Everyone wants ‘Value’ in their home purchase, especially a new home. The way the Oahu real estate market has consistently moved upward for decades, taking prices with it, you’d think that was an easy thing to measure. There’s another, maybe even more important side to that word, though.
It can mean not just the price you pay, it also takes in all the other aspects of real estate, or, more accurately home choice. What about the dimensions, a very important factor for a growing family, or the environment you live in, something that will affect the quality of every single day?
What we want to highlight here are the Oahu neighborhoods where you can still buy a substantial new, or relatively new, house or townhome, within a range of $500K to $800K. Nice, but not luxury.
We also set another criteria by considering that 2nd, deeper dimension – what you get for your money. These are our choices for Best Value in Oahu’s Newer Homes, where you can get a little, or even a lot more, than a place to hang your hat.
Ewa Gentry is still a work in progress, the developers continuing to create new neighborhoods within it, a process that started in the 1990’s. This is another area that fulfills many different levels of Oahu home shoppers, with some that fit the 1st time buyer market on up to some luxury properties as well. It is truly a microcosm of the Hawaii real estate world.
In this world made up of Ewa Gentry homes, Haleakea would be the ideal family sized house district, with its 3 layouts, all dual level. 2 of them, Haiku (2,135 sq ft) and Pupukea (2,332 sq ft) are 4BR/3BA, the last, Waiahea (2,170 sq ft) coming in close behind at 4BR/2.5BA. With covered lanais, front and fenced-in back yards, and garages, this is a place for the keiki to play and the older residents to plant some flowers or even a small garden.
Built in 2008, just 3 years earlier than Haleakea, Latitudes brings a little more affordability, but the same family friendly blueprint. This time, you have 4 floor plans, made up of a trio with 4BR/3BA – Marina (1,677 sq ft), Bainbridge (1,789 sq ft) and So Ho (1,921 sq ft) plus one 3BR/2.5BA Victoria (1,557 sq ft). 2 floors add that noise separation that keeps families together. You also have the covered lanais that West Oahu residents love, garages and green features, like solar hot water systems that care for the aina and cut your bills.
Affordability is usually a huge concern for 1st time home buyers and that is even more so in an expensive market like Oahu real estate. The Laulani homes are specifically made to meet those needs, or the needs of anyone with a certain budget. Divided into 2 areas, Trades & Tides, they went up just a year apart, 2010 and 2011, respectively.
The other difference is that Trades’ homes are bigger, consisting of 4 models of 3BR/2BA to 4BR/2.5 or 3BA, measuring from 1,151 to 1,375 sq ft within them. Tides has 4 models as well, with 3BR/2BA in all except for one 4BR/2.5BA. These all have 1,050 to 1,194 sq ft. Both categories offer 2 car garages with nice driveways in front, enclosed back courtyard areas and a recreation center with a pool and party facilities. Not a bad start for a homebuyer.
A more upscale side of homes in Ewa Gentry sits appropriately close to the Hawaii Prince Golf Club, called Woodbridge, where the residences offer 3 to 5 bedrooms across the over 2,600 sq ft layouts on 2 stories. They just make it under the $800K limitation, a feat they couldn’t perform if these same houses were in Honolulu.
The large kitchens, dens off of the master bedrooms and larger lot sizes are just a few features that put Woodbridge homes at the top of many buyers’ lists.
Ewa Gentry is an amazing project for how much variety it has within it, part of the Ewa Plain’s broad appeal. Without the space to cover every neighborhood it has, we still need to point out communities like Tuscany/Montecito that sit next to Hawaii Prince Golf Course and enjoy Central A/C over their two story homes. Or Sandalwood, where you’ll find 3 and 4BR homes with nice dimensions of 1,576 to 1,946 sq ft.
The point is that Ewa Gentry has much to offer, no matter where you are on the budget ladder. In fact, you just might find you can afford more here than you thought.
Hoakalei is the umbrella of what has recently become 4 sub-neighborhoods that make up the whole. What makes them stand out is that this is an expansion of the resort-lifestyle community concept, this time in Ewa Beach’s borders.
Like its predecessor in this, Ko Olina, the homes can enjoy the same perks as visitors, adding another dimension to your days in a Hoakalei home. There is the country club and golf course, with the resort itself soon to open, with a huge lagoon that will basically be your local water park. A stroll from home will be all kinds of vacation-style options for relaxing and playing, all without the dreaded check-out time deadline.
