Prices, sales up but inventory remains low last month

Single-family home and condominium inventory and new listings remained low in a hot sales market while median prices rose slightly in February compared to the same month last year, Realtors Association of Maui data released Wednesday show.

The median price for a home in February was $685,000, up 1.8 percent from February 2017 but down from January’s $705,000. The median sales price for condos for the month was $472,500, up 1.6 percent from a year earlier but lower than the $505,563 a month earlier.

Buyers who finance through mortgages are facing increased interest rates and higher monthly payments, the association noted. The average rates for 30-year fixed mortgages with 20 percent down that are Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac backed rose to the highest levels since January 2014.

The Fannie Mae interest rate was hovering slightly above 4 percent on Wednesday.

“A 4.5 or 4.6 percent rate might not seem high to those with extensive real estate experience, but it is newly high for many potential first-time homebuyers,” the association said in a narrative with the report. “Upward rate pressure is likely to continue as long as the economy fares well.”

The report’s affordability index for homes in February decreased 2 percentage points from the previous year with prevailing median incomes only 50 percent of what is necessary to qualify for a median-priced home with current interest rates. The index for condos was better, though median incomes still were only 72 percent of what was needed to qualify for a median-priced condo during the month.

Closed sales, especially for single-family homes, remained red hot, up 50.8 percent to 95 in February, compared to 63 in 2017. Pending sales, though, were down 11.3 percent to 94.

Condos also performed well in February, up 8.9 percent on 122 closed sales. Pending sales were healthy at 153, up 26.4 percent from 2017.

Sellers were getting most of their list price in February. Homes sold for 97.1 percent of the list price; condos, for 96.3 percent.

The markers for inventory for the month were down. New listings for homes were down 8.3 percent in February compared to 2017. The 121 new listings was the lowest in the previous 12 months.

New listings also were down for condos, 6.5 percent, with 159.

The inventory of 521 homes was off 13.5 percent in February; for condos, the inventory was 654, down 25.6 percent.

By region, homes sales were up in February for the top three markets, Kahului with 21, up from 14 in 2017; Wailuku, 20, up from 9; and Kihei, 17, up from 13. Median prices rose in Kahului ($688,000, up 14 percent) and Wailuku ($624,872, up 23 percent) and declined in Kihei ($685,000, down 10 percent).

The top condo-selling region in February again was Kihei with 46 sales — the same as 2017 — at a median price of $452,000, up 11 percent. Napili/Kahana/Honokowai followed with 20 sales, up from 15 with a median price of $383,500.

The luxury condo areas of Kaanapali and Wailea/Makena both logged 18 sales in February, though Kaanapali fared better. The island’s first resort area in West Maui logged 10 more sales than 2017 with a $1,057,500 median price, up 67 percent. The Wailea/Makena region had sales that equaled the previous year but the median price fell below $1 million, $963,228, which was 43 percent off from 2017.

* Lee Imada can be reached at