Maui County real estate sales are ‘up, down and sideways’

First-quarter data show some cooling, but not much
By HARRY EAGAR, Staff Writer
The Maui News
POSTED: April 10, 2008
KAHULUI — Maui County residential real estate sales numbers and prices were steady at the end of the first quarter of 2008.

Terry Tolman, chief staff executive of the Realtors Association of Maui, noted that Maui real estate has shown a “general cooling trend” since its peak in mid-2005. But nothing like the plunge being experienced in many Mainland areas.

The association compiles the numbers from its Multiple Listing Service database. Tolman cautions that particular neighborhoods can diverge from the overall trend.

The trend for single-family homes shows a 12 percent decline in average prices, which were over $1 million a year ago. So far this year, the average is $909,000.

But median prices, which are less affected by whopper sales, have moved much less. They are down 4 percent to $603,000.

The number of days on market, which gives an idea of how hard it is to sell a house, was 162. That was about a month longer than last year.

Even the closing of a number of “affordable” houses in Central Maui barely depressed the median price there. It was down 3 percent to $545,000.

Most areas unaffected by subsidized prices showed gains in median price, which is the point at which half the sales were for more, half for less.

Haiku, for example, saw median prices advance 19 percent to $800,000, although average prices were up only 5 percent to $1.17 million. The number of sales was almost unchanged from January-March 2007: 14.

However, another big area, Kihei, saw median prices decline 27 percent to $568,000. Average prices there were down 20 percent to $646,000. The number of sales was down from 51 to 36.

Tolman describes Maui’s market over the past two years as “up, down and sideways.”

Downward price movements were more pronounced in the most expensive areas: down 40 percent on average at Kapalua to $5 million, down 30 percent on average at Wailea-Makena to $3.3 million, down 24 percent on average at Kaanapali to $2.2 million.

The numbers of sales in those areas were so small that percentage swings could be exaggerated.

Other pricey areas showed equally large gains in average prices. Maui Meadows was up 45 percent to $1.9 million, and Kula-Ulupalakua-Kanaio was up 39 percent to $1.5 million.

Overall, the single-family housing market shrank considerably in the first three months of this year compared to last year. Total dollar volume dropped by $146 million to $207 million.

Condominium trends were quite different.

The average price was up 15 percent to $940,000 (higher than the single-family house average), and medians were up 6 percent to $587,000.

The number of sales was almost unchanged: 276. Total dollar volume was up by $33 million to $259 million.

Kihei, which has the most condos, saw median prices rise 23 percent to $445,000 and averages go up 23 percent to $530,000.

The number of sales jumped from 86 to 118.

The Wailea-Makena condo market continued to be extremely hot. There were 64 sales (compared with nine at Kapalua and 12 at Kaanapali), and average prices zoomed 34 percent to $2.1 million.

The association’s MLS showed 1,169 residential properties for sale as on Wednesday (including some with pending contracts). That was significantly more than last year, when the number for sale never rose above 1,000. That changed in October, and the number has been climbing slowly but steadily since.

• Harry Eagar can be reached at