Unofficial May 2010 Maui Real Estate Statistics

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I took a few moments over the last couple of days to look through the sales figures in the MLS so I could get a sense of the May Maui Real Estate Statistics. If you are new to the blog, every month I try to publish my “unofficial” statistics which serve as a sneak preview of the official stats released by the Realtors Association of Maui. I follow my stats with a few remarks that help to qualify the numbers and provide analysis. Without further ado, here are my May 2010 Maui Real Estate Statistics.

There were 81 homes sold at a median price of $442,000. This compares to 60 sold in May of 2009 at a median price of $482,500. This translates to a 35% increase in volume comparing the two Mays.

By my tally, there were 104 condos sold on island in May at a median price of $457,000. This compares to 52 sold in May of 2009 at a median of $455,000. This is a 100% increase in sales volume when comparing May of 2010 to 2009.

There have been 16 vacant land sales reported thus far for May at a median price of $560,000. In comparison, May 2009 had 8 sales reported at a median of $665,000. This is also a 100% increase in volume when comparing the two months.

Maui Continues to see a steady supply of bank owned or REO properties. These listings are often priced below comps drawing in buyers. For the month of May there were 28 REO sales and 24 short sales. For the month, 38% of the home sales were REOs or short sales. Of all of the condo sales, 23% were shorts or REOs. There were also 2 bank owned land listings that closed. The REO sales were down a little and the Short sales were up a little compared to last month. Industry reports are indicating an improvement in the short sale approval process. I am not sure we have seen that definitively on Maui as of yet. I would hope the banks do start to improve their processing of these transactions as there are a significant number of short sales under contract awaiting approval.

While the sales numbers don’t appear to be quite as good as last month’s statistics, May was a pretty healthy month for sales. Land sales were up over last month by a slight margin. The total was one of the better sales months we have seen since 2007. Home sales were down slightly from last month. Condo sales were down by a solid margin compared to April 2010. However, at least part of that difference can be attributed to a less pronounced Honua Kai Effect. There were 20 less new developer closings at Honua Kai this month vs. last month.

The saying quality not quantity may also be applicable for this month’s sales figures. There was a big surge in luxury condo sales last month. There were 17 total condo closes over $1,500,000. That included the highest ever purchase price for a Maui condo at $12,500,000 and the third highest purchase price at $9,999,999. Both condos were large oceanfront units in Wailea. The luxury home market also saw some healthy activity with 7 home sales over $1,500,000 including the third highest residential sale in Maui County history at $17,500,000.

Historically, I have spent very little time discussing median sales prices in my unofficial Maui real estate stats analysis. Due to small sample size, we can see a lot of month to month variability. Distribution of sales may also have an impact on medians. I suspect we may see this with this month’s numbers and in the future if current market dynamics continue. Through much of late 2008 and 2009, market activity was highest at the low end of the market. Price adjustments were greatest and buyers were seeking value. Over that same span, the luxury market saw very limited activity. This combined with price decreases to lower median sales figures. As a higher percentage of sales begins to occur in the luxury market, we will likely see medians creep up despite continued downward price adjustments.

What does this all mean? My conclusions for this month mirror what I have stated for a number of recent months. We continue to see some signs of an improving Maui market. We are seeing sales activity in all segments and a solid improvement over the doldrums of late 2008 and much of 2009. Prices continue to adjust driven in large part by the lower prices coming out of the bank owned segment. Other sellers have had to sharpen their pencils to be competitive. The ultra luxury market may present a few exceptions as buyers are willing to pay an absolute premium for some of the premier properties on the island. Other segments of the luxury market are adjusting prices so that they may stand out within what is still a pretty big inventory. Buyers are going to find opportunities in this market. They will also find historically low interest rates due to a flight to the relative safety of the U.S. bond market. Contact the Maui Real Estate Team with questions, for straight forward feedback on market conditions and for assistance buying or selling Maui Real Estate.

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