I spent some time yesterday looking through the MLS to try to get a sense of the sales activity for Maui properties in March. We have seen more real estate activity on island this winter, but this is the first month where the increased activity is showing a little more clearly in the statistics. I will be providing my unofficial March Maui Real Estate Statistics below followed by a commentary on the stats. If you are first time reader of my unofficial statistics, it is worth noting that the numbers aren’t always straight forward. Our market is small enough that median prices and sales volume can be skewed by new development closes. With that caveat on your mind, here are my unofficial March Stats.
There were 69 homes sold last month at a median price of $460,000. This compares to 56 homes sold in March of 2009 at a median of $504,500. This represents a 23% increase in sales volume year to year.
There were 121 condos sold at a median price of $517,000 in March of 2010. The March 2009 numbers were 67 condos sold at a median of $468,000. This translates to an 81% increase in condo sales year to year.
Land sales in Maui County tallied 12 for the month at a median price of $600,000. March 2009 numbers came in at 14 sales. This constitutes a 14% decrease in sales for this year when compared to last year.
I am continuing to monitor Bank owned (REO) and short sale transactions. We saw a total of 36 REO sales and 12 short sales for the month of March. Of all of the home sales, roughly 32% were shorts or REO sales. Of all of the condo transactions, 21% were REO or short sales. There was one 1 land sale that was an REO in March. These numbers are fairly well in line with recent trends.
One thing that I thought would be interesting to look at would be the percentage of inventory that is REO vs. the percentage of sales that are REO. Currently 6% of the home inventory both active and pending is REO. Currently 3.4% of the condo inventory that is active and pending is an REO. In the paragraph above, I lumped REO and short sale numbers together. If I look at just REOs, almost 25% of the home transactions were REOs and almost 15% of the condo transactions were REOs. What this tells me, is that while REOs remain a relatively limited volume of the inventory, they constitute a disproportionate volume of the transactions. Buyers are looking for values on the market and they are finding them in the REO inventory.
There are a few other things worth noting on the March Maui Real Estate Statistics. The condo sales certainly stand out with the highest monthly sales number since 2006. That being said it is worth noting that once again we are seeing the Honua Kai effect in action. Of the 121 closes, 38 were long term new development contracts at the Honua Kai Konea tower. While it says something in this market that the buyers closed on their transactions, these contracts were originally written in the 2005-2006 time frame. The Honua Kai effect also inflated the median for the month. The median sales price for the 38 Honua Kai sales was $1,168,125.
The home sales numbers were a little more clear cut. Not only are they a bump up over last year, they are also a bump over what we saw the first couple of months of this year. Land sales actually slipped vs. last year. That being said, it is not a big surprise to see fluctuation in sales numbers with these small sample sizes. Land financing remains tough. The one interesting side note for land is that 4 of the 12 transactions were on Molokai. That is pretty unusual. The underlying theme with those numbers was that they all represented good values verses recent sales.
What does it all mean? While we are seeing more activity, it remains a buyers market. I think the proportion of REO sales is a good indicator of the average buyer’s strong desire for value in the market. There are some good opportunities in this market both within the distressed inventory and among conventional sales. There have been significant reductions off the peak. Sellers need to continue to keep their pencils sharp to remain competitive. Contact the Maui Real Estate Team with questions or for assistance in buying or selling Maui property.