Single-family home sale prices break $800,000 mark

April’s median cost highest on record for Maui County

Maui County median sale prices for single-family homes in April broke the $800,000 threshold for the first time, according to Realtors Association of Maui data that goes back to 1993.

Median sale prices for April reached $819,500 for single-family homes, a 13 percent increase over the same month last year. Gina Duncan, RAM board president, noted that there were no anomalies that could skew median sale prices data, such as homes over $5 million that sold last month.

“We’re at a high again,” she said Tuesday. “You have to take into consideration employment factors and wages, too.”

While Hawaii’s unemployment rates have been historically low in recent years, all of the counties have experienced rising jobless rates as economic growth slows statewide, University of Hawaii professor of economics Carl Bonham said at a recent Maui Chamber of Commerce talk. Maui County “bottomed out” at 2.2 percent in December 2017, but unemployment has now risen to 3.1 percent, according to seasonally adjusted data from the University of Hawaii’s Economic Research Organization.

According to RAM’s April report, which was released Tuesday, buyers found the biggest-ticket single-family homes in Kapalua, where one home sold for $3.3 million. The lowest median sales price was found on Lanai, where one unit sold for $288,000. The greatest amount of homes sold in an area was 17 in Wailuku at a median price of $702,290.

Median sale prices dropped by 31.1 percent to $440,000 for condos. Duncan said the peak for condos was in 2016.

The costliest condos last month were also found in Kapalua, with two sold at a median sales price of $2.9 million. The lowest-priced condo was on Lanai and sold for $155,000. The largest total of condos sold in one area was Kihei, where 67 units went for a median sales price of $429,000.

Meanwhile, inventory declined 11.8 percent to 477 for single-family homes and 16.1 percent to 515 for condominiums, the RAM report said. The months supply of inventory decreased 10.3 percent to 5.2 for single family homes and 8.9 percent to 4.1 for condominiums. (The figure refers to the inventory of homes for sale at the end of the given month, divided by the average monthly pending sales from the last 12 months.)

New listings dropped 8.7 percent to 115 for single-family homes but rose 14.4 percent to 151 for condos. Pending sales spiked 24.2 percent to 113 for single-family homes but dwindled 4.8 percent to 138 for condominiums. Days on market decreased 22.3 percent to 115 for single-family homes and 12.1 percent to 131 for condominiums, according to the report.

Although hiring and wage gains have been below expectations, the national unemployment rate held firm at 3.8 percent, RAM said.

“A historically low unemployment rate can provide reassurance to wary consumers. But in order for sales to increase on a grand scale, buyers will need more spending power, or sellers will need to reduce prices to land where buyers are most active,” the report said. “Neither situation is likely to occur in 2019, and yet inventory is straining to keep pace in the most competitive price ranges.”

Duncan said RAM and its reports help offer guidance about real estate and it doesn’t necessarily have to be during times residents are buying or selling.

“It pays to ask a Realtor,” she said. “We like to be people’s advisers — not just when people are thinking of buying or selling. Like the family doctor and family attorney, we like to be the family realtor who can answer questions.”

* Kehaulani Cerizo can be reached at kcerizo@mauinews.com.


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