There were 60 home sales on the month at a median sales price of $435,000. This compares to 74 home sales in October of 2009 at a median price of $488,500. This represents a 19% decrease in sales when comparing October to last year.
There were 71 condo sales at a median price of $320,000. This compares to 61 condos sold at a median of $400,842. This translates to a 16% increase in sales when comparing the two Octobers.
Land sales were static with only 5 sales at a median price of $210,000. This compares to 8 sales at a median of $382,450 last year at this time. This is an over 37% drop on volume albeit based on a very small sample size.
Short sales and bank owned listings have played an important part in the Maui real estate market for the last 18-24 months. I have been tallying the REOs and Shorts that close each month. In October, there were 31 REO transactions and an additional 22 short sales. Bank owned transactions and short sales constituted 43% of all home sales. They accounted for 38% of the condo transactions. There were no bank owned or short sale closes among the five land sales. These numbers are in line with what we have seen over the last few months.
An important factor that is apparent this month is the decrease in home sales. Throughout most of this year, there was an improvement in volume over the same month last year. In some cases, the increase was significant. Some possible factors behind this are: the second half of 2009 was not as dire as the first half. Sales volumes were at their lowest during the first six months of 2009 and gradually started to climb throughout the second half of the year. The first time home buyers tax credit is another factor. Part of the increase in the last quarter of 2009 can be traced to buyers entering the market to take advantage of tax credits. Conversely, October of 2010 may still be seeing something of the effects from the expiration of the tax credits. The tax credits accelerated buyer’s demand leaving a smaller pool of buyers after expiration. These trends may continue for the next couple of months.
Condo numbers beat last October, but are not particularly strong when compared to the rest of 2010. October was the slowest month of the year for condo sales. That being said, it was also a month that saw the least benefit from long term new developer closes. While The Honua Kai effect helped pump up sales during the first half of the year, there was only one long term close at Honua Kai in October.
Land sales remained depressed in October. This was the lowest sales volume for land of any month during the year to date. The land sales market will continue to remain slow with abundant opportunities in the housing market and limited financing options for land purchases.
So, for buyers and sellers, my advice remains unchanged. Sellers continue to be in a position where they need to price aggressively. If sellers have the financial means, they should perform surveys and home inspections in advance to avoid surprises once under contract. Buyers are going to continue to find opportunities. Buyers who require financing should make sure they are pre-approved by a lender prior to submitting offers. International buyers should be pre-approved by local, Hawaii lenders.