Maui County ended 2021 with another month of strong sales, capping a year that saw the highest median sales prices and the lowest inventory for residential homes, according to recent real estate reports.
High prices didn’t stop buyers, since more than half of homes sold at or above list price and 33% of all home sales were cash deals, Fidelity National Title & Escrow of Hawaii Inc. said. For condos, 54% sold at or above list price and 44% of all condo sales were cash deals.
“We have seen a number of cash deals, and we have seen an influx of Mainland buyers,” Realtors Association of Maui President Keone Ball told Maui Now. “The over-list price stat is due to multiple offers on almost every property.”
Sales volume was up 92% to $2.374 billion for residential and 82% to $2.285 billion for condo homes, Fidelity said.
Looking ahead, Ball said 2022 may be similar to last year, with a slight increase in price unless the interest rate goes up too far and eliminates the buyers.
“I believe the market will go up slightly due to the lack of inventory; however, the threat of interest rising may have an affect on the prices,” he said.
December’s median sales price was $1.075 million for single-family homes, up nearly 27% from the prior year, according to a report released Tuesday by Realtors Association of Maui. Condos went up 11% to $700,000.
Days on the market last month decreased 18.1% for single-family homes and 46.3% for condos. New listings decreased 17.4% for residential homes and 1.9% for condos. Pending sales decreased 38.2% for single-family homes but increased 1.4% for condos.
Record-high prices last year were spurred by record-low inventory.
Single-family home inventory diminished toward the end of year, with only 191 homes for sale in December, a 40% drop. January had the highest inventory, 286 units, which was still down 44% from the previous year. Condos fell to 151 units in December, down nearly 80% from the previous year.
“Economist say that our lack of inventory is due to the lack of new construction over decades,” Ball said. “We are thousands of units behind” when it comes to home, condos and rentals.
Maui for the first time in history broke the $1 million threshold in May and remained above that mark over many months.
“Economist say we were always going to hit the $1 million mark; however, we hit it about 18 months early due to the frenzy on buying,” Ball said. “It seemed like people were running to Hawaiʻi to get away from the Mainland due to unrest compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. As you may remember, the governor was touting Hawaiʻi as a ‘safe’ place early on in 2021.”
The number of Maui County homes purchased by out-of-state buyers last year nearly doubled.
Mainland and international buyers over the first three quarters of 2021 scooped up 905 homes in the county, compared with 467 units during the same time frame in 2020, a recent quarterly report from the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism said.
Ball added that the solution to Maui’s housing crisis is to create more units for residents to purchase or rent.
“We are so far behind in the number of units and there’s nothing in sight to change that in the near future, which is very concerning,” he said.
Still, Ball said residents should hold on to hope that it’s possible to attain their own home.
“Buyers should talk to a lender to get all their finances in order, get prequalified and be ready to put their best foot forward on the initial offer to the seller,” he said.
After three consecutive months of increases recently, the nation’s existing home sales are on pace to hit their highest level in 15 years, with an estimated 6 million homes sold last year, according to the National Association of Realtors.