Is Maui's real estate market crashing or cruising?
As most people who are even tangentially following real estate prices know, the value of your investment(s) literally started to skyrocket in late 2020. In 2021 real estate prices continued to climb, and now 3 months into 2022, people are wondering what is happening, and what can we expect to happen?
For months clients and some folks outside the real estate industry have questioned just how long prices can increase and even raised the specter of the ever dreaded "bubble'. They cite fears like increasing interest rates and potential foreclosures.
The law of supply and demand is alive and well on Maui, and across the US for that matter, but let's focus on Maui. We have less than 2 months' worth of single-family home inventory and less than one month of condo inventory. That means that it is still a strong seller's market. We are currently seeing multiple offers on our listings and are competing against multiple offers with our buyers, with no slowdown in sight.
Interest rates are up. According to Freddie Mac, the conventional fixed rate for March was 4.17%. The rate for the same month in 2019 was 4.27%. The rate did drop in 2020 and 2021, but we are still at historically low rates. Just for some perspective, the average rate back in 2006 and 6.41%. Additionally, about 40% of the sales on Maui are cash sales and don't have a direct effect on what the buyer can afford.
Why are we not going to have a bubble? The bubble that was created leading up to the Great Recession had 2 factors that we don't have today: over-supple and easy credit. Getting back to supply and demand, it was a buyers' market from 2007, when supply was 9.6 months inventory, through 2010 which reported 8.5 months inventory. Credit was also being given away for very little down and no real credit checks. Anyone who has applied for a loan in the last few years can attest those lenders are being quite strict these days.
So, we have:
- No bubble likely
- Historically low inventory
- Still historically low interest rates
To give you a little more perspective, we've compared the most recent trend for the 6 months ending in March 2022, to the same 6-month period ending last year, 2021, to see if we can spot any trends.
Sales are the number of properties that actually closed escrow. These properties likely went under contract anywhere from 2 to 8 weeks before closing.
The sales of single-family homes on Maui for the last 6 months have fluctuated from a low of 85 in February to a high of 118 in December, and we averaged 101 sales per month over that time frame. For the same 6-month period ending in March of 2021, we averaged 103 sales per month. That is a difference of just under 2% year over year.
In March we had 181 condo sales. That was the highest number of condo sales in a one-month period since August of 2021 with 186 sales. August of 2021 was also the end of a summertime surge that consisted of 5 straight months of 200+ condo sales per month. However, for the 6 months just ended compared to the same 6 months in 2021, we averaged 6 sales per month higher this year.
Why is this important? These sales levels have persisted in spite of a consistent lack of sustained inventory and steadily increasing prices. Some folks are talking about a shift in the market. We don't see that in a comparison of year over year sales.
What are we seeing in the other key data point?
Pending sales represent the properties that are under contract but have not yet closed. Pendings are the pipeline that tell us how many sales are likely to happen in the next couple of months.
A comparison of the average number of pending home sales per month for the same 6 months in 2021 vs. 2022 is similar to the comparison of sales noted above. The average number of homes under contract in a month for those 6 months leading up to March 2021 was 237, in March of 2022 it was 210. That is a decline of 11% year over year.
However, March of 2021 had the highest number of home sales in a single month on Maui ever. After that home sales declined slowly until December and have rebounded slightly so far this year.
For the past 6 months ending in March 2022, compared to the same period in 2021, there was a significant increase in the average monthly number of pending condo sales from 237 to 351. However, the tale is in the trend.
For the 6 months ending in March of 2021, the number of condo pendings skyrocketed from 218 in October, to 456 in March. However, we saw condo pendings begin to drop last April all the way through September which ended with 295. Since October, condo sales have come back over to 300 per month and finished in March with 368 units.
A few recent Aloha Group Maui pending sales.
Inventory tells us how many units are available for sale in each category.
Inventory is always the story. It is half of the equation of the most basic economic law: supply and demand. The trend in inventory is a mirror image of the trend for sales and pending sales, reversed.
