate Statistics. December proved to be a very busy month for real estate sales. October and November were the busiest months of the year for properties going under contract. We saw that reflected in the higher closes this month. Here are all of the details on this month’s stats followed by some thoughts and context for the December numbers.

Maui Real Estate Sales volumes for December 2011 and December 2012

Maui Real Estate Sales Volumes for December 2011 and December 2012

There were 82 homes reported sold in December with a median sales price of $511,750. For frame of reference, the December 2011 numbers were 79 homes sold at a median sales price of $411,000. That calculates to approximately a 4% increase in volume and a 25% increase in median values between this December and last December.

I counted 140 condos sold in December with a median sales price of $377,950. Last December, Maui Realtors reported 89 sales with a median price of $304,000. That translates to a 57% bump in sales volume and a 24% increase in median prices.

I counted 26 total land sales for December in Maui County with a median sales price of $315,000. For December 2011, there were 9 sales with a median sales price of $375,000. That is a 288% increase in sales activity and an 16% decrease in median values when comparing Decembers.

Here are a few other interesting numbers that I came across while compiling the Maui sales volumes and medians.

  • There were 20 bank owned sales last month on island. Most of those transactions were home sales. In December of 2011, there were 58 bank owned sales. That is a 66% drop in bank owned activity compared to last December.
  • There were 22 short sale transactions that were completed successfully last month. There were 21 successful short sales reported in December of 2011.
  • The highest sales price for a home was $23,000,000 for a beautiful oceanfront Estate on Keawakapu Beach in Wailea. This estate home features 5 bedrooms, six full baths, two half baths and over 6,000 square feet of living space. The home was situated on .63 acres of beachfront land. This is the second highest ever sales price for a home on Maui.
  • There were a total of four luxury homes sold over $2,000,000 last month. In December of 2011, there were six homes sold over $2,000,000.
  • There were five luxury condos sold over $1,500,000 last month. Last December, there was only one condo sold over $1,500,000.
  • The land sales volume was the highest single month total in Maui County since June 2007.
  • The condo sales volume was the second highest monthly total since March 2006

Land has been the ugly step child of the Maui Real Estate market for some time now. Sales have been tepid since 2007. While there have been a handful of months when we may have seen 20+ sales during this span, that month was usually followed by a month of ten sales or less. That changed with the last two months. After reporting 22 sales in November, there were 26 sales reported this month. With shrinking home inventories, we are seeing home buyers expand the scope of their search to include raw land. This is part of what is driving what appears to be a resurgence. It will be interesting to follow the land market over the coming months to see if this level of heightened sales activity is sustained.

The condo market also experienced sales volumes that we have seldom seen since the peak market days. The only month that performed better since 2006 was April 2010. That month of high performance deserved an asterisk as there were 40 new developer closes at Honua Kai based on pre-construction contracts that were originally drafted back in 2005. The December numbers weren’t bolstered by neither the same level of new developer sales or long term contracts. This is particularly surprising as the fall season is usually a relatively weak time for condo buying activity as there are fewer visitors. It will be interesting to see what happens in the coming months during our peak buyers season. Limited inventory and/or potential economic uncertainties are the two impediments that could keep us from sustaining high levels of buyer activity.

One other thing to note with the numbers above are the shifts in median pricing. After a few years of decreasing property values, we did start to see some modest price increases particularly at the lower and middle price ranges in the market. That being said, the 24% and 25% increases in median sales price that we saw respectively in the home and condo market are not due exclusively to increases in property values. Price increases have tended to be far more modest. The biggest driver in the shift in medians are changes in the inventory. While 2011 offered healthy inventories at the lower and middle parts of the market, the inventory contracted significantly during 2012. Fewer sales at the low end combined with more activity in the middle and higher price ranges means higher median sales prices.

With the winter buyer season officially here, what do the numbers above mean for buyers and sellers? For buyers, many segments of the Maui market are proving to be competitive. With limited inventory in many different parts of the island, the conditions are in place for multiple offers and above asking sales prices when well priced properties come on the market. Buyers who require financing to assist with their purchase should take the time and effort to be pre-approved for a mortgage prior to looking at properties. A pre-approval letter may be a requirement with some sellers and/or it could differentiate you from buyers who are only pre-qualified. While inventory is limited in many parts of the market, sellers can’t be complacent. Lots of properties are going under contract, but it appears that there are quite a few transactions that are falling through. If you have the capital, address deferred maintenance. If you can, consider having a home inspection done so that you can help identify and address potential deal breakers in advance. Prices are going up in many segments of the Maui market, but over-priced properties aren’t getting a lot of attention. Look closely at recent comparable sales when determining a go-to market price. Now more than ever, professional and responsive representation is important. Contact The Maui Real Estate Team today to discuss how we may be able to work with you to achieve your real estate goals on Maui.

Stay tuned to the Maui Real Estate Blog for more year end statistics and thoughts on the Maui real estate market. We hope to publish year end stats in the coming days. We will also be taking a look at how individual Maui communities perform in the next week. We already posted on the Spreckelsville market earlier this week. Keep your eyes peeled for year end updates on Paia, Haiku, Wailea, Kaanapali, Kapalua and more.

