Real estate sales post $769,000 median home price in July

But housing price bubble chatter has been increasing

The median price of a single-family home in Maui County soared to $769,000 in July, the Realtors Association of Maui reported this week.

That was not a record, although it’s just $11,000 shy of the record $780,000 median home price set in May 2005 and tied in July 2006.

In all of 2006, seven months (from March through September) had median home prices of $700,000 or more. Through July of this year, four months have seen prices north of $700,000.

While such high home sale prices might seem like a time for celebration among Realtors, the association’s July monthly narrative sounded cautionary.

“Housing price bubble chatter has increased this summer, as market observers attempt to predict the next residential real estate shift,” the association said. “It is too early to predict a change from higher prices and lower inventory, but the common markers that caused the last housing cool-down are present.

“Wages are up but not at the same pace as home prices, leading to the kind of affordability concerns that can cause fewer sales at lower prices. At the same time, demand is still outpacing what is available for sale in many markets.”

Low inventory and high demand lead to higher prices. In July, the inventory of single-family homes dropped 14.4 percent to 499 homes, compared to 2017. The 12-month average inventory for homes was 544, down 6.4 percent.

There was some help from new listings, which went up 12.8 percent to 141 in July. But the 12-month average for such listings fell 4.4 percent to 131.

The housing affordability index fell 13.7 percent to 44 while the 12-month average was off 7.4 percent to 50. The index number represents housing affordability for a region. For example, an index of 120 means the median household income is 120 percent of what is needed to qualify for the median-priced home under prevailing interest rates. A higher number means greater affordability.

For condominiums, the median sales price increased 16.6 percent to $513,163, while the 12-month average median for condos was up 7.6 percent to $468,000.

The inventory of available condos plummeted 22.8 percent to 562 units in July, while the 12-month average inventory slid 20.1 percent to 648.

New listings for condos were down 2.7 percent to 145 in July, and the 12-month average was off 7.3 percent to 166 units.

The affordability index of condominiums for buyers dropped 19.8 percent to 65 in July, and the 12-month average was down 12.9 percent to 74.

Looking at single-family sales volume in July, the number of units sold countywide rose 22.8 percent to 113, compared with the same month last year, with most of the transactions happening in Wailuku (28), Kihei (17) and Kahului (16). All other areas posted single-digit figures or no sales for the month.

Sales volume for condominiums in July grew 34.7 percent to 136, with most properties exchanging hands in Kihei (51), Napili-Kahana-Honokowai (20), Wailea-Makena (19), Kaanapali (11) and Lahaina (10).

Looking at regional sales figures for the first seven months of the year, the number of single-family home sales increased 7.7 percent to 688, while the number of sold condos went up 23.7 percent to 1,007.

Most of the single-family home sales happened in Wailuku, where sales volume was up 30.1 percent to 147, and median sales prices increased 5 percent to $642,773. The second most home sales occurred in Kihei, where volume was down 5.4 percent to 105 homes, and median prices slid down 5 percent to $675,000. Kahului ranked third among sales markets with 98 units sold, up 15.3 percent from the first seven months of last year. In Kahului, median prices grew 15.2 percent to $679,500.

The least expensive homes could be found on Molokai where the price of a single-family home fell 17 percent to $382,000 with 15 units sold. On Lanai, home prices increased 34.2 percent to $510,000 with a dozen sales for the year.

For condominiums, by region, the perennial powerhouse for sales volume continued to be Kihei, where sold units rose 18.8 percent to 372. Condo prices in Kihei were up 6.1 percent to $406,250.

Runner-up in condo sales volume was Wailea-Makena, where the number of units sold increased 59.8 percent to 147. Median prices climbed 7 percent to $1.15 million. And, not far behind in third place for sales volume, the Napili-Kahana-Honokowai region, saw 143 condo units sold through July, an increase of 8.3 percent in sales volume. Median prices were up 1.3 percent to $430,000.

The least expensive condo units were in Kahului, where 20 units sold for a median price of $120,175, which was up 26.5 percent from a year ago.

* Brian Perry can be reached at bperry@mauinews.com.

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