The numbers of single-family homes and condominiums available for sale are the lowest they've been for at least five years, according to statistics released by the Realtors Association of Maui.
"We're at an all-time low," said association President P. Denise La Costa, a Maui Realtor for more than 20 years. "There are multiple offers on properties. The buyers understand the steals are gone. There aren't any steals."
By that, she said she means that properties are going for market prices. Indeed, the market law of supply and demand is playing out - a lower supply increases the number of potential buyers per property and produces higher prices.
A for sale sign is seen in front of a house on Kaohu Street in Wailuku on Sunday.
The Maui News / LEAH SHERMAN photo
As of June 7, association statistics show there were 603 homes and 805 condominiums available for sale in the county. For the full month of May, there were 623 homes and 860 condos for sale.
For no single month for at least five years has the number of homes or condos for sale been lower.
And, comparing the first five months of this year to the same period in 2012, median sales prices for single-family homes in Maui County jumped 22 percent from $435,000 to $530,000. Condo median prices went up 7 percent from $347,333 to $371,750.
The number of home sales grew 10 percent from 354 in the first five months of 2012 to 391 this year. Year-to-date condo sales volume was flat at 546 in both 2012 and this year.
The Great Recession started in early 2008 and reached its height with Maui real estate from mid-2009 to mid-2011, according to La Costa. She characterized the period as a "decline in the market" and as "stagnation."
She estimated that 40 percent of the properties on the market were bank-owned foreclosed homes and condominiums, which were a drag on sales and prices.
Now, foreclosed properties are "not a factor anymore," La Costa said, estimating that the number of real-estate-owned properties being sold by banks amounts to less than 5 percent of the homes on the market.
With prices on the rise, "people need to get off the fence," she said. If they are thinking of buying property, they "need to do it now."
"Sellers know that their homes will be sought after because there are so few on the market," she said. "Prices are rising because there just isn't anything to buy."
In May, 105 homes sold - a six-year high, according to the association.
These are good times for professional island Realtors, said La Costa, who said that her office has been "extremely busy."
If you're a Realtor on Maui, "you're doing very well," she said.
La Costa said that she believes Maui's real estate market hit rock bottom in the latter part of 2011. Since then, prices have stabilized and have been creeping up, she said.
Realtors are eagerly looking for new homes to supplement the island's inventory, she said, pointing out that new projects are expected to go into construction in Central and West Maui.
According to statistics for the first five months of the year and comparing those to the same period in 2012, Central Maui has seen the most sales with 117, an 18 percent increase over the 99 sold the previous year. The second most active market is in Kihei, where 64 homes sold, although that was three fewer than last year for a 4 percent decline in volume.
The third busiest area was Haiku, where 33 homes sold, three more - or 10 percent more - than last year. The area with the fourth highest sales volume was Pukalani, with 29 units sold, a 107 percent increase over the 14 homes sold last year. And the fifth most active area was Kula-Ulupalakua-Kanaio with 24 homes sold, which was two fewer, or 8 percent less, than a year ago.
The top five areas represent 68 percent of the homes sold in the year's first five months in 20 areas tracked by the Realtors Association.
In Central Maui, median home prices rose 13 percent to $407,938. Kihei home prices went up 12 percent to $498,300. Haiku homes sold for 11 percent less, down to a median price of $600,000. Pukalani home prices grew 6 percent to a median of $508,000, and median prices in Kula-Ulupalakua-Kanaio dropped 7 percent to $565,000.
For the first five months of the year, the most active sales market for condominiums was Kihei, with 179 sales, although that represented a 7 percent decline from the 193 condos sold in the same period in 2012. The second busiest condo market was Napili-Kahana-Honokowai, although there too the number of sales dipped, with a 19 percent decline from 104 to 84. The third-ranking market was Kaanapali, where the number of sales fell 5 percent from 78 to 74.
Central Maui condos ranked fourth in the number of sales this year, but there was a 21 percent increase in volume from 48 to 58. And there were more sales in the fifth-ranking area, Wailea-Makena, where sales increased 10 percent from 51 to 56 condos.
Median sales prices were up in all five top-selling areas, however. Kihei condo prices were up 31 percent to $320,000. Napili-Kahana-Honokowai prices gained 10 percent to $347,500. Kaanapali prices jumped 49 percent to $687,450. Central Maui prices were up 38 percent to $244,250, and Wailea-Makena prices increased 15 percent to $877,000.
The median represents the midpoint in prices where half of sales are higher and half are lower.
* Brian Perry can be reached at email@example.com.