I just finished looking through our MLS to come up with some unofficial sales data for Maui County in the Month of December. These are the unofficial real estate statistics based on December sales that have been recorded in the MLS to date. With this being the holiday season, I would not be surprised if there aren a few more sales that end up being reported in the next couple of days. The local board of Realtors should come out with their official stats sometime by the end of next week. I will of course post those on The Maui Real Estate Blog.
By my count, there were 52 homes sold in Maui County during the month of December at a median sales price of $567,500 and an average of 196 days on market. That compares to December 2007 numbers of 87 closes at a median of $582,002 and an average of 176 days on market.
The condo market had 35 transactions at a median price of $499,000 and an average of 187 days on market. This compares to 72 condo sales at a median sales price of $626,000 and an average of 200 days on market.
The land sales for December of 2008 are a bit of a shocker with zero sales recorded. In December of 2007 there were 14 parcels of land closed at a median of $650,000 and an average of 181 days on market.
Let’s get the most sensational number out of the way first. It appears as if there were zero land sales in the county all of last month. This is the continuation of what has been a rather chilly land market over the last year. It is pretty clear that we are at rock bottom for volume of land transactions. While the market was slow to adjust in pricing, we are starting to see some more substantial price reductions in the land market. Construction costs have also been falling steadily as materials and labor costs are decreasing. I would imagine that may spur a few more land purchases in the near future.
The home sales numbers reached a low point for the year and are likely some of the lower numbers we have seen since the 90s. Of course, these numbers are being driven largely by overall economic conditions. That being said, some of the decrease can be attributed to the completion of some new development construction. Home sales are starting to tail off at Waikapu Gardens in the Wailuku area with only six closes in the development. This affordable housing development is just about complete after contributing a solid 10-20 closes a month for over a year. Fewer affordable housing closes also may be a driver for the increase in median home prices vs what we had seen over the last couple of months.
One other thing worth noting on the home sales front is that we saw 5 bank owned or short sale closes on the MLS in December. I have started to keep an eye on this number and it is a slight bump over what we have seen in previous months. I imagine short sale and bank owned closes will continue to go up for a number of reasons. First and foremost, we are seeing more of these types of listings on the MLS. Second, some of the short sale properties that have been under contract for a considerable period of time are starting to be processed by the banks. Finally, the local title and escrow companies are becoming more efficient at processing these transactions. They have learned what the banks need and are making sure that buyer and seller are providing necessary documentation efficiently.
Last but not least, condo sales continue to be slow. The December sales numbers bettered the November sales numbers, but most of that can be attributed to a slight rise in new development closes. There were 11 new development closes spread between Ho’olei, Kai Malu and Ke Ali’i Ocean Villas. It will be interesting to see what happens with condo sales numbers over the next couple of months as island visitor numbers have increased with the start of peak tourist season. Buyers coming to the island should find some interesting opportunities as we are seeing some 2004 prices and increasingly motivated sellers. Sellers will need to continue to evaluate pricing strategies as they try to entice a smaller pool of potential buyers.
As mentioned earlier, I should have some more real estate statistics posts in the next week. In addition to the official December Maui real estate statistics, I hope to take a look at the overall 2008 statistics and the luxury real estate market. Contact us with questions or for assistance with buying or selling.