I took some time yesterday to sort through last month’s raw sales data from the multiple listing service so I could get a sense of last months statistics. This is part of an ongoing feature on the blog that I call my unofficial Maui Real Estate Statistics. They are unofficial because I release them before the local Realtors association releases their own figures. I am trying a couple of new things for this months statistics. First, I am going to provide some charts and graphs to accompany the text. Hopefully, that will make the stats a little easier to digest. I am also going to start making year to year comparisons on monthly foreclosure and short sale transactions. I do this with the caveat that these numbers are likely to fluctuate. I wouldn’t read too much into monthly swings until we start to see a more defined pattern over a longer period of time. All that being said, here are my calculations for this month’s numbers.
There have been 72 home sales reported for the month of December thus far at a median price of $465,706. This compares to December of 2009 numbers of 90 homes sold at a median of $477,000. This translates to a 20% drop in sales volume.
For December, I counted 93 condos sold at a median of $352,000. This compares to December of 2009s totals of 81 condos sold at a median sales price of $399,000. This represents a 15% increase in sales volume when comparing the two Decembers.
Maui land sales figures came in at 14 closes at a median price of $394,850. This compares to the December 2009 totals of 11 sales at a median price of $420,000. This is a 27% increase in sales volume year to year.
December 2009 and December 2010 sales volume for Maui County
Comparison of sales volume between December 2009 and December 2010
Bank owned or REO properties and short sales remain a significant portion of Maui’s inventory and monthly sales. There were a total of 30 REO closes and 25 completed short sales last month. This compares to 45 bank owned closes and 15 short sales in December of 2009. Of all the home sales, almost 39% were shorts or REOs. For condos, almost 27% of the sales were REOs or shorts. There were two bank owned land sales.
Comparison of REO and Short Sale transaction volumes in December of 2009 and December of 2010
When looking at the numbers above, I think context is key. This was a pretty good month for sales on Maui with some of the better sales volume we have seen since late spring/early summer. It doesn’t appear to be quite as good when making the year to year comparison. Home sales were down 20 percent. The main reason for the difference is that December of last year was a very busy month by recent standards. The driver for that activity was the original expiration of the first time home buyer tax credit. There was a flurry of closes as buyers tried to meet the original deadlines for the credit. This may also have been a factor in the high number of foreclosure sales that month. Much of the foreclosure inventory was priced at levels that were accessible to first time buyers.
Even with last year’s first time home buyer bump, the condo market outperformed December of 2009. The Honua Kai effect was the same for both Decembers with each month’s sales totals including 6 long-term contract new developer closes. As we enter into 2011, it will be interesting to see if the Honua Kai effect continues. We should be nearing the end of long term new developer closes at Honua Kai and there are no other big condo developments on the horizon.
Land sales were up, but still remain low overall. This is going to remain a slow market segment unless we start to see a big increase in really compelling opportunities. Financing for land remains tough. Existing home costs are also comparatively low which may make building from scratch less appealing. That being said, those who are looking to buy land and build will find better selection and more competitive pricing among home builders.
Looking forward, we are now officially in our traditional buyer’s season. There are some positive signs that suggest we may have a pretty busy winter for real estate transactions. Visitor numbers are looking strong and Canadian buyers are continuing to see favorable exchange rates. Sellers should still be mindful that this is a buyer’s market. Sellers that are having the best success are continuing to price at or below recent comparable sales. Maui also still has a decent sized pipeline of foreclosures that have the potential to exert downward pressure on prices. Buyers who are patient are going to find some good opportunities in this market. That being said, buyers should not be complacent. Some of the better opportunities have been attracting multiple offers. Well priced properties can sell at or above list price. It pays to have a pre-approval letter if you require financing. As I mentioned last month, loans are available but the process can be onerous. Cash buyers have an advantage in this market place. Stay tuned to the Maui Real Estate blog for more statistics posts in the next couple of weeks. We will have posts with our official December statistics, general 2010 year end statistics as well a few community level and segment specific year end reviews. In the interim, feel free to contact the Maui Real Estate Team with questions or for assistance buying or selling Maui properties.