February appears to have been a pretty good month for Maui real estate activity. There was a strong uptick in pending sales over the course of the month. With March upon us, we now have an opportunity to take a sneak peak at the February 2012 Maui Real Estate Statistics. These numbers are largely a reflection of activity dating back to December and January. If the closes were short sales, the date the property went under contract could have been quite a bit earlier. The numbers presented below are our unofficial statistics for sales volume and median prices for February. We can expect the local Realtor’s association to release their own numbers some time in the next week. These unofficial numbers are followed by a few observations on the market. Drum roll please! Here are the figures…
I counted 78 home sales with a median price of $513,750 for February 2012. By comparison, the February 2011 numbers were 59 sales at a median of $440,000. That is a 32% increase in volume and a 17% increase in median.
There have been 81 condo sales reported at a median price of $287,000 for February. By comparison, the February 2011 numbers were 98 sales at a median price of $371,200. There was a 17% decrease in volume and a 23% decrease in median price.
There were 12 pieces of land sold at a median price of $333,925 this February. That compares to 7 sales at a median of $282,500 in February 2011. That is a 71% increase in sales volume.
Short sales and REOs remain a significant component of the monthly transaction volume. There were 54 closes that were either bank owned or short sales last month. Of the home sales, 29 of 78 closes were REOs or shorts. That is 37% of the volume. Of the condo sales, 24 of 81 were REOs or shorts. That is just under 30% of the total sales for the month. There was one bank owned sale among the 12 land transactions.
We are continuing to see quite a bit of variability in our monthly real estate statistics. Last month, condo sales outpaced January of 2011, while homes and land sales sagged. This month we saw the opposite occur. Those that are expecting consistency in our recovery will be disappointed. It reflects the statistical variability you often see with smaller sample sizes.
Last month, we identified a potential trend to keep an eye on in the unofficial Maui real estate stats. There were comparatively fewer REO transactions and an increase in short sale transactions. We saw the same thing occur this month. For the first time I can remember, there were actually more short sale closes than REO closes among condos. I surmised that the cause might be the increasing impact from Hawaii foreclosure legislation. With foreclosures harder to process and fewer foreclosures coming on the market, we are seeing fewer REO sales. With the time and expense to foreclose increasing, banks are becoming more and more cooperative when it comes to short sales. This means more and more successful short sale closes. As a side note, this does not mean we are at the end of the foreclosure activity on island. There are still large number of properties on island where sellers are underwater and need to sell or are delinquent with mortgage payments. It appears that some of these properties will be handled via the short sale process, some may see loan modifications and others may still be foreclosed upon albeit on a much longer time scale.
The luxury real estate market statistics were interesting. There were five luxury home sales over $2,000,000 compared to only 2 last February. The condo market was the exact other end of the spectrum with no sales in February over $2,000,000. In fact the highest condo sale was $1,323,000. Last February, there were six sales over $2,000,000. I imagine this may be more of an anomaly then a trend, but it will be interesting to monitor overall luxury sales activity.
Overall, the Maui Real Estate market conditions are schizophrenic. It is getting harder to brush in broad strokes when giving advice to buyers and sellers. The low end of the market is seeing vigorous sales activity. There are entry level condos that are seeing prices stabilize or even increase. I would be hard pressed to call this segment of the market a seller’s market as prices are still significantly off the peak. A majority of homeowners in many of these complexes are underwater. The message to buyers in this segment is that they need to be prepared when they are ready to buy. Buyers should be pre-approved in advance. They should also be prepared to make strong offers out of the gate. Well priced properties are selling for or in some cases above list price. As you go up the price chain, competition begins to thin with smaller buyer pools. That being said, higher priced segments of the market with tight inventory or fewer quality properties to choose from may also see competitive bidding. Sellers in most price segments still need to look closely at recent comparable sales when trying to determine how to price their property. Overpriced properties just aren’t getting nearly as many showings in this market. Market conditions make good representation more important now than ever. Contact The Maui Real Estate Team today if you are need assistance buying or selling Maui Real Estate.