Ka Makana, the 1st of the 4 areas to be built, is the most mauka, surrounded on 3 sides by the golf course. Many of the Ka Makana townhomes sit right on the fairways, enjoying the green landscape laid out behind them. All have their lanais and balconies covered, ensuring you can sit on them even when the sun or rain beats down.
The 2 groupings of floor plans, Koa Lifestyle and Koa Premier, are all roomy and use the American/European architecture styles that Hawaii took, modified and made their own. Koa Lifestyle’s 2 4BR/3BA models have 2,545 and 2,612 sq ft of interior, both with 2 floors, the numbers not counting the large lanais or 2 car garages of each.
Koa Premier has a greater range, the 5 models going from 2,123 sq ft in a one-story (3BR/2.5BA) that has echoes of the gingerbread architectural style seen in Manoa or Diamond Head by the Gold Coast, to the 4 others (4BA/3.5BA or 5BR/4.5BA) that have a second story with 2,912 to 3,552 sq ft interior space. The 2 floor styles all have distinctive designs with rectangular or L-shaped layouts to further appeal to distinct tastes.
The Kipuka neighborhood is smaller than Ka Makana, located just southeast of it. It takes the golf course element a step further by being enclosed on all 4 sides by the links. A gated community, Kupuka homes also divide into 2 categories, Garden & Golf Series. Each has 3 models, all dual level, the overall divider being Garden houses have views of, or sit on, greenways, the Golf houses lining and looking out at fairways.
The Garden Series has a very traditional, inviting American look, think small town USA of yesteryear. They encompass 1,656 to 1,714 sq ft inside containing 4BR and 2.5 or 3 bathrooms. Golf Series residences have the same BR/BA variations, but take 2,030 to 2,234 sq ft to fit them inside. Whereas Garden homes have an overall flatter facade to them, you’ll find more angles on the Golf Series, with still an American influence, but a little less distinctly so.
Kuapapa has the Hoakalei homes that are closest to the shoreline, but also extends up the southeast corner of the entire area. Here you’ll once again find the Koa Premier and Koa Lifestyle models with golf course views for most of the former and all of the latter.
3 other design categories are on these streets as well. The first, Elama, has 4 layouts with 2 floors, 3 of them featuring 4BR/3BA and 1,634 to 1,864 sq ft. The last holding 3BR/2.5BA over 1,737 sq ft. The stated aim was to create seaside cottage style homes and they have nailed it. Some would look at home sitting off a New England coastline.
The next, Naio, has a meld of Pacific Northwest and New England style houses taking up from 1,997 to 2,381 sq ft within them, with 4 or 5 bedrooms and 2.5 to 3 bathrooms. One trademark of these is the covered front porch that cries out for a rocking chair or even a swing seat.
The last category, Elama, lacks the porches, but all have golf course views or overlook the natural beauty of the Kuapapa Preserve. The 3 floor plans have 1,803 to 2,167 sq ft inside them and 4BR/2.5 or 3BA.
There is one late entry to Hoakalei, the Lei Pauku townhome neighborhood that takes up what would be the southeast corner of Ka Makana. Their roomy insides, 1,294 to 1,378 sq ft, also have covered lanais & balconies, some with views of the golf course grounds. With their Dickey style roofs and Plantation reminiscent style, they have Hawaii roots in their architecture.
Residents of the 3 single family home Hoakalei neighborhoods have access to the Wai Kai Hale Club as well as their own recreation centers, with, at minimum, pool, spa and party room.
Brand new homes in Oahu, with the resort-lifestyle are rarely at this price level. Thought not falling under the Affordable column, they present a great value for many buyers. It’s no wonder so much of it is already sold out.
Just to the east, along that side of Hoakalei Country Club is Ocean Pointe, homes that were all built by Haseko in the decade from 1998 to 2008. The community has a healthy number of both single family homes as well as townhomes, which are divided into 4 enclaves of their own.
All of the townhomes – Mariner’s Place (2/3 BR, 843 to 1,050 sq ft), Ke Ana Kai (2/3BR, 920 to 1,821 sq ft), Town Homes at Fairways Edge (3BR, 1,005 to 1,196 sq ft) and Spinnaker Place (2/3BR, 1,001 to 1,196 sq ft) – give you a yard of your own and, of course, lanais to sit back on and take in the tropical evenings after work.
