Honolulu Homes & Lifestyle Options Honolulu is a wonderfully intoxicating mix of tropical paradise, modern city and small town atmosphere. Where else could you find palm tree lined beaches alongside towering downtown business offices and huge shopping malls, the whole place filled with people whose idea of a weekend blowout is an all day barbecue with family & friends?
Honolulu real estate is equally varied. There's the Old Hawaii of Plantation-style homes in areas like Kaimuki, the high-rise condos of Waikiki and Ala Moana and houses in Kahala that look like they were transported whole from Beverly Hills. So where do you start in defining or understanding this city?
A good way is to approach it through the 3 main regions that make up Honolulu's real estate, all bordered on their north by the Koolau Mountains and on the south by the Pacific Ocean:
Metro Honolulu: which includes everything from the Salt Lake area in the west through Downtown, then the rapidly changing Kakaako and onto Manoa, Waikiki and ending at Kapahulu Ave as its eastern border.
Diamond Head Region: this begins with Kapahulu, heading eastward to take in Kaimuki & St Louis Heights, Kahala, Aina Haina and just past Kuliouou Beach Park to Kawaihae St.
Hawaii Kai: picking up at Kawaihae St, this district takes in Portlock, Queens Gate and everything included up to its far point on the east side of Makapuu Point, where you find its famous lighthouse marking this end of the region and the city itself.
Now that you know the 3 primary regions, let's take a look at some of the most prominent neighborhoods within them where you'll find some of the more spectacular homes in Honolulu.
Popular Honolulu Single-Family Homes Tantalus Homes: Gazing down from the heights of this small mountain, you live on a natural balcony above the city below, as well as the ocean that merges with the sky on the horizon. Your temperatures are distinctly lower up here, too, making for cooler days when it really counts. These Honolulu homes are often clustered close together on steep grades, but the many Mid-Century Hawaii residences still standing on Tantalus make it particularly inviting place to live any time of the year.
Manoa Homes: If Mid-Century is too current for your taste, the early 20th Century houses of Manoa could be what you're seeking. Back in the valley you can indulge yourself in the genteel Old Hawaii atmosphere that reigns here, with a landscape kissed by rain almost daily. Few other places glow so greenly. Coming back here you enter the kamaaina lifestyle of yesteryear – soothing quiet, a large lawn of your own and a welcome absence of anything resembling modern development.
Diamond Head Homes: We're looking specifically at the neighborhood of Diamond Head, not the region. These Honolulu houses stand on some of the best known and in-demand real estate in the world. Many lie on the coast just below the front of the towering landmark, often invisible on their lots that run down the slopes off the main road to the ocean itself. Others sit further back, but always in the assuring shadow of Diamond Head herself. One look at the combination of celebrated scenery plus luxurious homes that define tropical elegance and you understand why living here is like being part of a very exclusive club.
Kahala Homes: Whenever you read about Honolulu homes for sale, those with the top price tags are often in Kahala. You'll find on its streets an incredible mix of modern mansions next door to vintage residences linked to Hawaii's most prominent families of the last 100 years. Purely a low-rise district, the skyline is clear to the eye, allowing the scenery around you to flourish fully. Most noteworthy are the homes that line the oceanfront side of Kahala Ave, which takes Honolulu luxury real estate to its absolute height.
Hawaii Loa Ridge Homes: Up on this ridge just east of Kahala, your vista is filled with the Pacific Ocean, accompanied by Diamond Head's profile just to the west. With the shoreline close by, this is the perfect place to savor sunsets over those waters each evening. Entrance comes, though, at a very high price point. These are multi-million dollar Honolulu homes. Most were built in the initial development during the 1980's, but the many lots left vacant have now been filled with more and more recent structures. The idea is: When you have a view this spectacular, you need a house that's worthy of it.
Hawaii Kai Homes: Centered around a massive, man-made marina, homes not only line its shores, there are also small peninsula communities, surrounded by water on three sides. The most exclusive residences include personal docks just feet away, allowing them to cruise out to the ocean or even to nearby waterside shopping centers. Set between the urban resources of Metro Honolulu and the preserved natural wonders of Windward Oahu, you live at a crucial point of the Island, with limitless options in either direction.
As everyone knows, though, in Hawaii it's not just the home you live in, it's the life you can have here in the Islands. That's just as much a part of the popularity of our real estate as anything else.
Honolulu Lifestyle - Like Nowhere Else With no winter and the active lifestyles we live, you'll spend much more time outdoors here. That's where that most important of real estate factors comes in - Location. Along with the options near you, everything on Oahu is within about an hour's drive, no matter where you are. Rush hour excepted, of course.
Drive to the unspoiled North Shore to take in the world class waves, head to Kailua to enjoy a quieter, even more laid back part of Oahu or go out to Ko Olina, the 2nd Waikiki, on the Leeward side of the Island. You'll never run out of places to go and you'll never get tired of the places you do return to over and over.
