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Maui real estate prices flat despite an increase in sales

Experts say high-end condo purchases and a big home inventory are skewing values

By Andrew Gomes


Home sales on Maui continued to show volume gains in September over the same month last year, but a rebound has yet to be established for median prices.

The number of Maui home sales rose significantly last month, but median prices were close to flat, according to a Realtors Association of Maui report counting completed sales of both new and previously owned homes.

Sales of single-family homes rose 17 percent to 63 last month from 54 a year ago. But the median price remained unchanged at $440,000.

For the first nine months of the year, the number of single-family home sales is up 33 percent to 616, while the median price is down 8 percent to $461,750.

In Maui's condominium market the number of sales last month rose 52 percent to 96 from 63 a year earlier. The median price, however, moved only slightly in the same period, rising 3 percent to $315,635 from $307,500.

For the first nine months of the year, the number of condo sales is up 49 percent to 913, while the median price is down 21 percent to $394,000.

Terry Tolman, chief executive of the Realtors Association of Maui, noted that prices aren't likely to rise until the considerable inventory of homes facing foreclosure or repossessed by lenders is absorbed.

According to an analysis of Maui's economy last month by Hawaii Pacific University economics professor Leroy Laney for First Hawaiian Bank, median home prices are declining but at a lower rate this year than in 2009. Laney also noted that some of the decline in condo prices is skewed by high-end sales of the luxury Honua Kai project, which pumped up median sale prices last year when initial sales from the project in Kaanapali began closing. However, Honua Kai sales have continued this year.

Last month most condo sales occurred in Kihei, where there were 32 sales for a median $266,750. That compared with 28 sales for a median $275,950 a year earlier. At the low end of Maui's condo market, Central Maui, there were 15 sales for a median $53,900 last month, compared with nine sales for a median $58,000 a year earlier. At the high end there were four sales for a median $1.5 million in Wailea/Makena, compared with eight sales a year earlier for the same median price.

The largest submarket for single-family homes on Maui is Central Maui, where there were 21 sales last month for a median $437,500. That compared with 13 sales for a median $427,000 a year earlier. On the lower end there were 11 sales in Kihei for $381,000 last month, compared with 11 sales a year earlier for a median $450,000. On the high end there were five sales in Wailea/Makena for a median $3.9 million. There were no single-family home sales in Wailea/Makena in September 2009.

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