Friday, April 27, 2007

sellers and buyers find common ground in a healthy market

First-quarter real estate sales ’steady with minor variations’
By BRIAN PERRY, Assistant City Editor

WAILUKU – If you’re wondering about current trends in Maui real estate, the answer is – it depends.

It depends on location. It depends on whether the property is a single-family home or a condominium. It depends on whether you look at real estate sales volume or at average or median prices.

The results are a mixed bag when compared to the first quarter of the previous year, according to statistics released for the first quarter of 2007 by the Realtors Association of Maui.

But, “in a nutshell,” says Terry Tolman, chief staff executive of the Realtors Association of Maui, the “market overall looks steady with minor variations.”

“The good-sized inventory and low interest rates provide plenty of options for buyers,” he said. “Sales continue as sellers and buyers find common ground in a healthy market.”

But in the moderate-priced market, it’s been mostly sliding, according to investor Joe Petrillo, who still has two houses on the market even after cutting the asking prices.

Prices are down from the peak of two years ago, from 11 to 17 percent “depending on the area,” he said,

“I’d say you could cap it out at $700, $750,000. Anything higher than that, up to $1.1 mill, it’s stiff. Then from $1.2 million on, it’s OK. It’s got to be justified. You can’t be selling a $700,000 property and asking 8,” he said.

In terms of sales volume of single-family homes, Central Maui had the most activity in the first three months of this year. There were 149 home sales in Central Maui, making up 41 percent of the 362 homes sold overall in the first quarter.

But the average price of homes in the central region dropped 15 percent from $628,778 in the first three months of 2006 to $534,173 this year. In terms of median prices (half being higher and half lower), Central Maui home prices fell 7 percent from $606,950 to $562,443. More overall sales this year, however, pushed the total dollar volume in Wailuku and Kahului up 51 percent, from $52.8 million to $79.6 million.

That is in line with Petrillo’s observations on his properties, which include a house on the market in Maui Lani.

“I’ve come down on both. Actually, the appraisals have come down. I had an appraisal in November for $740,000 and another last month, which came in at $725,00,” he said.

That even applies to the second-busiest region in this year’s first quarter, the Wailea-Makena area, where there were 46 single-family sales in the first three months compared with only seven for the same period a year ago. The much-higher volume of sales saw average sales prices drop 50 percent from $4.5 million to $2.2 million, and median sales prices go down 36 percent from $2 million to $1.3 million. Total dollar volume for home sales in the region was up 226 percent, from $31.6 million to $103 million.

Home sales in the third-busiest area, Kihei, amounted to 42 for the first quarter, a 19 percent drop from the 52 sold in the first quarter of 2006. Average and median home sales prices remained steady in the low- to mid-$700,000 range.

Overall in Maui County, home sales in the first quarter were up 43 percent compared with a year earlier. Luxury home sales in Kapalua and Kaanapali helped push average sales prices higher from $966,844 in 2006 to $1,063,611 this year. Median prices, however, fell from $699,000 to $650,804.

With condominium sales, the South and West Maui markets continued their dominance, making up 216, or 89.6 percent, of the county’s 241 first-quarter condo sales this year.

The number of sales was down 39 percent compared with the 393 units sold in the first quarter of 2006. The average sales price was up 19 percent, from $640,793 to $759,786, and the median sale price went up 15 percent, from $458,000 to $525,000.

Because of fewer sales, total dollar volume was off 27 percent from $251.8 million to $183.1 million.

For the month of March, there were 138 single-family sales, compared with 113 in February and with 107 in March 2006. This past March’s median sales price of $665,000 was $17,000, or 2.6 percent, higher than the $648,000 median price in February, but it was $60,000, or 8.2 percent, less than the $725,000 median in March 2006.

In the Maui condominium market, there were 83 sales in March, compared with 71 in February and 144 in March 2006. The median sales price of a condominium on Maui in March was $460,000, which was $97,000, or 17.4 percent, less than February and $67,000, or 12.7 percent, less than March 2006.


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