Pete Jalbert

Maui Real Estate Blog

Unofficial August 2012 Maui Real Estate Statistics

Fall is just around the corner in Maui. We are starting to go into the slow season for tourism on the island. Surfers are eagerly anticipating the return of winter waves. There was even an extremely early whale sighting off of Kona on the Big Island last week. The end of August also means that it is time to chime in with our monthly unofficial Maui Real Estate statistics. It has been a busy start to September for the Maui Real Estate Team with a number of new listings in the works. That means I am a little late to the presses with these stats. It also means my commentary will be abbreviated this month. Without further ado, here are the numbers that I came up with while sorting through the Maui MLS database.

A Comparison of Maui Real Estate Sales Volumes during August 2011 and August 2012

Real Estate Sales Volumes for Homes, Condos and Land in August 2011 and August 2012

There were 74 homes sold in Maui last month with a median sales price of $521,000. Last August, there were a total of 81 sales at a median price of $410,000. That is a 9% reduction in sales volume and a 27% increase in median prices.

There were 97 condos sold on Maui in August 2012 with a median sales price of $344,900. In August 2011, the numbers were 86 condos sold at a median price of $266,000. That calculates to a 13% increase in activity and a 30% increase in medians.

There were 13 land sales last month with a median price of $350,000. Last year, there were 11 sales with a median price $180,000.

Here were a few other notes from the monthly sales numbers.

  • There were fifty-five REO closes and Short sale transactions this month. Forty-one percent of all the home sales were REOs or Short sales. Twenty-six percent of all of the condo sales were REOs or short sales. While still a substantial part of the transaction volume, they are below the fifty-two percent and thirty-five percent of last August’s home and condominium transactions.
  • It is also notable that short sales constituted the majority of these sales. Last year, REO activity was higher than short sales. While this has been fluctuating over the last few months, it appears as if the banks are trying to do more to complete successful short sales. Our brokerage has experienced faster decision cycles in a few of the short sales we have been involved with lately.
  • The highest priced home sale last month was $5,999,999 for a beautiful oceanfront estate on Halama Street in Kihei. The highest sales price for a condos was $3,150,000 for a three bedroom condo at Papali Wailea.
  • Luxury activity was down compared to last year. There were only two homes sold over $2,000,000 and two condos sold over $1,500,000. Last August, there were four homes sold over $2,000,000 and four condo sales over $1,500,000.

There was nothing else too ground breaking to report from this month’s statistics. I think it is worth mentioning that one shouldn’t read too much into the sharp increase in median prices across the board. As is often the case on Maui, changes in medians are driven more by shifts in where sales activity is occurring than changes in value. There were a lot of foreclosure sales at the low end of the market in August 2011. That increased low end activity depressed median sales prices. This August, the lower foreclosure activity and overall lower inventory of entry-level priced properties means less activity at the low end, and a higher median sales price as a result.

What does this all of this mean for prospective Maui Real Estate Buyers and Sellers? Our advice remains the same. Buyers will find opportunities in this market, but for many market segments the best opportunities require vigilance and quick action. Parts of the Maui market are experiencing scarce inventory. Well priced properties in those segments are going under contract shortly after hitting the market. Buyers that require financing should be pre-approved before they start their search so they can determine their accurate budget and be able to submit a pre-approval letter with their offer. Sellers will have to adjust their strategy by motivation and market segment. Motivated sellers need to price close to comparable sales to generate market activity. While some market segments lack inventory, other segments still have an abundance of properties for sale. In those market segments, motivated sellers will need to differentiate themselves from the rest of the market. This is a challenging market for buyers and sellers of Maui Real Estate to navigate. Contact The Maui Real Estate Team to discuss how we may be assistance if you are considering buying or selling Maui property.

Pete Jalbert

Maui Real Estate Blog

Official February 2012 Maui Real Estate Statistics

Last week, the Realtors Association of Maui posted their official February Maui Real Estate Statistics. There were a few minor differences from my unofficial February stats that I posted during the beginning of the month. Typically, RAM tends to catch a few extra sales that are reported after I compile our numbers. This month the official sales numbers actually have fewer sales than what we posted. I am not sure of the source of the discrepancy as I double checked the MLS, but it doesn’t change the overall tenor of the month. The official numbers includes a little more granularity on monthly sales numbers with community level data available. The official stats also feature a commentary from Terry Tolman, RAM Executive. Terry has been keeping tabs on the total volume of inventory available. It was interesting to note that both condo and home inventory shrank again last month while land inventories rose.

The lower end of the condo and home markets are both starting to feel the impact of shrinking inventory. Low end condos in particular are seeing prices stabilize or in some cases increase modestly. There is some discussion of additional bank owned inventory coming on the market during the summer that may bolster inventories again. That remains to be seen. The land market already had an abundant inventory. The addition of more listings is not going to help pricing in this market segment. Contact The Maui Real Estate Team with questions on the local market or for assistance buying or selling Maui Real Estate.

Pete Jalbert