Unofficial August 2011 Maui Real Estate Statistics

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The Maui Real Estate Team hopes everyone had a great Labor Day Weekend. In between weekend fun, I took some time to sort through our Realtor’s Association database to look at last month’s sales activity. The numbers below are the “unofficial” Maui Real Estate statistics for August. They provide something of a sneak peak of what you will see in the official stats that will likely be released by the Realtors Association of Maui sometime later this week. As always, I always give some context for the numbers and a few thoughts on what they mean for the Maui market.

Thus far, there have been 81 sales reported for August 2011 at a median price of $410,000. By comparison, there were 69 sales in August of 2010 at a median price of $460,000. That represents a 17% increase in sales volume and an 11% decrease in median price when comparing this August and last August.

I counted 86 condo sales in August 2011 at a median of $266,000. The August of 2010 numbers totaled 81 sales at a median price of $310,000. That translates to a 6% increase in sales volume and a 14% decrease in median price when comparing this August to last August.

There have been 11 land sales reported in August at a median price of $180,000. This compares to 7 sales at a median of $387,500 during August of 2010. That translates to a 57% increase in volume and a 54% decrease in median price.

Short sales and Bank Owned Properties (REO) continue to be significant market drivers for Maui Real Estate. There were 55 REO sales and 19 short sales that closed last month. Of the 81 home sales, 42 were REOs or short sales. That is approximatley 52% of the home transactions. Of the 86 condo closes, 30 were REO or short sales. That equates to roughly 35% of the total condo sales. Two of the eleven land sales were REOs.

Looking at the numbers above, it was kind of a ho hum month with nothing too out of the ordinary among the sales figures. I was struggling with writer’s block earlier, but I was able to muster a few thoughts on the stats and some additional nuggets that I came up with while mining the data.

Overall, I see the continuation of some of the general trends we have seen throughout the year. Home sales outpaced the 2010 volumes, but not by huge margins. Medians continue to come in lower that the 2010 monthly medians. The dip in medians is accounted for by adjustments in value and a high volume of low priced closes driven largely by bank owned sales. August was a pretty big month for bank owned home sales with a total of 30 closes.

Condo volume for August of 2011 outpaced the volume for August of 2010 by a relatively small margin. That difference would have been a little larger were it not for for a bump in sales totals in August 2010 due to long term new development closes. As much as I hoped to never type the words “Honua Kai Effect” again, we saw it in play this month albeit on a much smaller scale. There were only two long term new developer contract closes in August 2011 versus ten in August 2010. Speaking of new developer closes, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the impact of current new developer offerings. There were 17 additional new developer closes for condos this month. These were all based on recent contracts. New condo developments are offering good incentives and compelling prices to stay competitive in a buyer’s market.

Land sales volume has been down this year overall, but August 2011 outperformed August 2010. The median sales price for land was down pretty substantially when comparing August 2011 to August 2010. The monthly median of $180,000 was the one sales number that raised my eyebrows a little. At face value, this month’s median is a head scratcher considering that there is limited inventory available for under $200,000 on Maui. The nice thing with the small sample size for land is that it is easy to determine what is driving medians. I looked through the eleven sales and found an interesting cross section of closes. Among the sales were two lower priced parcels on Molokai, a one acre parcel with title and access issues in Wailuku and a small parcel in Wailuku that was formerly home to a large radio antenna. These one off purchases and a low number of high end sales helped to drive down the median. While we are seeing values slip in the land market, changes in medians do not mirror actual decreases in value.

I thought it was worth touching on the luxury market numbers I saw while combing through the stats. We have seen some pretty strong ultra luxury activity over the last couple of months. This August we saw three home sales over $6,000,000 including a new North Shore record of $9,600,000 for an oceanfront estate in Spreckelsville. That means we have now seen new record high sales for the island, the North Shore, Kapalua and Wailea/Makena this year. The three sales over $6,000,000 in August of 2011 compares to one sale over that price in August of 2010. On the land front, there was a big sale Upcountry with 236 acres closing for $6,250,000. This was the former Kula ‘I’o development that never quite got off the ground. High end condo sales were actually down a little this August compared to last year with five sales over $1,500,000 compared to six in 2010.

I thought it was worth noting that there were two luxury condo sales that really caught my eye. Both were under that $1,500,000 barrier that I used as a dividing line for luxury condo closes. A Na Hale O Makena unit closed for $925,000. That was the lowest priced close in the complex since 2003. There was also a Kapalua Ironwoods that closed for $1,100,000. You have to go back ten years to see prices in Ironwoods at that price level. These sales make for an interesting contrast with some of the record highs that we have seen in the luxury market. It is hard to draw too many conclusions from these two closes other than the fact that it is a pretty schizophrenic real estate market. You could also argue that ultra luxury record closes are not indicative of the performance of the overall Maui luxury market.

What does all of the above mean in the scheme of the greater Maui Real Estate market? What is the outlook for buyers and sellers? Overall, the data still seems to indicate that this is a buyer’s market. That being said, some buyers may find the inventory limited in some market segments. There can also be considerable competition for the best values that come on the market. Sales above asking price are common among the best bank owned deals. Buyers who require assistance with financing should contact a mortgage professional to get pre-qualified before beginning their search. There are some really good interest rates available, but strong credit and employment are necessary to take advantage of the better financing options. Buyers should also be aware that banks are closely scrutinizing the condition of the properties being purchased. Homes in poor condition may not be able to be financed or they may require some sort of renovation loan. Sellers need to closely evaluate their particular market segment when developing a pricing strategy. Some market segments still have excess inventory. Other segments may still be seeing significant competition from bank owned properties and short sales. In the condo market, new development offerings can also be stout competition for conventional sellers. In these market conditions, it pays to work with a knowledgeable, full-time Realtor. Contact the Maui Real Estate Team with questions or for assistance buying or selling Maui Real Estate.

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