Maui home sales drop, but prices stay flat
There have been 27% fewer homes sold in 2006 than 2005
More than half the homes sold in Maui in October changed hands for more than $647,500, the island's lowest single-family home price of the year, according to statistics released yesterday by the Realtors Association of Maui.
However, while other neighbor islands saw median prices drop in October from last year, Maui's prices showed more strength. Maui's median sales price for a house was flat year-over year, and the median price paid for a condominium rose 12.9 percent.
The number of Maui homes sold dropped to 84 from 96 in October 2005. Year to date, Maui has had a 27 percent drop in the number of single-family homes sold.
While the median sales price for a condominium rose to $485,000, the number of sales dropped 45 percent, with only 81 trading hands in October versus 148 during the same month last year.
Like many other real estate markets, Maui is experiencing a slight downturn as some buyers sit on the fence to see which direction the market will go, said Calvin Mobbs, president of the Realtors Association of Maui.
"Many remember the downturn of the 1990s, and they'll stay on the fence until the world finds out that the sky isn't falling," Mobbs said. "I think the market will stay slow through 2006, but that it's going to pick up in 2007."
A few more months of tracking are needed to get a better view of where the market is headed, said Terry Tolman, chief staff executive for the Realtors Association of Maui.
"Maui's marketplace is so small that high or low sales have a greater effect on the statistical numbers without necessarily indicating a big market swing one way or another," Tolman said.
What is known is that Maui is now a buyer's market, Mobbs said.
"Sellers are much more negotiable on price," Mobbs said, noting that it is still hard to get first-time buyers into the market. Homeowners who are seeking to trade up their properties have benefited the most from current market conditions, he said.
"If you can sell your home, it's the ideal time to trade up," Mobbs said. "Interest rates are good, equity is strong and there is plenty of time to look at all the new inventory."