This weekend, I spent a little bit of time looking through our MLS database trying to get an early glimpse at the July Maui Real Estate statistics. If you are new to this blog, I typically come out with an unofficial Maui Real Estate statistics post a week or so before the Realtors Association of Maui publishes their statistics. It is also worth noting that Maui Real Estate statistics are derived from a relatively small pool of transactions. The small sample size means that there can be some danger in taking Maui statistics at face value. I will include a few comments and observations with the intent of giving some context to the statistics. Without further ado, here are my July 2009 Unofficial Maui Real Estate Stats.
There were 57 homes sold county wide in July at a median price of $532,000. This compares to the 2008 July statistics of 97 homes sold at a median of $610,000. That is a 41% difference between July 2008 and 2009 sales volume.
There were 70 condos sold at a median of $345,000. This compares to a median of 63 condos sold in July of 2008 at a median price of $575,000. That means that there was an 11% increase in sales this year over last year.
There were 12 lots sold in July at a median of $322,500. This compares to 7 parcels of land sold in July 2008 at a median of $1,025,000. This means June of 2009 saw a 70% bump when compared to last July’s sales.
Of all the properties that were sold county wide in July, 8 were short sales. Across all property classes, there were 14 REO or bank owned sales. For condos, 17% of the transactions involved short sales or bank owned properties. For homes, 16% of the sales were either short sales or bank owned properties. The percentage of short and REO transactions was a little lower than what we had seen in some recent months, but I don’t think that is as much of a trend as it is just a monthly fluctuation. It is worth mentioning that the short sale and REO closes occurred at all price points in the market. The highest priced condo sale for the month of July was a short sale transaction at Ho’olei that closed for $2,100,000. While short sales and REOs started at the low end of the market, we are consistently seeing these types of transactions in all segments of the market including the high end.
The condo market was the stand out of the July statistics. There was some good news in that this was the second best month for sales volume this year. The only better month was January which was bolstered by 30 new development sales at Honua Kai. It is noteworthy in that the July numbers were not artificially inflated by new development closes. Only two of the sales for the month were based on long term developer contracts inked well before the changes in the market. It was also encouraging to see increased activity in the vacation rental condo market. There were 34 closes at vacation rental friendly condos which was again the second highest total of the year behind January. It is notable that July was the first month that 2009 condo statistics bettered statistics for the same month in 2008. While we are seeing signs of improvement in the condo market, the statistics for the second half of 2008 set the bar pretty low. Condo sales plummeted in the second half of 2008 as vacation rental condo sales slowed to a crawl. I imagine year to year comparisons for condos will remain favorable as 2009 progresses due to weakness in the second half of 2008. The median condo price continues to swing up and down on a monthly basis. While the general trend is down, the median prices are fluctuating based on where the most activity is occurring in the market.
The home sales numbers were OK, but not quite as positive when compared to the condo market. The 57 homes sold was the third highest monthly total for the year. The 41% difference in sales volume between July of 2008 and 2009 looks bad, but it is not quite as drastic when you look a little closer at the actual sales. July of 2008’s numbers were bolstered in part by 38 new home development sales. At least 17 of those sales were based on long term developer contracts. It is also worth noting that the bar lowered a little more slowly for home sales in 2008. The 97 homes sold in July of 2008 was tied for the highest sale number of the year. We should see more favorable year to year comparisons as we progress further into 2009.
Land also posted its second highest sales number of the year. This market has picked up from its lowest levels, but still remains pretty sluggish. I imagine that will continue as financing remains challenging and there is still a lot of inventory available. The difference in year to year medians is a classic example of the challenge of small sample sizes. The 2008 numbers were bolstered by high end closes while this year’s July sales included a pretty good cross section of price ranges.
What does it all mean? It appears that we are seeing a continued gradual improvement in sales volume from the absolute doldrums of late 2008 and 2009. As evidenced by the home sales numbers this month, not every month is going to be better than the month beforehand. In fact, we may see sales volume slip a little in the fall as we enter Maui’s slowest real estate season. As for pricing, that is a tougher question. I am frequently queried as to when prices are going to hit bottom. I am not sure that anyone can forecast this with any measure of certainty due to the overall economic picture. Buyers that are trying to time the market may find that they miss opportunities along the way. As it stands, there is a pretty healthy inventory on the market and interest rates remain comparatively low. Sellers are going to have to continue to price at/or below comparable sales if they want to improve their odds of selling quickly. Sellers that have the equity may also consider offering seller financing or other favorable terms to help entice buyers. If you have questions or need assistance buying or selling property in Maui, contact the Jalbert brothers today.