November home sales sizzle with strong demand

Low inventory makes it a hot sellers’ market

Buyers picked up 140 single-family homes in Kahului, a 2.1 percent increase over the first 11 months of 2016, according to November statistics from the Realtors Association of Maui. The median price for a home in Kahului was $600,000, a 7.1 percent increase over 2016. A lack of housing inventory coupled with strong demand is driving higher prices. Kahului has more “affordable” homes than other areas. • The Maui News / BRIAN PERRY photo

By almost every metric, Maui County’s housing market is grim for buyers and rosy for sellers, according to November statistics reported by the Realtors Association of Maui.

Nevertheless, buyers remain undeterred, according to association President Rhonda Hay.

Maui’s real estate market remains strong, despite a low inventory, she said Wednesday.

Homes are selling quickly and — especially if a property is priced below median — “it goes right away,” Hay said.

Buyers have not taken a break from property bargain hunting, she said, even though the Christmas-New Year’s holiday season is normally a slow time for real estate sales.

“They’re always looking for a deal,” she said. “If you have something that’s priced within reason, the chance of selling quickly is pretty good.”

The island’s hot real estate market is reflected in November statistics.

For example, the number of single-family home sales for January through November was up 3.3 percent to 1,010, and the home median sales price (half higher and half lower) was up 9.4 percent to $695,000, the association reports. Total dollar volume for home sales was up 11.2 percent at more than $1 billion.

For condominiums, sales volume was up 10.3 percent to 1,311 units for the year’s first 11 months. The median sales price for condos was up 7.7 percent to $447,000. And, the total dollar volume for condo sales climbed 22.2 percent to $901.6 million.

The November statistics point to low supply and high demand, a recipe for sellers to demand, and get, higher prices.

Low supply can be seen in the inventory of homes for sale, which was 504 at the end of November, down 10.3 percent from a year earlier; the supply of condominiums for sale was 627, down 29.6 percent from a year ago, the association reported.

Owners are pleased. The percentage of single-family homeowners getting their demand for list price was 96.4 percent in November, a similar percentage of happy sellers throughout the year. Condo owners fared just as well, with 96.8 percent getting their list price last month.

New single-family listings were down 0.7 percent to 133 in November, but up 6.2 percent to 137 for the year. For condos, new listings were down 40.1 percent in November to 175, and down 9.7 percent to 167 for the year.

Available homes and condos are on the market — on average — between four and five months, the association’s statistics say. In November, a single-family home was on the market 129 days on average, 20.4 percent less time than a year earlier; and a condominium remained for sale 142 days, a 13.4 percent decline from a year earlier.

For median sales prices, the “low” point for the year for single-family homes came in September when the midpoint for homes sold was $650,000, which was 2.3 percent less than the same month last year. Otherwise, every other month for a year has seen price growth: For example (from high to low), March’s median price was $756,000, a 23.6 percent increase over the same month in 2016; June was $740,000, a 12.3 percent increase; December 2016 and July were $701,000, 27.5 and 16.8 percent increases, respectively; May and August were $700,000, 12.4 and 4.2 percent increases; and November was $689,000, an 8.5 percent increase.

For monthly median condo prices, the numbers have been mostly up as well. The high median price for condos came in February at $525,000, a 32.9 percent increase; October was $519,500, a 12.9 percent increase; April was $490,000, a 10.2 percent increase; May was $477,000, a 13 percent increase; and February was $465,000, a 7.7 percent increase.

The only month to see a double-digit drop for condos was March, which saw a median price of $390,000, a 21.1 percent decrease. The August median of $400,000 was a 4.8 percent drop from a year earlier. The median in November also was $400,000, but it represented a 4.6 percent price increase.

The association also reports a housing affordability index. Higher numbers mean homes are more affordable. For example, an index of 120 means the median household income is 120 percent of what is necessary to qualify for a median-priced home under prevailing interest rates.

For Maui County, the affordability index for single-family homes ranged from 60 in September to 50 in March. Condos were more affordable, ranging from 98 in August and November to 71 in January.

As for real estate sales by region, most of the buying and selling of single-family homes has been in Central and South Maui for the first 11 months of the year, the association reports.

Wailuku reported the most sales, 193, a 9 percent increase over 2016. It was followed by Kihei with 169 sales, a 6.3 percent increase, and Kahului had 140 sales, a 2.1 percent decrease. Haiku reported 77 home sales, a jump of 30.5 percent in sales volume. And, the Kula-Ulupalakua-Kanaio region saw 74 sales, a 21.3 percent increase.

As for median prices for home sales in those areas: Wailuku homes were up 10.4 percent to $617,125; Kihei was up 13.1 percent to $707,000; Kahului was up 7.1 percent to $600,000; Haiku was down 12.9 percent to $739,000; and the Kula-Ulupalakua-Kanaio region was up 1.1 percent to $849,500.

The highest price in any region so far in the year was in Maalaea, where a single home sold for $3.5 million. That was followed by Kapalua, where seven homes sold for a median price of $2.4 million, down 8.1 percent from last year. The third highest area for median sales prices was Wailea-Makena, where 27 homes sold for a median of $2.39 million. And, in Kaanapali, 21 homes exchanged hands for a median of $1.75 million.

The lowest home median price was in Kahakuloa, but only one home sold there for $575,000. The next lowest median price was in Kahului, $600,000, up 7.1 percent; Wailuku, $617,125, up 10.4 percent; and Makawao-Olinda-Haliimaile, $625,000, up 7 percent.

For condominium sales by region, Kihei alone reported 39 percent of all sales, 515, a 15.7 percent increase in sales volume over the first 11 months of last year. The next highest condo sales volume was in Napili-Kahana-Honokowai, where there were 207 sales, a decrease of 5.5 percent from last year. Wailea-Makena reported 127 condo sales, up 32.3 percent. And, Kaanapali had 117 sales, down 14.6 percent.

For median condo sales prices in those regions: Kihei was up 10.3 percent to $375,000; Napili-Kahana-Honokowai was up 3.8 percent to $415,000; Wailea-Makena was up 5.4 percent to $1.1 million; and Kaanapali was down 5.2 percent to $825,000.

The lowest median price for condos was $95,000 in Kahului, where prices for 34 units were up 9.8 percent. Wailea-Makena had the highest prices.

To see the association’s November statistics, go to

* Brian Perry can be reached at