About Kailua Kailua is one of Hawaii's classic oceanside communities. Slower moving, quiet - yet lively - and defiantly low-rise in the face of the development that's overtaken so many other parts of the Island. Though there is a central part of town, with a Target, Whole Foods and some small strips of shopping, you'd never mistake this for the built up neighborhoods on the other side of the Koolaus.
Residents are a mix of longtime locals as well as some of the wealthy, and even famous, who love the singularity of this town, along with the absence of anything even resembling pretentiousness.
President Obama makes a point of vacationing here each Christmas and numerous celebrities own, or have owned, homes here. It's not unusual to see a famous face enjoying time in town, dressed in the local uniform of slippers, shorts and t-shirt. They can blend in and, even if they don't, people here give them their space. Star chasing is not pursued in Kailua.
With the perfect weather and some of the best beaches, it's no wonder you'd have more important things on your mind. That 'best beaches' claim is a serious one, considering the stiff competition Oahu has on its shores. It's a legitimate one, though. Kailua Beach famously took the #1 spot repeatedly on Dr. Beach's list of the top stretches of sand. It was finally retired from competition because of its dominance. You know you've got something good when they have to take your name out of contention.
In keeping with the locals' low-rise preference, Kailua real estate are mainly houses, with just a few condos or townhomes in the mix. The lack of upward building and the obvious attractions of the town have raised the pricing on homes for sale in Kailua. Currently, you'd probably pay $500K for a smaller, fixer-upper house on up to $20 million plus for a stunning oceanfront mansion. There's a lot of range there, but the starting point is a higher one.
Let's get to know the Kailua real estate market by taking a look at the neighborhoods that make up this community.
The number of condos and townhomes is smaller than you'd find in the urban Oahu real estate market, but that doesn't mean there aren't any. Some that are available include:
Bluestone: This townhome neighborhood lies right along the Mid Pacific Country Club, providing those clear, green golf course views as well as the ocean beyond. The townhomes themselves are large, providing the kind of space you'll love to fill as you make the home truly yours.
Windward Passage: At 18 floors this just might be the tallest building in Kailua. That status means your condo has nothing to stand in your way as you gaze out upon the ocean. Those views are restricted to one side of the building, but the beauty of the Windward Side is an inspiring sight, too. Either way, you win.
Kukilakila: Another townhome community with generous proportions to the floorplans. The setting is lakefront, making for a tranquil backdrop to your days. Needs to be seen to be believed.
Ka Malanai: This condo community is more horizontal, than vertical. The newest condo project in Kailua in years, it's made up of 6 buildings, all 4 stories tall. A variety of units from 1 to 3BR, they'll be for sale starting 1/25/2014. Definitely worth a look.
From here we move onto Kailua's mid to upper range neighborhoods, made up completely of homes. Though they're not the top level of Kailua's real estate market, you'll still find ocean views and some very attractive beach access:
Kailua Bluff: The houses here are more contemporary in style, with a more uniform look than other areas. Significantly, it has underground utilities, uncommon here, so there's a clean, uncluttered look overall. There are a few duplexes, found on the western end of Kahako St.
Enchanted Lake: Well-known neighborhood encircling a fresh water lake. The lakefront houses look out on the calming waters, which, though a smaller body, can accommodate some boating usage.
Kailua Estates: If you like space, this is the place. Most lots are in the 10,000 to 16,000 sq ft range. Those generous proportions extend to the wider streets as well. Kakahiaka and Awina Streets are especially notable, because of the canal that runs by them, giving some homeowners a backyard vista of flowing waters.
Kawailoa Kailua: Small collection of homes whose selling points must begin with the fact that they're right next to Kailua Beach Park! Some are built against the hillside, high enough to have incredible views of the Pacific Ocean and that #1 beach. Lots generally are 4,500 to 6,000 sq ft in size. Don't confuse with North Shore area that uses the same name.
Hillcrest / Keolu Hills: These 2 areas are very close together, both being hillside communities found east of Keolu Dr, above Enchanted Lake. Up here the breezes are cool and plentiful. The views are good, too, looking towards the town side of Kailua as well as the ocean.
Kalama Tract: If you know the area, you know that Kalama Tract's location along N Kalaheo Ave puts it just one block from Kailua Beach! That makes for not only perfect access, it's also the kind of Oahu real estate that pays back its investment. As a place to live, you'll enjoy a quiet, serene place where you'll brake often for ducks crossing the road. Everybody goes to the beach here.
Kaimalino: We travel to the north side of Kailua Bay, near Kaneohe MCBH, to find these large lots starting at 10,000 sq ft. The beaches are a little rockier, but that makes for a quieter ambience, and more privacy, with less outsiders coming to use the sands here. Some houses lie along the canal, while others sit directly on the oceanfront itself.
Maunawili: The dominant hue in Maunawili, unmistakably, is Green. You live in the lushness of the mountains where life grows freely all around you. The cooler climes also bring more precipitation, which falls regularly, something locals love because it makes for crisp, fresh air and the rich, emerald green flora. Come here to live on your own large country estate, which range from 10,000 sq ft on up to 2 acres.
Now we step up to Kailua houses at the top end of the market. These are the upscale properties, the ocean & beachfront Kailua homes that occasionally are even occupied by a President:
Beachside: The name alone tells you what you've got here is beach estates. Even better, they line some of the most magnetic sands in Hawaii - Kailua Beach. These are some of the most expensive beachfront properties on Oahu and they justify every penny.
Lanikai: Exclusive beach side community just south of Kailua Beach, its homes made even more valuable because there are so few of them. As you can imagine, both the sands and the ocean views are unforgettable. In keeping with its exclusivity, the streets are narrow, with just one that gets you in and out of the neighborhood.
