Roominess is a preoccupation with Honolulu real estate. With the always increasing cost of land, huge demand and the finite Island limits to build on, that’s unsurprising. Residence sizes here are often below Mainland comparable properties, leaving you to wonder where the big home are found.
What is a big home? For our purposes, we’ve set the standard at 3500sq ft interiors at up, a measurement that easily qualifies as Large in almost anyone’s eyes. Due to the conditions we’ve cited, it should be no surprise that these are mainly found in the higher end neighborhoods of Honolulu.
In short, we’ve profiled those areas, using a percentage basis that looks at all houses sold in each in the last decade, specifically what percent of them met or exceeded the 3500sq ft interior standard. In addition we’ve cited the median lot size of those same sold houses and added some of the nearby shopping and leisure options, including drive times (Non-Rush Hour).
Take a tour with us of Honolulu Neighborhoods with Large Interiors, in order from highest to lowest percentage rating. Some of our findings will probably surprise you.
Roomy Rating: 60% (6/10) homes sold in last decade were over 3500 sq ft. Median size was 15,935sq ft.
Kai Nani doesn’t have the profile of other Honolulu luxury single-family homes neighborhoods. With just 30 homes it doesn’t occupy a large part of the Honolulu real estate map and most recent years saw just 1 sale, some none. As noted, only 10 Kai Nani homes changed owners in 10 years, so there’s little inventory available at any time.
That condition is built partly on its flat, even lots that embrace the eastern side of well known Waialae Country Club’s links as well as the coastline just down the way from the Kahala Hotel. From these beachfront houses, and a few others further back, you can lay on sands and revel in the same boundless ocean view that the rich and famous journey thousands of miles to have for a few days just a block or two away.
Your beach is far from the nearest public access so few make it to this shore outside of nearby residents, making it something like your own recreation area.
The community itself is buffered from noise and traffic by being along a road that dead ends at the golf course, with little reason for anyone to come down it to even know it’s there at all. Emerge from the seclusion of Kai Nani and you’ll find Kahala Mall, with its Whole Foods, Long’s and numerous stores only about 5 minutes drive. Waikiki will take you 15 and Honolulu Airport a little over ½ an hour, all of this possible due to the highway running just outside your neighborhood’s mauka border.
Homes in Kai Nani are beyond generous in size, easily staking claim to luxury home status. The developers could have crammed more homes in here, but a more elegant vision won out, creating the expansive spaces that fit more fully alongside the Waialae Country Club’s upscale environment and the quiet sands kissed by the waves along this coastline.
HAWAII LOA RIDGE
Roomy Rating: 58% (114/198) of homes sold in last 10 years were over 3500 sq ft. Median size was 10,345sq ft.
For most, Hawaii Loa Ridge homes have to be imagined or toured on real estate websites. The lots all sit on the crown of this hill, at least 1,000 feet above the highway, reached through a guarded and gated entrance. The height, combined with the proximity to the coastline, means views of the Pacific are panoramic, little to nothing in sight between you and waters ahead besides your neighbors, of course.
Westward you look out and even down upon Diamond Head. To the east is Koko Head’s equally inspiring profile, making up the perfect bookend to this vista. The inherent slope to these lots makes this outlook possible, opening sightlines beautifully.
An HOA maintains the manicured grassy areas and park, as well as the standards owners must follow that keep both the neighborhood and the individual homes up to the level expected of an exclusive community.
From up there it’s just 10 to 15 minutes in one direction to Costco or Koko Marina Shopping Center, with the smaller strip malls of Aina Haina and Niu Valley even closer. Kahala Mall is about the same distance, 15 minutes by car, in the other direction. Kawaikui Beach Park is directly across Kalanianaole Hwy, with Maunalua Bay Beach Park and Hanauma Bay down the road.
Those who buy Hawaii Loa Ridge homes are in the market for not only the chance of ascending to this elevated oasis permanently, but also living in a residence with the size and amenities befitting the unique, even breathtaking setting. If you are one of them, you’ll find, on every lot, your desire has been fulfilled.
Roomy Rating: 51% (26/51) of homes sold in last 10 years were over 3500 sq ft. Median size was 15,235sq ft.
The homes of Portlock can be seen easily from Maunalua Bay Beach Park, the most prominent of them lining the eastern shoreline of the bay. Those houses, and the ones behind that make up the rest of this neighborhood, are the top shelf of Hawaii Kai’s real estate.
In fact, the waterfront homes on the lands south of Kalanianaole Hwy here are the only houses directly on the ocean in Hawaii Kai. The marina is very nice, but the main event is the Pacific.
The positioning of these lots provides a lookout across the bay and out to the ocean, with Diamond Head rising out of the Honolulu landscape straight ahead. Much of the residences on the other side of Portlock Rd take in this same sweeping scene due to the higher land they sit on. However, this should be thought of more as step-like, level lands, rather than sloping terrain.
From these addresses, Hawaii Kai’s extensive options are a 5 to 10 minute drive away, taking you to the shopping and entertainment of Koko Marina or over to Costco for larger purchases. Hanauma Bay is literally up the hill, with Sandy Beach a little further past it.