The Ocean Pointe houses all come in family sizes, 3 to 5 bedrooms, every one coming with yard space, 2 floors and central air conditioning for maximum comfort throughout. They begin at over 1,200 sq ft interiors and end at almost 3000 sq ft at the largest levels. The interiors are open and airy with high ceilings especially in the front living rooms where they rise the full height of the home.
There is a variety of layouts and designs, but all fit the Ewa/West Side forms so they’re right at home on these lands. As are the green areas and parks throughout, fitting the family focus. Makai end residents can walk to the beach, the more mauka addresses requiring a longer stroll or a short car trip. With the resort going up next door, you’ll have even more choices added to your list. It’s all part of the new real estate in Ewa Beach, unimaginable not too long ago.
Kapolei has been the big story in Oahu homes for the last decade or more, growing more and more as the plans for this 2nd City began to become reality. It’s one thing to talk about more affordable residences with some of the best shopping and recreation options on the Island. It’s another thing to see it in place.
Kapolei homes can be summed up with certain qualities that have made them so magnetic. The planning has ensured that this is a distinctly open community, with roominess between residences that contrast sharply with most homes in Honolulu. It is also low-rise, the entire town rarely, if ever, exceeding a third story. Both the skyline and sight lines are uncluttered, spacious.
There’s also a range to the real estate, with everything from townhomes to luxury properties lining the fairways. The number of projects and neighborhoods make it impossible to cover them all here, but a few that fit this article’s focus and show the variety available here can be.
Kapolei Knolls is a hillside community of single family homes, most 2 story, with lawns and views over the rest of the city as well as Makakilo. A park sits at the entrance to the area with a walking/jogging path for residents to use. The residential layouts are gathered under 3 series, with multiple models in each.
Kapolei Series, with 8 models of 3 to 5 bedrooms (1,365 – 2,757 sq ft interiors). Classic Series, containing 4 layouts in it of 3 or 4 bedrooms (1,272 – 2,002 sq ft). Lastly, the Kula Lei Series, with 6 models in 3 to 5 bedroom configurations (1,092 – 1,562 sq ft).
The Mehana district on the western side of Kapolei gathers several different projects within it that each have their own distinct qualities and designs to them. Mehana Kekuna is a very recent addition, going up in 2013 – 2014, and has dual level houses of 3BR and 2/2.5BA (1,214 or 1,419 sq ft inside). They have their own community pool and playground, too.
Mehana La Hiki brings larger homes to its lots, all 3 or 4 bedrooms spread out over 1 and 2 floor configurations, from 1,364 to 1,803 sq ft. These Kapolei houses have been rightly highlighted due to their status as the first results of the Homesave Program, which built in numerous green and sustainability features, making them very friendly to the aina.
Just completed in 2016, Kawena Mehana is a new community of single family condominium homes. 3 floor plans cover it – 3BR/2BA/1 Story (1,214 sq ft), 3BR/2.5BA/2 Story (1,325 sq ft) and 4BR/3BA/2 Story (1,548 sq ft). Each has a 2 car garage and numerous energy-efficiency features as well, along with a community pool and recreation center (The Mac) as well as a playground and park for the keiki.
There’s much more besides, such as Kapolei Kekuilani, one of the initial parts of the new West Oahu in 1995, that holds single family homes of 1 and 2 stories with 3 and 4 bedrooms, some that line the Kapolei Golf Course.
Or Mehana Olino, one of the most recent constructions, with primarily condo and townhomes within it as well as some houses, all of them sized from 757 to 1,563 sq ft with nice lanais to boot.
For those seeking the home with a lawn that’s new, or at least relatively so, Kapolei is an obvious option to consider. And that’s precisely the point. If it didn’t have so much of the things that Oahu home buyers want, it wouldn’t be so obvious.
The hillside neighborhood above the Ewa Plain has a longer residential history behind it that its immediate neighbor of Kapolei. The lower areas were first settled in the 60’s, owners buying an empty lot and building according to their budget and needs. The upward settlements started slowly, accelerating quickly with the early 2000’s realization of the 2nd City vision.