Kailua has successfully maintained its genteel, small town feel despite the overwhelming growth in development almost everywhere else on Oahu. While this has raised home prices, it has preserved a special character that evokes the Old Hawaii where life was taken in stride. There's an understanding that a faster pace doesn't necessarily improve the quality of the day.
Although Kailua faces continued challenges ahead about its future, with so many developers eager to enter the city limits, if one had to place a bet, it would be that this town would be the one to stand firm. From a real estate perspective that will raise the home values, but, more importantly, it would prove that a special neighborhood like this one can be protected and preserved. Sounds like a great place to buy a house.
Kailua Houses - Trends & Statistics
The price range of houses for sale in Kailua is $525K to $26M with a median price of $1.67M, median interior of 2,250sf and median land size of 10,000sf.
The median price of houses sold in Kailua year-to-date (Jan - May 26, 2017) is $1.12M. In previous years it was $1.08M (2016), $1M (2015), $940K (2014), $890K (2013), $794K (2012), $785K (2011), $775K (2010), $760K (2009), $774K (2008), $805K (2007), $800K (2006), $815K (2005), $690K (2004), $530K (2003).
96 houses have sold in Kailua year-to-date (Jan - May 26, 2017). In previous years, the total number of houses sold were 304 (2016), 280 (2015), 273 (2014), 314 (2013), 291 (2012), 269 (2011), 292 (2010), 239 (2009), 248 (2008), 307 (2007), 312 (2006), 329 (2005), 402 (2004), 447 (2003).
On average Kailua houses were on the market for 64 days before they were sold (Jan - May 26, 2017). In previous years it was 92 days (2016), 85 days (2015), 89 days (2014), 67 days (2013), 64 days (2012), 57 days (2011), 59 days (2010), 78 days (2009), 76 days (2008), 70 days (2007), 63 days (2006), 36 days (2005), 39 days (2004), 53 days (2003).
The average days on market for Kailua houses before sold were 40 days April 2017 compared to 96 days April 2016.
The ratio of Kailua houses sales price vs list price were 99.4% April 2017 compared to 96.2% April 2016.
13 Kailua houses were sold April 2017 compared to 30 houses sold April 2016.
The total dollar volume of houses currently for sale in Kailua is $318.58M and the sold dollar volume year-to-date (Jan - May 26, 2017) is $131.96M. In previous years sold dollar volume was $424.82M (2016), $351.16M (2015), $357.99M (2014), $362.17M (2013), $293.65M (2012), $255.26M (2011), $279.2M (2010), $226.27M (2009), $275.64M (2008), $322.21M (2007), $320.3M (2006), $356.65M (2005), $328.83M (2004), $277.6M (2003).
The most recent sale in Kailua was a house located at 255 Maluniu Avenue, sold for $950K on May 25, 2017. It had 1456sf of interior. 9 other recent sales include: 149 Kalaheo Avenue (1,873sf) sold for $1.6M on 5/25/2017. 1289 Ulupii Street (2,425sf) sold for $1.18M on 5/24/2017. 41-891 Laumilo Street (1,957sf) sold for $3.49M on 5/22/2017. 41-1625 Humupaa Street (1,392sf) sold for $788K on 5/22/2017. 185 Kailua Road (2,630sf) sold for $1.55M on 5/19/2017. 443 Keolu Drive (1,252sf) sold for $905K on 5/19/2017. 703 Kihapai Place (1,040sf) sold for $900K on 5/19/2017. 707 Kihapai Place (1,040sf) sold for $900K on 5/19/2017. 205 Kuuhale Street (2,185sf) sold for $1.49M on 5/19/2017.
36 of the houses have ocean views and 64 have mountain views.
Kailua History Kailua has been occupied almost from the first arrival of the Polynesian settlers, archeologists believing that this was home to early Hawaiians at least 1,500 years ago. They lived primarily around Kawanui Marsh, subsisting mainly on fish & seafood as the land couldn't be cultivated at the time. The community would remain small until the Ali'i moved their Oahu center here from Waikiki in the 16th Century. The numerous heiau sites that survived are a testament to the importance of the area.
Over the centuries developments in land use and farming techniques occurred, fufilling the area's agricultural potential. Sugar, taro and rice were staple crops, feeding an also growing population. Starting in the 1800's, the focus would turn to cattle raising, which peaked under the ownership of businessman James Castle. His Kaneohe Ranch dominated the Windward Side of Oahu, covering a vast territory that was all pasturelands. In the 1940's, though, his son Harold would make a move that would change Kailua real estate forever.
In 1942, Harold Castle closed down Kaneohe Ranch, recognizing the change coming to the modernizing and emerging Hawaii. This freed up thousands of acres of land that developers would build today's town upon. The Castles also donated large tracts of their land to schools, hospitals and churches to serve this side of Oahu, many of which still bear their name today.
Kailua homes, especially in the post-war years, sprung up quickly, which created a large community around the existing small town. This only accelerated once the Pali Highway and Tunnels were finished in the 1950's, linking Metro Honolulu to the Windward Side like never before. Previously motorists had to take a slow, winding road over the Koolaus to reach the other side. Now, commuting was possible on a large scale so houses in Kailua were newly available to those working in the city and they took advantage.
Kailua is still going through growing pains today as they try to preserve that small town feeling in the face of development and tourism. Having the 'Best Beach in America' doesn't help, either. Changes may come, but there will always be something uniquely its own present. That is the fact that life is just taken a little differently here than it is on the other side of the Koolaus; and that makes all the difference.