Unofficial August 2009 Maui Real Estate Statistics

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I have been peeking at the MLS database on and off the last few days trying to compile the unofficial August Maui Real Estate Statistics. This is my tally of sales reported on the MLS to date for the month of August 2009. I like to put these numbers together as something of sneak preview for the official Realtors Association of Maui stats which should be posted sometime in the next week. Without further ado, here are the numbers that I found.

I counted 51 homes sold countywide for August at a median price of $500,000. This compares to 66 homes sold during August of 2008 sold at a median price of $645,000. This represents a 23% decrease in volume in sales volume year to year.

As of today, there have been 62 condo sales reported for August of 2009 at a median price of $345,000. This compares to 51 sales in August of 2009 at a median of $575,000. This is a 22% increase in sales volume over the same month last year.

Land sales appear to have been pretty quiet in August with only 3 reported at a median price of $999,990. In comparison, we saw 7 sales in August of 2008 at a median price of $422,505. This is a 57% drop in sales volume year to year.

We saw a bit of an uptick in short sale and foreclosure sales this month. There were 11 short sales, 16 foreclosure sales and one probate sale in August of 2009. Twenty-five percent (25%) of the home sales were either short sales or foreclosures. Of the 61 condo closes, 24% were short sales or foreclosures. This was a pretty healthy uptick from last month when the number of home and condo transactions were 16% and 17% short sales or foreclosure. It will be interesting to see if this is a trend or month to month variability. The number of shorts and foreclosures does not seem to be diminishing at this point so I would not be surprised if this proves to be a trend.

As with the July stats, condo sales appeared to be the healthiest when comparing year to year sales. They were particularly strong when you consider that there were only 3 long term new development sales in August of 2009. That compares to 14 long term contract new development sales in August of 2008. The 2008 numbers were starting to really diminish as we started to feel the more pronounced effects of the recession. The 2009 numbers are increasing in part due to an improvement in activity in the vacation rental condo market. We had 28 vacation rental condo sales last month. This is a healthy improvement of late 2008 and early 2009 monthly activity. The difference in median condo sale prices year to year are pretty striking. While decreasing values accounts for some of that discrepancy, part of the difference can be explained by a shift in activity. Those 14 new development closes in 2008 where all high end luxury condos priced over $2,000,000. That helped boost last year’s median.

While the home sales don’t appear to be as strong, the numbers get stronger with a little digging. Last year’s August numbers were bolstered by 17 long term new development sales. It does not appear as if any of the five sales in new developments this August were based on long term contracts. As with the condo numbers, the decrease in median can be attributed in part to decreases in value and in part due to a shift in where sales activity is occurring. There were 19 sales over $1,000,000 in August of 2008 compared to 6 in August of 2009.

Land sales volume was down pretty sharply for August of 2009. Some of this could be month to month variation due to such a small sample size. That being said, I think we are going to continue to see relatively low sales numbers for land. I have seen an increase in interest in land as better land opportunities come on the market, but financing is a barrier for many buyers. A limited number of banks are doing land loans. Only a few credit unions are doing land loans for property without existing water infrastructure. This means less competition and more opportunity for cash buyers.

What does it all mean? While I am wary of sounding redundant month to month, sellers need to be realistic in this market. While sales volume appears to have picked up from the absolute doldrums that we saw earlier this year and late last year, it is still very much a buyer’s market. Seller’s who are pricing at or below recent comparable sales are having the best success selling their property in a timely manner. Those who price too high find themselves chasing the market as it continues to adjust. Buyers can find opportunities all over the market as there are properties well below peak market prices. Interest rates continue to remain close to historical lows. First time home buyers should be looking aggressively at this point if they intend to take advantage of the first time home buyer tax credit. Realistically, a buyer needs to have a property under contract by no later than October 1 to ensure that they close before the December 1 expiration date. Contact us today if you need assistance buying or selling in this challenging market.

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