Still, it may be difficult to leave the comfort and luxury of what could only be called mansions or even small estates that occupy Portlock’s real estate. When you can sit and watch the waves roll by on the bay, it’s hard to find a reason to give it up. Even temporarily.
Roomy Rating: 50% (28/56) of homes sold in last 10 years were over 3500 sq ft. Median size of those homes was 12,866 sq ft.
Residents love the perspective of living in these houses on Kamehame Ridge, another of the places you can live nearer the clouds. From this elevation behind Koko Head you can see the marinas of Hawaii Kai, the sun setting beyond Diamond Head to the west and off to the visual limits of the Pacific Ocean before you. In fact, each lot is designed to preserve its sightline, backed up by community building regulations that enforce this now and for the future. Your view is yours, perpetually.
Being on a hilltop environment, the land has a bit of a slope to it in areas, but not at the steep angles you’ll find in similar developments. Those lands always have a minimum of 10K sq ft within your property, so the 3500 sq ft mark fits easily inside that.
From your Napali Haweo home a trip to Costco or Koko Marina can be done in a little over 10 minutes with Maunalua Bay Beach Park about the same. Hanauma Bay’s snorkeling wonders are 15 minutes to reach and Sandy Beach often less than 10 due to your access to Hawaii Kai Drive’s back way there.
With a median of almost 13K sq ft of land, these lots provide the space to take in the views and enjoy the clear air and peaceful streets. Who needs to climb Koko Head when you can live above it?
Roomy Rating: 50% (4/8) of homes sold in last 10 years were over 3500 sq ft. Median size of those homes was 13,361 sq ft.
Picking up almost immediately on the east border of Kai Nani, Wailupe Beach homes are all on the makai side of Kalanianaole Hwy, paralleling Aina Haina on the mauka side. Coming from town, the whole consists of residences along the ocean just before Wailupe Beach Park, then picking up again immediately on the Wailupe Peninsula, all of them level ground.
That first string of Wailupe Beach homes are all beachfront, the waves lapping up to the sands just behind them. Those on the peninsula are a mix of interior lots as well as those that sit right on the water on 3 sides of this land mass. Their backyards end right at the ocean, trading beach for, in most cases, a personal dock each has to tie up on or to just sit upon and take it all in.
The other main difference between the two sections is the lot size, the Beach properties varying much more in size (6K to 30K sq ft), but Peninsula lots beginning at almost twice the minimum (11K on up to 18K sq ft). Most are very accommodating in size, however, as any survey of these homes will prove.
Aina Haina has 2 strip malls for most common needs, but Kahala Mall and Hawaii Kai’s different shopping centers are all 15 minutes away at most, so dining or browsing in easy reach. You already have your own beach nearby as well so recreation is a stroll away.
With almost 150 residences in all, the fact that a mere 8 houses went on the market should tell the whole story. Get in when you can because the door doesn’t open very often.
Roomy Rating: 47% (16/34) of homes sold in last 10 years were over 3500 sq ft. Median land size of these was 14,440 sq ft.
It may be surprising that only 47% of Black Point homes surpassed 3500 sq ft inside, such is the reputation of this area for having some of the ‘crème de la crème’ of homes in Honolulu. What should be understood is that the Old Kamaaina homes survive here, perpetuating the ‘upscale, but not conspicuous’ residential style they preferred. They are amazing in their design and architecture, many early to mid-20th Century treasures, but they’re often not the massive displays you’d expect of a moneyed class.
What brought them here, as well as today’s buyer, was the majestic setting of this small peninsula, sticking out into the Pacific, just past Diamond Head’s eastern side. The waves come in strong here and crash against the elevated side of this volcanic land. Nature herself demanding your full attention.
The formation of this outcropping has left some sloping here and there, though nothing steep, so your home is primarily on even ground.
Privacy and security are addressed very well here, with at least 2 gated communities inside and even a must see Residents-Only salt water pool that’s fed by the ocean below it.
Being between Waikiki and Kahala you have the options of both – beaches, recreation, dining and shopping, all in 10 minutes drive. That includes the huge open spaces of Kapiolani Park or even Ala Moana Center or Kakaako’s choices, which will take a few added few minutes beyond Waikiki.
Vintage or not, Black Point homes all make their mark on the lands that have vestiges of Hawaii’s more primal past preserved here with the untamed power of the ocean and the ancient volcanic rock that made this place possible. Yin and Yang, modern luxury and nature’s timeless energy, both alive on Black Point.
Roomy Rating: 40% (25/62) of homes sold in last 10 years were over 3500 sq ft interior. Median lot size of these was 16,423sq ft.
Koko Kai picks up from above Portlock and then runs south to the very tip of the land that makes up Maunalua Bay’s eastern limit. That should make it clear that these homes have something special to them. Nowhere else on Oahu is there a neighborhood extended this far out from the mainland, making it at once a firm part of modern Honolulu, and yet somehow outside of it, too.
