Maui real estate market recovery uncertain

Maui
Maui | CC Photo by Ingrid Balko Zeitler

Experts generally agree that the national and Maui real estate markets are finally showing a period of recovery and growth, although there is also a consensus that those recoveries are both precarious and uncertain.

According to a November 11, 2010 report from the Lahaina News:

“A housing recovery is taking place but will be choppy at times, depending on the duration and impact of a foreclosure moratorium. But the overall direction should be a gradual rising trend in home sales, with buyers responding to historically low mortgage interest rates and very favorable affordability conditions,” said Lawrence Yum, National Association of Realtors (NAR) chief economist.  This describes the national market conditions but is easily seen in the current rise of real estate purchases on Maui.  When comparing the first, second and third quarters of 2010 with the same period of 2009, Maui condominium sales volume showed an increase of 49 percent, while residential property sales improved by 33 percent and vacant land sales volume grew by 32 percent. However, median sales prices for condominiums declined by 21 percent, residential properties by 8 percent and vacant land dropped by 19 percent.”

This same generally positive news for Maui homes and condos for sale was noted in a November 11, 2010 article from the Maui Weekly, which stated:

This is concurrent with the recent rise of real estate purchases on Maui. When comparing the first, second and third quarters of 2010 with the same time periods in 2009, condominium sales volume displayed an increase of 49 percent, with residential property sales improving by 33 percent and vacant land sales growing by 32 percent. Median sales prices for condominiums declined by 21 percent, residential by 8 percent and vacant land dropped by 19 percent.

This is an unsurprising correlation, since generally speaking the number of sales is inversely related to the quantity of units sold. In times of particularly robust economic strength and growth, some markets exhibit both higher prices and higher rates of sale.

There are, unfortunately, signs of weakness both for the local and national economies. The real estate market tends to follow the overall momentum of the economy, meaning that if Hawaii or Maui’s overall economy starts to falter, there is a larger chance that real estate will also falter.

As for the international market? According to a December 3, 2010 report from the Maui News:

Last year was the first time since the Great Depression that the global economy contracted. It’s expanding again, but the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization says that recovery is now faltering. This could be important for Hawaii, since tourism is showing fairly strong signs of recovery. Those gains could be undone by a further shock to the overall economic outlook, Terryl Vencl, executive director of the Maui Visitors Bureau said earlier this week. UHERO’s update, released today, said the global recovery is proceeding “in an uneven fashion.

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