The home inventory dropped like a rock from 320 homes in October 2020 to just 206 in March of 2021. That is an unprecedented 36% decline in the number of homes for sale. March 2021 was the first month we dropped below 2 months of home inventory. We haven't been over 2 months' worth of homes for sale since.
Condo inventory has been even more dramatic. The number of condos for sale during that time dropped from 733 in October to only 348 at the end of March. That's a 53% drop. Wow! We saw that 6 months run start with a balanced market of 6 month inventory in October of 2020 and jet into a seller's market with one and a half months of inventory last month.
In March 2022 with 181 sales and 141 condos for sale, we have about 3 weeks of inventory.
SELLING PRICES: Average and median sold prices
We look at Average and Median prices in all categories. A lot of people like to know the average price; however, we tend to use median for most of our analysis, because the median is less likely to be skewed by outliers of a few very high priced or very low priced sales.
The trend line for home prices rose over the 6-month snapshots we've been reviewing. The median selling price for a home in March of 2021 was $975,000. The average of the monthly medians for the 6-month period was $909,500. But wait, there's more. The median selling price in September of 2020 was $779,500 and the next month the median was $880,000. That was an increase of over $100K! Selling prices rose almost another $100,000 during the next 6-month period. Just imagine what it was like for buyers who were preapproved for a loan at $800,000 during that time.
This March the median selling price was up to $1,128,396. As of today, there were only 22 homes on Maui priced under $1,000,000.
As with other data points, condos are more dramatic. For the 6 months ending in March of 2021, the median was just under $582,000 and oddly, the median selling price for the month 6 months earlier was $581,000. The prices even dropped a little for the next 5 months, but in March of 2021, the median price went to $645,000.
It has gone nowhere but up since then. The median selling price for March this year hit an even $800,000. Interestingly, if you look at the trend you can see that October's median was a fairly pedestrian $672,500 and stayed in the low $700's through February.
DAYS ON MARKET: avg-sold listings
The days on market (DOM) is the number of days a property has been on the market until close of escrow.
What can we say? The average days on market continues its downward trend.
It remains to be seen what affects inflation will have on the real estate market. It's been going on for months with little change in the market. Also, Russia's assault on Ukraine could have a negative effect on inflation and the supply chain. Let's hope for the sake of the Ukrainian people and the rest of the world that nightmare ends soon.
Get more information and details
To get more information on property and trends, you can search all properties listed for sale at www.AlohaGroupMaui.com. If you can’t find what you’re looking for there, send us an email to email@example.com, and we’ll do our best to get an answer for you. As we get more requests for information, we’ll add new sections to the website, newsletter or both.
About Aloha Group Maui
Aloha Group Maui was founded by L. Lee Potts, MBA, REALTOR® R(B) and Barbara S. Potts, MBA, REALTOR® R(B) and former California CPA. Our team consists of talented professionals; Cheri Miller R(S), Suni Novotny R(S), Keri Nicholson R(S), Myra Plant R(S), Anthony Freda R(S), Courtney Stice, R(S), Kathy Becklin, R(B), and Tony Brown R(B). We are businesspeople, and we treat our clients with the same care and service attitude that we would like to receive when we do business. We are in business for pleasure and profit. We expect that most of our clients will enjoy the property they own in Maui (pleasure), and it would be nice for everyone if your property performs well for you (profit). Real estate can be highly speculative, and profits are never guaranteed. So if you are buying property in Maui, it’s a good idea to surround yourself with a professional team.
Lee Potts is the former President of an international software company and former Marketing VP of a publicly traded franchise organization. Lee and Barbara are both licensed under Keller Williams Realty Maui.
Barbara Potts was a CPA with Ernst and Young before joining Apple Computer back when both Steve’s were there (Jobs and Woz). She was also Director of Strategic Marketing for Grass Valley Group, a division of Tektronix, and a business broker in California.
Copyright 2022 L. Lee Potts
Statistical information in this newsletter is based on actual sales information reported to the Realtors Association of Maui, Inc. While this information is deemed reliable, it is not guaranteed. This newsletter is for informational purposes only and not intended as advice for investment or any other purposes. Real estate is considered to be highly volatile, and purchasers and sellers of real estate should always seek expert outside advice before investing.