On the coastline Koko Kai houses sit on cliffside lots above the ocean, with the waves casting up their spray as they arrive beneath the edge of your property. They look across Maunalua Bay, out to the ocean’s horizon and to Diamond Head, including the always magnificent sunset over the waters.
There’s also popular surfing spot China Walls beside this coastline as well as Spitting Caves at the tail end of the community, just 2 examples of the natural splendors that are around you to marvel at and enjoy.
The land tends to be level in most places, but there is some slope to it, most noticeably as the neighborhood climbs the hill. This can be placed in the Plus pile as it raises the homes further back to views impossible without it.
Hawaii Kai’s shopping and dining is a very few minutes away, a matter of getting to Kalanianaole Hwy for the most part. The large beach playgrounds of Hanauma Bay and Sandy Beach are reachable through a 5 and 10 minute drive, respectively, too.
These large homes, with corresponding lot sizes, make for a comfortable life out here where the surf is active and the traffic isn’t. Most will take the deal any day.
Roomy Rating: 37% (80/214) of homes sold in last 10 years were over 3500 sq ft interior. Median lot size of the 214 homes was 10,377sq ft.
Diamond Head homes are another surprise, the image being large, exclusive mansions. That is a large part of the real estate here, but it is balanced by the Gold Coast area, with its condo properties and smaller, but architecturally rich vintage homes.
The contrast extend to the lay of the land(s), too. The Gold Coast and some other areas are level, the properties below Diamond Head Rd having more slope to them in varying degrees.
Living beside or beneath an edifice that is shorthand worldwide for ‘Hawaii’ is a privilege of its own, but you can add the endless sparkling ocean views from Oahu’s prime South Shore real estate with open sight lines for most on the slope section, or the Gold Coast condos that stand so close to the Pacific your lanai could almost be a diving platform.
From these luxury residences you can stroll into Waikiki from the western areas, the rest have 5 minutes in their car to get to all the entertainment and leisure there. Kahala Mall is 10 minutes tops from the furthest point of the neighborhood, where you can experience more local, but firmly upscale, shopping/dining, including a Whole Foods.
Roomy Rating: 35% (150/434) or homes sold in last 10 years were over 3500sq ft interior. Median lot size of all 434 homes was 11,069sq ft.
The flat lands here and open spaces, not only in the public areas, but between the residences, marks this community immediately as a very different from the rest of the city. Where most of Honolulu has gotten denser, not only horizontally but vertically, Kahala has managed to keep their spacious, low profile environs.
One reason for the lower percentage of over 3500sq ft residences is the fact that much of them, especially in the more mauka parts, are just 1 story. Head toward the ocean and they start getting much larger, with the Kahala Avenue beachfront mansions attracting gawkers who often can’t believe what they’re seeing. There are also vintage Kahala homes built by the wealthy kamaaina class that stand out even more today with their timeless appeal.
Though compared most often to Beverly Hills, a better parallel may be that Kahala is more like Carmel, CA. The same low-key, quiet elegance is here, in the friendlier Hawaii style, with pedestrian friendly streets and the door is open to visitors who come to enjoy the beaches or use the parks.
Those beaches are in walking distance for much of the local residents, as is Kahala Mall. Waikiki is a 10 minute drive at most and Hawaii Kai’s shopping and dining 15 minutes on Kalanianaole Hwy. This is more than a place where the wealthy gather. It is a real, active community and neighborhood. Only in Hawaii.
Roomy Rating: 33% (11/33) of homes sold in last 10 years had over 3500sq ft interiors. Median lot size of all 33 homes was 11,476sq ft.
You could say that the Niu Beach neighborhood is the eastern twin of Wailupe Beach, with a very similar geography – beachfront homes along Kalanianaole Hwy giving way to the peninsula section.
This time the peninsula is smaller, with just one street that circles within it, including 20 homes in Niu Beach that are oceanfront homes and the most in-demand of all. A sea channel was created long ago from this land so docks are standard for those, allowing owners to sail out to the open Pacific as well as come home and tie up.
From most of these flat, even lots you can see out to Maunalua Bay and the active life on it as the numerous Hawaii Kai area boats and other crafts make their way across your vista.
The Kalanianaole Hwy beachfront homes benefit from having their stretch of sand relatively removed for outsiders, with no public access directly to it. Quiet, peaceful strolls or that delicious feeling of having the swells to yourself come with the deed to your Niu Beach house.
Residents can be pulling into Koko Marina or Costco within 10 minutes or less, with the same amount of time getting you to Kahala Mall in the opposite direction. Sailing to Koko Marina will take longer, but for some Niu Beach residents that is an option. And isn’t that what you want in a home – options?
Large Interiors & Your Honolulu Real Estate Satisfaction
The dimensions within a home are rarely the one and only criteria for it being the Right One. It is one of the most important factors, though, as anyone with kids will tell you. Space can have a direct impact on the happiness of a family or even a couple, giving needed breathing room to all. It also opens up possibilities to your lives otherwise impossible.
With the growing density of Honolulu, and much of the rest of Oahu, it’s important to know where to go to get what you want, because rarely does anyone complain about having too much room.