Prices are quite good on Maui — May 2012 statistics told of a 5-year low in median home prices. Interest rates are also at or near record lows, below 4%. The economy is still weak in a lot of areas. We are now seeing record low inventory, not only on Maui, but in many pockets across the country. See this article from the LA Times for the competition resulting in low inventory there.

All this seems to be leading to a shift in the market. Some may call this signs of recovery, as in this article from the New York Times. It’s definitely feeling a lot more competitive here on Maui. Buyers should be prepared to fight in a competitive, mulitple offer situation for properties that interest them, especially those that are well priced. While it is somewhat becoming something of a seller’s market, many sellers are still having to keep clear from selling if they are still underwater, or can’t get what they would like, price-wise, in today’s market. However, with the prevalance of bank sales and short sales, or for someone who owned the home a long time and won’t be forced to short sale, these sellers are seeing that many buyers with means are starting to dive in to home buying. However, the low inventory and competition is also somewhat frustrating for buyers who keep putting in bids, often bids over the asking price, only to be rejected due to fierce competition. Yet some properties continue to linger on the market…these are properties that aren’t priced right or are in a less-desirable area.

Here on Maui, the May 2012 statistical report showed that there were only 728 homes for sale (active or pending) as of June 8, 2012, the date the report was issued. This is the lowest number since 2007, when the Realtors Assocition of Maui began tracking inventory in its monthly statistical report. There were only 998 condos for sale and 483 parcels of land as of June 8, 2012.  Compare this to August 2008, when 1176 homes were for sale, 1594 condos were for sale and 548 parcels of land were for sale. Since Aug 2008, home and condo inventory has dropped by about 38%.