Gary's Blog

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Real Estate Sales Perk Up

Wow! What a great time to be a real estate buyer on Maui!

Maui residential real estate sales were better in May than in April, although still not much more than half as much as in May 2008. The Multiple Listing Service report of the Realtors Association of Maui on Monday showed sales of 56 single-family houses and 47 condominiums closed in May. In May 2008, there were 97 houses and 84 condos closed.

However, the number of sales improved from the 48 houses and only 29 condos in April. Prices were little changed from April, but cumulative numbers for the first five months averaged 19 percent lower (for houses) and 31 percent lower (for condos) than the year before.

Average house prices are up slightly in Kihei ($695,393) and Central Maui ($513,990) so far this year; but they are down sharply in most of the rest of Maui.

The market is taking it off the top. In Lahaina, for example, the average house price has dropped by a third to $958,850. But the median price (at which half of sales were for more, half for less) is almost steady at $830,500.

This average is based on only a few transactions - a dozen in Lahaina - but the inference is supported in other west-side communities.

In Kaanapali, the average price has fallen by $800,000 to $1.4 million and in Kapalua by $2.9 million to $2.1 million.

Since there are so few sales, a few can swing the averages a lot; but the pricier the neighborhood, the greater the percentage drop: Maui Meadows is down 61 percent to $675,000; Wailea-Makena is down 21 percent to $2.7 million; and Kula-Ulupalakua-Kanaio is down 58 percent to $636,667.

Maui Meadows was noticeable as the slowest sales area: There were seven transactions in five months there last year, only one so far this year.

For condos, with the exception of Kaanapali, sales and prices are down everywhere. Although the overall fall in prices was bigger than for single-family homes, the pain was spread more evenly across communities.

Kaanapali stood out with more sales (39 compared with 26 last year) at higher prices ($1.3 million compared with $1.2 million).

One-third of all condo sales occur in Kihei, but the market there shrank from 178 closings last year to 80 this year. Prices dropped 22 percent to $411,728.

The total value of transactions for residential real estate shrank from $806 million to $316 million for the first five months of each year.

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