Those post-Millenium developments are where we turn our attention, such as the recently finished Kahiwelo. These homes sit in the cooler temperatures the higher ground offers, as well as views across Kapolei and Ewa to the ocean ringing our Island.
9 single family home layouts are here, with both 2 stories (3/4BR, 1,637 to 2,071 sq ft inside) and single floor (3BR, 1,442 or 1,752 sq ft) configurations. All have 2 car garages and often generous yard spaces on front and back, with rolling green landscape around them.
Anuhea is an older community that arose in 2005 in Upper Makakilo with exclusively single family homes. The listings here offer choices of single level (3BR, 1,300 sq ft interiors) and 2 stories (mainly 4BR, approx 1,500 to 2,200 sq ft). The often large lanais are part of the enjoyment of views across the mountains, the 2nd City lights and as far as the ocean.
One of the claims to fame for the Wai Kaloi neighborhood is that a good number of residents can see, not just across Ewa and to the Pacific, but all the way east to Diamond Head. For those seeking separation inside their domicile, this is a winner, with not just 1 and 2 story models, but 3 stories as well.
For this project the developers created 7 floor plans, each with a Hawaiian name; Na’u (3BR/2BA/1 Story/1,936 sq ft), ‘Iliahi (4BR/2.5BA/2 Story/2,049 sq ft), Wiliwili (5BR/2.5 or 3BA/2 Story/2,379 sq ft), ‘Ohi’a (4BR/2.5 or 3BA/2 Story/2,347 sq ft), ‘Ilima (5BR/2.5 or 3BA/2 Story/2,478 sq ft), ‘A’ali’i (5BR/2.5BA/2 Story/2,512 sq ft) and Palaiwa (4BR/2.5 or 3BA/2 Story, 2,262 sq ft). [NOTE: Measurements include garage & lanai spaces].
There are more than a few Makakilo townhomes that should also get a look. Some went up in the 1970’s and 80’s, but you also have communities such as Kai Nani that went up in 2006. These are made for families with kids or even a kupuna or two, with 2 to 4 bedrooms that all have at least 1010 sq ft interiors and as much as 1757 sq ft. The views are just as good as you’d get in a house, over Kapolei and the Pacific’s blue tapestry.
With an outlook that’s one of the best around, yet not nearly as expensive in comparison, it’s no wonder so many are buying a piece of this hillside.
Not every Mililani Mauka home fits under our $800K ceiling. Always an in-demand Oahu neighborhood, recent years have seen some listings penetrate the $1M mark. Despite that, the majority sell in our range and represent an opportunity for those who are looking for a home that looks poised to appreciate substantially over the years.
Mililani Mauka is the smaller, later born and even more laid back sister to Mililani Town on the opposite side of the highway. Outside of a small strip of stores where Long’s, Starbucks and a few restaurants sit, this is a purely residential district. The feeling of sanctuary is heightened by the mountains and forest areas that surround much of the place, with large open grass areas in places.
The most affordable properties are the smaller sized townhomes in projects such as Hillsdale, Hampton Court, Crescent Lane and Havens of I’i Vistas, the latter a gated community. These all have 1 to 3 bedroom configurations with 500 to 1000 sq ft inside them, many with fenced back yards or courtyard areas.
One exception in this class is Destiny at Mililani Mauka, with 3 and 4 bedroom townhomes that rise from 972 sq ft interiors all the way to 1,614, making them a very nice option if you need the space.
Single family homes will often head to the $800K maximum we’ve set, pushed by demand as well as the quality of the houses and the life you get here. Still, even the upscale residences of the Island Classics project can be found at prices below that total. One currently is listed at just under our top end, with 3BR/3BA and 1,653 sq ft inside
Wherever they are, Mililani Mauka houses generally can be counted on to have not only a nice yard space, but greater space between you and your neighbor than in Town side. It’s a more elegant existence on this side of H2, just one reason why these homes come so close to our cutoff value. Get them while they still remain there.
WHAT MAKES THE BEST VALUE IN OAHU HOMES
The question of what qualifies as the Best Value neighborhood on Oahu to you is going to be answered differently for each individual. Is it the resort lifestyle you get from a home in Hoakalei, the choice of home styles in Ewa Gentry or the delicious feeling of cool, calm and quiet in Mililani Mauka. Whatever is that tipping point factor for you, it’ll feel right when you find it for the right price and that’s the unmistakable sign of a Best Value.