January report: Low inventory, high housing prices remain

Stock market jitters yet to be felt in isle real estate market

A Locations Maui sign advertises real estate for sale Friday in Wailuku Heights. The Realtors Association of Maui reported the median price of a single-family home in Maui County was $707,000 in January, a 7.1 percent increase over median prices a year earlier. In Wailuku, the median sale price of a home rose 19.7 percent to $610,000 last month. -- The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

In what sounds like a refrain from a broken record, Realtors Association of Maui statistics in January show more of the same: low housing inventory and high prices for homes and, lesser so, for condominiums.

For the first month of the year, 86 single-family homes sold for a median price of $707,000. That’s a 30.3 percent increase in volume, and a 7.1 percent bump in sales price from January 2017. For condominiums, 120 units exchanged hands last month for a median price of $505,563. That’s a 23.7 percent increase in volume, and 3.7 percent drop in price from last year.

By region, Wailuku and Kahului tied for the most single-family home sales — 16 each. The number of sales was flat for Wailuku, but double in Kahului. The median price rose 19.7 percent to $610,000 in Wailuku; it grew 8.9 percent to $659,500 in Kahului.

For condominiums, Kihei had the most sales activity in January, 35 units, although that was seven units, or 16.6 percent, fewer than the 42 units sold in the area last year in the same month. And, median Kihei condo prices fell 13.7 percent to $410,000.

Wailea-Makena reported the second most condo sales for the month, 26 units, an 85.7 percent increase in sales volume from last year. Median condo prices in the luxury area dropped 12.2 percent to $943,741.

The housing inventory was down by double-digit percentages for both single-family homes and condos in January, compared with the same month last year. There were 525 homes listed for sale, a 12.9 percent decline, and there were 656 condos available, a 24 percent slide.

In the previous 12 months, the only month with fewer homes available was October, with 524. The inventory picture was a bit better for condos. For the past year, there were three months with lower inventories than January — September with 653 and October and November with 644 each.

The number of new listings fell 16.6 percent to 131 single-family homes in January and rose 12.2 percent to 193 condos.

Pending sales grew 36.9 percent to 115 homes for the month, while those for condominiums went up 12.9 percent to 158.

Closed sales in January increased 30.3 percent to 86 homes and rose 23.7 percent to 120 for condos.

The number of days on the market bumped up 2 percent to 151 for homes and up 8.7 percent to 175 for condos.

The percentage of list prices received remained stable — 96.9 percent for homes and 97.2 percent for condos.

The January real estate activity came before the stock market’s current ups and downs caused by worries about inflation, and the Realtors Association’s comments reflect that. Any impact of stock market queasiness for real estate investors won’t be seen until February, at the earliest.

“Last year, U.S. consumers seemed to be operating with a renewed but cautious optimism,” the association’s commentary says for its January report. “The stock market was strong; wages were edging upwards; and home-buying activity was extremely competitive. Not much has changed in 2018 in terms of those measures. Yet there is a sort of seasoned prudence mixed into the high emotions that go with a major expense like a home purchase. We are now several years deep into a period of rising prices and low inventory. Those in the market to buy a home have caught on. As sellers attempt to take advantage of rising prices, expect buyers to be more selective.”

The association’s housing affordability index shows cost-sensitive buyers have a better chance of buying a condominium than a single-family home.

An index number of 120 means the median household income for a region is 120 percent of what would be necessary to qualify for a median-priced home under prevailing interest rates. A higher number means greater affordability.

In January, the Maui County affordability index for a single-family home was 48, a 5.9 percent drop from the same month last year. For condominiums, the number was 67 in January, a 4.7 percent improvement from last year. The county’s 12-month index average for homes was 51, a 16.4 percent decline; and, for condos, it was 79, a 14.1 percent drop.

To see the association’s full report, go to www.ramaui.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/RAM-Stats-Jan-2018.pdf.

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