Hawaii Beach Properties

After all you've heard about the cost of paradise, it would seem like purchasing Hawaii beach properties ( or any Hawaii real estate for that matter ) or enjoying a beachfront vacation rental would be next to impossible unless price is something you don't have to ask about, right? Well, yes and no.

Like any other area, beaches attract people and Hawaii beach properties whether they're on or near the beaches attract some hefty prices as well. But don't change the channel yet! There are still ways to "buy" into paradise even if price is a concern. Before you even start looking, though, there are a few things you should remember.

Surrounded by water, Hawaii beach properties are available facing every direction on the compass. And just as there are different weather conditions for each coast, you'll find there are varying shoreline conditions as well from sandy beaches to cliffside drop-offs and everything in between!

This relatively modest beachfront home in Lanikai offers sea breezes, salt spray, and a price tag that can make most of us lose our breath!

Looking at Hawaii beach properties is like trying to decide on where to start eating from the middle of a pie!

Before even considering the neighbor islands, let's take a look at our state capital, Oahu.

In a nutshell, Oahu's primary "beach communities" could be divided up as the following:

1) Aina Haina / Hawaii Kai
2) Ala Moana / Waikiki (South Shore)
3) Ewa Beach / Ko'Olina
4) Kaneohe Bay (Windward)
5) Kailua/Lanikai (Windward)
6) Leeward Coast (West Side)
7) Kaaawa/Kahuku (Windward)
8) North Shore
9) Waimanalo


Like in any coastal state or city, you'll find that Hawaii beach properties are parts of communities each offering its own unique socio-economic lifestyle as well. Interestingly, it is this factor that counts most in the valuation of Hawaii beach properties here in Hawaii.

An example of this interesting value factor is seen on the island's west side, or leeward coats. Here, some of the lowest-priced Hawaii beach properties on or near the beach on Oahu can be found. You'll find postcard beaches with sparkling sand and beautiful waters sheltered from the islands' predominant tradewinds. This area is also among the most economically depressed areas on the island and, understandably, ranks among the highest in the state for crime incidents.

Some waterfront homes enjoy access to waterways or canals like this home in Hawaii's foremost marina community, Hawaii Kai.

In a state where the longest drive might be two and-a-half hours (that's driving between the two farthest points on the largest island at a reasonable speed!) distances are measured in minutes and values are sometimes measured in feet! On Oahu, for example, if you were on the highest mountain point accessible by car, you'd be in most cases less than thirty minutes to the closest beach! We live a small block and a half from the beach. Walk toward the beach past four homes, cross the street and the prices jump up around $150,000 - $200,000 for a similar sized lot and dwelling about three or four homes before the beach. Any message here?

Be particularly careful in reviewing properties here as Hawaii has this funny type of ownership called leasehold, a form of ownership in which the lessor retains ownership of the "land" upon which you live and according to a predetermined leasehold agreement is able to adjust the "ground rent" at specified times. While the lower cost of a "leasehold" property combined with the amount of time remaining under the current "ground rent" might make a leasehold purchase a great bargain, many local and out-of-state buyers unfamiliar with the ramifications of this type of ownership have found themselves in real estate dilemmas they never anticipated.

Formerly swamp land, Waikiki is now the center of the state's economic activity with a population density greater than anywhere else in the state!

Waikiki Beach, for which Hawaii is famed, is truly one of the best beaches in the world. It's got sand, cool clear water, and some of the best surfing you'll find anywhere. Those very attributes make it also the most crowded beach in the state. And while many of us local folk will avoid Waikiki like the plague, many of our friends from out-of-state love the area due to the high level of activity that's available 24/7!

For many beachcombers, life doesn't get much better than living on the state's largest haven for boats, the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor!

West of Waikiki, between the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor and Downtown Honolulu lies the Ala Moana-Kakaako District which due to its central location on Oahu's scenic south shore waterfront has seen phenomenal growth in high rise condominiums to accommodate the hoards of folks wanting to live in these towering ocean-view abodes!

East of Waikiki is the exclusive residential area of Diamond Head which has some of the most exclusive Hawaii beach properties you'll find on Oahu or most anywhere for that matter. Here are some of the most expensive homes in the state the likes of which have included residences of hotel genius, Chris Hemmeter, Doris Duke's Shangri La, and many others in the realm of the rich and famous. Then, moving eastward, the neighborhood changes from Diamond Head to Black Point to Kahala. All along the coast are some of the most impressive beach estates you could imagine.

Lanikai is one of Hawaii's most exclusive neighborhoods with its world famous beach and classic scenery!

Twenty minutes and over the Pali, a point in the mountain range separating the windward and leeward coasts of Oahu, is the town of Kailuawhich inlcludes the well known beach community of Lanikai. Here is a real casual town which typifies the beach lifestyle here in Hawaii. Real estate prices here have increased dramatically due to its close proximity to Honolulu and its beaches which have been named among the nations best beaches!

Part of being able to move into a beach neighborhood like Kailua is to look for options that allow for rentals or additional income. There are a number of properties that have bed & breakfast permits which make them attractive to folks needing to show additional income to "make the mortgage."

As you can imagine, Hawaii's beach front properties are as in-demand as beach properties anywhere. But don't let the prices of the on-the-beaches or near-the-beaches stop you from looking because wherever you end up here is always pretty close to a beach. You'll also be very pleasantly surprised at how many different locations offer a to-die-for ocean view. Okay, I took a lot of them for granted having had an ocean view almost all my life but my friends from L.A. and San Diego impressed upon me the value of having that "blue" visible from your picture window or balcony.

As a commercial real estate agent, I tend to look at properties for their value probably even more than for their "curb appeal" or pleasantries. But with beach properties or areas close to the beach, the property values nearly always command top dollar!

If you're looking for a beach property or any other property in Hawaii our brokerage, I2C Realty, Ltd, can help. We're a small two man outfit, that can work closely with you in finding residential properties or those suited for property development!

Hawaii has a number of unique land ownership and zoning factors that you'll want to seriously consider in contemplating any purchases here in paradise! Let us know if we can be of assistance!