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Signs show the market is starting to stabilize

By Staff | Nov 25, 2009

222 Keoawa St. at Honolua Ridge II features incredible panoramic views of Kapalua, sunsets and Molokai.

“What is happening with the real estate market?” This is the number one question that I am asked on a daily basis.  

The answer? A property priced right based on recent comparable sales, in a good location and in clean, modern condition will sell. In other words, if you are a serious seller, you are now entering your property into a beauty contest with a price war raging.  

There are 101 pending sales on West Maui, which is up 20 percent from 60 days ago and over the past ten months. This is a good sign that the market is starting to stabilize. Buyers are looking. As a buyer, you will need to have strong credit, some cash for down payment, and a pre-qualification letter from a Maui lender. Appraisers are following very strict guidelines to meet the critical demands of the lending institutions.

The $8,000 first-time home buyer credit has been extended to April 30, 2010, which the National Association of Realtors credited with the nationwide jump in second and third quarter sales statistics. In addition, a move up buyer credit of $6,500 has been extended to owners wanting to move up who have lived in their homes five of the last eight years. Sound interesting? Talk to your accountant and see what you qualify for according to the new rules. There is also a website, federalhousingtaxcredit.com, that may be of assistance.

On West Maui, there have been 16 residential home sales closed since Oct. 1, 2009. The lowest was $450,000, and the highest sale at $2,800,000 was in Launiupoko. Seven of the home sales were over $1 million. Three sales were under $550,000.

222 Keoawa St. at Honolua Ridge II features incredible panoramic views of Kapalua, sunsets and Molokai.

West Maui condo closed sales since Oct. 1, 2009 total 34. The lowest priced fee simple condo was $179,000 for a 486-square-foot studio. Only four condo sales were over $1 million, and none of the condos sold as high as $2 million. Four of the condominium sales were leasehold, and the remaining was fee simple. Price per square foot ranged from $282 to $1,370. This is a far cry from the $9,000 per square foot Paul Brewbaker quoted for elite Hong Kong properties in a recent speech on why Hawaii properties are an investment that international investors should seriously consider. Comparing the price per square foot numbers with international markets can make West Maui a real bargain.

Great buys include a Pohailani two-bedroom/one-bath unit for $250,000 FS; a Launiupoko cottage, two-bedroom/one-bath, great views, never lived in, fully furnished, for $1,250,000; and assorted Kapalua condos.

View Maui listings at www.Lowson.com, call me at (808) 276-8001 or e-mail me at Laurie@Lowson.com.