Unofficial January 2009 Maui Real Estate Statistics

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I spent sometime last night looking through the MLS to try to get a sense of what the Maui Real Estate statistics are for January 2009. I will post what I came up with last night below as well as short commentary on the numbers. I do want to change up how I present those stats a little. I am going to continue to present the volume of sales for land, homes and condos. I am also going to start documenting how many of those sales are short sales or bank owned properties. I will continue to present median sales price for each of the three property types. I will do that providing my usual caveat that medians on Maui are a little screwy due to our small market size. I will no longer be reporting the average days on market. Frankly, this stat is becoming pretty useless. Properties are pulled on and off the market causing days on market to refresh. Some new developments will report zero days on market while others may include construction time. I just find this is a poor indicator of much of anything when it comes to the state of the market. All of that being said. Here are the numbers that I came up with from last night’s review of the MLS. These are preliminary numbers. We may see a few more sales trickle in by the time official stats are reported for the month.

There were 29 homes sold in Maui County during January of 2009. Of those 29 sales, there were 9 bank owned or short sale properties. The median sales price for the 29 homes was $558,000. This compares to 57 homes sold at a median price of $563,225 during January of 2008.

There were 48 condos sold in January of 2009. Of those 48 sales, 11 were short sales or bank owned properties. The median sales price for January condo sales was $558,000. That compares to 2009 where there were 89 sales at a median of price of $610,000.

There were 3 lots sold in Maui County during January of 2009. One of those lots was a short sale. The median price for the lots was $70,000. This compares to 7 lots sold at an average 0f $600,000 in January of 2008.

The first month of 2009 proved to be an interesting one for Maui Real Estate statistics. The numbers point to continued adjustments in the market. That being said, some of the adjustments aren’t as drastic as what might be suggested by the statistics. The first number that comes to mind is the median land price. Land is not suddenly dirt cheap on Maui. We had three closes and two were pretty unique. The one lot was a Molokai close. The five figure sales price was in line with recent comparable sales for small residential lots on this island. Another close was a Department of Hawaii Homeland Leasehold property. These lots are reserved for people of 50% or more Hawaiian heritage. This is also in line with recent comps. While prices are not dropping as precipitously as suggested by the stats, we are still seeing a very slow volume of sales. Sellers are going to need to drop their prices to get their hooks where the fish are swimming.

Home sales checked in with some of the slowest volume we have seen since Asian Financial Crisis in the 1990s. The economy, tougher lending standards and fewer island visitors are taking their toll. As I mentioned in last month’s unofficial statistics, the completion of the Waikapu Garden subdivision is also make the sales volume numbers look a little lower. That development was contributing 10-20 closes a month for about 18 months. While Waikapu Gardens raised sales volume, it also helped lower median prices. That may explain why the difference in median prices from year to year is relatively small.

On the subject of median prices, condo medians look particularly low year to year. Some of that can be contributed to price adjustments. We are also continuing to see a greater percentage of total sales happening in the lower end of the market. This pulls down the median numbers even further. The greatest price adjustments have come at the low end of our market where short sales and foreclosures are most prevalent. There were actually five sales under $100,000 in January. Two were at Hale Ono Loa and the rest were in Harbor Lights.

It will be interesting to see if our volume of sales for condos increases with the official statistics. We just started to see some closes at the Honua Kai development over in West Maui. From what I understand, there may be more Honua Kai closes than what has been reported through the MLS. We are still seeing a smattering of other new development closes at Ho’olei and Ke Ali’i Ocean Villas.

I first made note of bank owned and short sale properties in the comments about last month’s statistics. We saw a bump in the number of bank owned sales and short sale closes this month. Some of that is stemming from an increase in short sale and foreclosure listings. Some of it has to do with the fact that we are seeing more short sale transactions processed successfully.

Is there a lesson for buyers and sellers from this month’s stats? I would continue my advice from the previous months. There are opportunities for buyers as there is healthy inventory and quite a few motivated sellers. Low mortgage rates are also a nice draw for buyers. Sellers need to continue to sharpen their pencil. If you want to sell quickly, you will improve your odds by pricing below recent comps. Those that don’t need to sell and are fishing for high sales prices may be better served by taking their property off the market. Contact us today if you have any questions on the market or if you need assistance with with buying or selling Maui Real Estate.

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