In the next few years you may not even need to drive, due to the rail system now being built. Someday you will be able to take it from the west side of the Island to Ala Moana Shopping Center and back again. Along with Kakaako, this development will bring major changes, including further building near the rail's route. It's an exciting time to be in Honolulu real estate!
With all of this happening, it's a great time to be entering the home buying market, for yourself or as an investor. Honolulu has it all, from the tropical beaches & weather to the cutting edge schools & medical facilities and the cultural life that could only happen in the rich, diverse community that exists here.
Take it all in and you'll realize why Honolulu residents think it's the best place to live in the world!
Honolulu Houses - Trends & Statistics
The price range of houses for sale in Honolulu is $216K to $20M with a median price of $1.45M, median interior of 2,450sf and median land size of 8,150sf.
The median price of houses sold in Honolulu year-to-date (Jan - May 27, 2017) is $1.04M. In previous years it was $1M (2016), $950K (2015), $950K (2014), $887K (2013), $820K (2012), $795K (2011), $810K (2010), $760K (2009), $830K (2008), $850K (2007), $840K (2006), $795K (2005), $650K (2004), $550K (2003).
355 houses have sold in Honolulu year-to-date (Jan - May 27, 2017). In previous years, the total number of houses sold were 933 (2016), 928 (2015), 863 (2014), 958 (2013), 1009 (2012), 886 (2011), 847 (2010), 761 (2009), 783 (2008), 1040 (2007), 1094 (2006), 1331 (2005), 1379 (2004), 1302 (2003).
On average Honolulu houses were on the market for 56 days before they were sold (Jan - May 27, 2017). In previous years it was 97 days (2016), 95 days (2015), 89 days (2014), 73 days (2013), 61 days (2012), 64 days (2011), 61 days (2010), 81 days (2009), 74 days (2008), 69 days (2007), 70 days (2006), 57 days (2005), 54 days (2004), 70 days (2003).
The average days on market for Honolulu houses before sold were 54 days April 2017 compared to 92 days April 2016.
The ratio of Honolulu houses sales price vs list price were 97.1% April 2017 compared to 97.0% April 2016.
75 Honolulu houses were sold April 2017 compared to 71 houses sold April 2016.
The total dollar volume of houses currently for sale in Honolulu is $1.13B and the sold dollar volume year-to-date (Jan - May 27, 2017) is $460.27M. In previous years sold dollar volume was $1.14B (2016), $1.14B (2015), $1.07B (2014), $1.11B (2013), $1.07B (2012), $910.1M (2011), $883.81M (2010), $733.51M (2009), $876.25M (2008), $1.15B (2007), $1.18B (2006), $1.37B (2005), $1.19B (2004), $900.47M (2003).
The most recent sale in Honolulu was a house located at 2914 Booth Road, sold for $1.56M on May 26, 2017. It had 1620sf of interior. 9 other recent sales include: 274 Portlock Road (4,102sf) sold for $2.95M on 5/26/2017. 5451 Oio Drive (2,238sf) sold for $1.05M on 5/26/2017. 5939 Kalanianaole Highway (3,134sf) sold for $2.99M on 5/26/2017. 1127 Banyan Street (864sf) sold for $383K on 5/26/2017. 919 Laki Road (600sf) sold for $530K on 5/26/2017. 357 Lelekepue Place (2,397sf) sold for $1.95M on 5/25/2017. 2558 Makaulii Place (3,033sf) sold for $1.18M on 5/25/2017. 381 Ainahou Street (2,136sf) sold for $1.22M on 5/25/2017. 3029 Lakimau Street (3,658sf) sold for $1.66M on 5/25/2017.
213 of the houses have ocean views, 129 have Diamond Head views and 265 have mountain views.
Honolulu History Honolulu owes its existence to one crucial piece of geography - its harbor. It’s true that Native Hawaiians lived across Oahu for as much as a thousand years before the town began to take its shape. However, they lived in widespread communities whose centers changed according to where the alii were at any one time.
That would change forever in 1793 when sea captain William Brown, a fur and gun trader, realized the harbor was deep enough for large ships to dock. Soon the land nearby was filled with shops and businesses catering to the whaling ships and trading vessels who increasingly stopped here. Neighborhoods sprang up quickly as well to house those attracted by the booming industry. A city had been born.
Plantations & Tourism - Honolulu’s Foundations The harbor’s focus would change from whaling to the local sugar and pineapple products in the late 1800’s. The need for plantation workers brought men, and later women, from Asia and Europe, arriving through this same waterfront. Many of them would fulfill their obligations on the farms, then move to urban Honolulu to take advantage of the job opportunities there or start their own businesses.
The plantation economy was joined in the early 1920’s by the tourism industry, the cruise ships finding their berths in the piers near where ships loaded with goods were going in and out of Hawaii. The contents of the ships was changing, but the effects were the same.
Though the plantations would become almost extinct before the end of the 20th Century, Honolulu was set in place. Tourism outgrew the harbor, producing hotels and entire districts that catered to the visitor industry, attracting new residents and growing families who needed homes. Real estate, in other words.