As a longtime Kailua resident and realtor I have witnessed the transformation of this once sleepy laid back beach community into a major destination for visitors and newcomers from all over the globe who want to be part of the magic that is the Kailua Lifestyle. With this popularity comes a strong demand for housing, be it short and long term rentals and properties for sale.
The median price for a single family home in Kailua is now – late 2017 – $1,120,000, which means a lot of buyers are priced out of the market and are looking at condos in Kailua, instead of single family homes. The condo market in Kailua is very active and up to date in 2017 it has taken an average only 30 days for a condo to go into escrow after being listed. The median sales price for 2017 – up until time of writing – is $619,000.
This article is not so much a guide to all the different condo projects but specifically outlines my personal strategy to finding the best deal on a condo in this highly competitive market by highlighting the top five projects based on some key factors:
Price per square foot (as of writing), Location, Density and Overall condition and quality of the condo project.
When it comes to available inventory the two and three bedroom condos still offer a fair amount of active listings, but when looking at one bedroom condos it’s a very limited market. The one bedroom units are also a lot more expensive when looking at price per square foot and most of them are selling within days of going on the market.
#5: Ka Malanai
Ka Malanai has been the only new condo project in Kailua in years and it shows in the pricing. With an average price of $687 per square foot this project is on the high end.
That being said, the one bedroom units are still a great value given the limited inventory in all of Kailua. The demand is far greater than the supply when it comes to 1 bedroom rentals and 1 bedroom condos in Kailua. Ka Malanai is in a very convenient location and rents out well at higher rates than the older one bedroom condos in Kailua. The monthly maintenance fees are very reasonable at 46 cents per square foot and since it’s a new development with no money draining amenities it should not go up too much in the short or long term. At a sales price of around $650k a 1 bed/1 bath it is a good value.
#4: Gardenia Manor
With an average price of $546 per square foot Gardenia Manor is a great value, especially when it comes to the larger 3 bedroom units. The monthly maintenance is 56 Cents per square foot and this project has a pool and recreation area. The location is very convenient and the project is well maintained. The structures are older and the common areas will need continued attention and maintenance, so the monthly fees are likely going to increase. Gardenia Manor rents out really well and with an average of 33 days on market it is a very popular choice.
#3: Windward Passage
The solid concrete construction, great location and amenities make this a very popular choice for owners and renters alike. At an average price of $777 per square foot it is on the high end for Kailua condos. The one bedroom units at Windward Passage are the best value and rarely come to market. Also the higher floor units with ocean views carry a premium and sell very quickly. The maintenance fee is around 72 cents per square foot and includes a great recreation deck and amenities. Any buyer that is looking for the security and convenience and top amenities of urban type highrise living in Kailua basically has no other choice than Windward Passage. So despite the higher price per square foot this is a great value.
#2: Aikahi Gardens
At an average price of $435 per square foot Aikahi Gardens is by far the best value. With an average of 30 days on market this project is extremely sought after. It has a great location close to H3, the Marine Corps base (rents out really well to military) and also is in walking distance to Aikahi Elementary School which is an award winning school. The monthly maintenance fee is 46 cents per sq. ft and includes a nice pool and clubhouse. The units are bright and friendly. The big drawback is the wastewater plant directly across the street from the project. For an investment as a rental property I highly recommend it, but due to the recurring smell I could not see myself living there. That being said there are some buildings within the project that are located more favorably and are not as susceptible to the smell. Those will be a bit more expensive, but that is well worth the additional money.
By far the best value when looking at all factors combined. Great location, very private and well maintained project. Lakeview is located on the hillside off Keolu Drive and has a beautiful garden setting with awesome views. At an average price of $467 per square foot and a monthly maintenance fee of 46 cents per square foot this is a hidden gem. With only 5 sales in the past 12 months and an average of 15 days on market potential buyers have to expect quite a bit of competition.
In conclusion my biggest advice is to potential buyers is to do your research ahead of time and identify the top two condo projects to look for, so when the right one comes along you are able to move quickly in this hot market.