Aloha, Friends: I'm writing this on December 5, 2020. As we continue to be COVID cautious here on Maui, I am happy to report that the signs of life and renewed commerce on Maui are abundant. Last night, we walked Front Street as we do frequently on "Art Night" when all of the galleries are open. There were people, all wearing masks, and traffic. It had a faintly familiar ring to it.
Unfortunately, some of our old favorites like Maui Built and a few notable restaurants are gone forever. However, there are some new businesses, including a new oceanfront gallery where Koa used to be, and Tommy Bahama Marlin Bar. This unique dining and apparel space in the Lahaina Outlets Center in the Old Rock location, opens December 14.
We started the morning of December 5 at Airport Beach. The beach is busier than it was a month ago, but there was still plenty of space for a couple of beach chairs and a cooler. The water was aquarium clear and I've not seen such an abundance of fish in forever it seems. By the way, the air temp is in the mid-80's and the water is still warm. Also, we saw some whale breaches from afar.
And what's happening in real estate? Let's take a look.
Sales are the number of properties that actually closed escrow. These properties likely went under contract anywhere from 2 to 8 weeks before closing. At mid-price and below it's sellers' market for single family homes on Maui, as it is across most of the country. With the current inventory for homes priced at or below the median selling price, we have 1.5 months of inventory.
There were 27 sales of homes priced between $1M and $2M. With the current inventory of only 68 homes in that price range, just over 2 months of inventory, buyers in that price range also face a sellers' market.
It's not until buyers looking for homes priced over $2M that we start to see an even market and a little negotiating room, but even at those lofty price points we are seeing competition for well-priced properties.
For condos the story is different, but only a little different. When the COVID quarantines began in March, sales slowed, and when it became apparent that condo-tel units wouldn't be providing any meaningful income to owners for a while, sales came to a screeching halt.
However, condo sales are back. With 130 sales in November there were only 2 months in all of 2020 with a higher number of sales. One of those months was February, as you would expect, with 131 sales.
What about prices you ask? Keep reading.
Pending sales represent 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.
Pending home sales started the year in the 200's, dropped off for just 3 months, March through May, and have remained in the 200 plus range ever since. Those sales have never slowed, prices have continued to rise, and the only reason there aren't even more sales is there just aren't enough of them on the market.
There is no COVID discount.
New contracts on condos climbed to 235. That compares to 248 last November. Pending condo sales have been climbing since June, but really started to pick up steam in September. This is very good sign for sellers going into our traditionally strong winter selling season.
Inventory tells us how many units are available for sale in each category.
We've already commented on the extraordinary low supply of homes for sale on Maui. To borrow a line from Johnny Carson, "how low is it?" Sorry, no funny punch line here, just a comparison. In November of 2019, we had 438 homes on the market, that was still very low, and there were only 71 sales that month. Now we have over 100 fewer homes for sale and homes are selling at a higher rate. Inventory dropped below 400 in June and has declined consistently ever since.
Condos are, again, a different story. Inventory had a significant increase in March and continued to rise through August. It really looked like the market was going to shift into a real buyer's market. But new inventory slowed down. It dropped a bit in October and a bit more in November. At the current rate of condo sales, we are back below 6 months of supply. So, it's not a buyer's market and it's not a seller's market based on the numbers. If COVID shuts the visitor market off again, things could change, but that isn't the case as of today.
Selling Prices: Average and median sold prices
We look at Average and Median prices in all categories. A lot of people like to know 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.
Average selling prices for Maui homes climbed back over $1.2M in October and climbed even higher in November. At $1.2 plus, the market is still very competitive for buyers, especially in West Maui.
The median selling price for homes is still above the new conforming loan rates, it is clearly a seller's market. Buyers have to be well represented and have a strategy for buying. You need a game plan before you start, just sayin'.
There is no COIVD discount.
Average condo prices first topped the $900,000 mark in August. Although they did dip in September, they rose over $900K again in October and $887,116, selling prices are still pretty healthy.
At $512,040 it might appear that the median condo price is dropping a bit. However, that needs some context. The jump we saw in August was aided by closing in 2 developments, Luana Gardens at Honua Kai and Kahoma Village in Lahaina. Additionally, the median closing price in November of 2019 was $499,000.
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.
The DOM for homes is down to 111 days. That is the lowest I ever remember seeing. That jives with everything else in this report.
The DOM at 166 for condos is not unusually high or even unusual. In November of 2019 the DOM was 186.
So, despite COVID, politics, unemployment, shutdowns, quarantines and, perhaps the real economy, real estate on Maui appears to be somewhat "normal". What else can we say but that about 2020?
Stay safe, stay healthy and live Aloha.