The number of homes sold in Maui County last month hit a five-year high, likely the result of buyers getting in before prices return to those seen in a more normal marketplace.
Maui County saw 98 single-family home sales in October, according to data from the Realtors Association of Maui. That marked the highest volume since June 2007, when 112 homes were sold.
"Definitely our Realtors feel there's an upswing," said Terry Tolman, chief staff executive for the association. "Nobody knows what calamity might happen tomorrow, but things are looking good."
Tolman noted that the October sales numbers reflect transactions that went into contract about two months prior.
Year-over-year, the number of homes sold is up 32 percent over last October.
All but one of the 98 sales were on Maui. Molokai logged one home sale last month.
Central Maui saw the most sales (33 homes), followed by Kihei (18 homes) and Kula/Ulupalakua (11 homes).
Homes sold for a median price of $487,000 in October - up by less than 1 percent over the same month last year, based on 74 sales.
"As the market picks up, we might see people who live and work here get priced out of the market," Tolman said. "It won't happen overnight, but that window of opportunity for buyers - especially first-time buyers - will start closing over the next 18 months."
He said well-priced listings are attracting multiple offers, making for quick sales. As a result, inventories have declined by 17 percent to 20 percent over the past year.
Maui County's condominium market saw year-over-year double-digit increases in both price and volume.
Condo sales rose 22 percent to 94 units sold last month, compared to 77 units sold in October 2011.
Kihei saw the most condo sales activity (30 units), followed by Napili/Kahana/Honokowai (14 units) and Central Maui (13 units).
The median sales price of a condo increased 13 percent to $351,495, up from $310,000 the same month a year ago.
Year to date, single-family home sales are up by 3 percent, or 19 units, over the same time period in 2011. The median sales price year to date is up 7 percent to $465,000.
The number of condominium sales through October is up by 2 percent, or 18 units, compared to last year, while the median price year to date is up 9 percent to $350,000.
* Nanea Kalani can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.