About Hawaii Kai Hawaii Kai represents Hawaii’s premier marina community. Developed by Henry Kaiser in the 1960’s, wetlands, fishponds and pig farms gave way to a modern Honolulu real estate development covering over 6,000 acres on the most eastern part of Honolulu with marina front homes as well as shopping, restaurants and schools around a central 500 acre marina.
Hawaii Kai real estate today includes over 10,000 households and is bordered by Kuliouou Beach Park to the west, the Koolau mountain ridgeline to the north, the ocean to the south and Makapuu Point with it’s lighthouse to the east, marking the most eastern spot of the island of Oahu. Hawaii Kai homes for sale are often valued between $700K to $15M for the most luxurious oceanfront properties on Portlock Rd. Lot sizes run between 5,000 sq ft to over 1 acre.
Insight to Hawaii Kai Homes This is one of Honolulu’s more fascinating regions with a lifestyle like no other. Nowhere else in Hawaii can you ride a boat from your backyard boat dock across the marina to get groceries, catch a movie or dinner, and return without the nuisance of street traffic lights. The real estate in Hawaii Kai is spread across several sub-neighborhoods, including the affluent oceanfront Portlock with adjacent Triangle. Mariners Ridge, Kamehame Ridge and the newer Napali Haweo (1991) are all boasting commanding views of the ocean, Koko Crater and Koko Head with the marina below. Hawaii Kai real estate also includes the valley neighborhoods of Hahaione, Mariners Valley and Kalama Valley.
Three newer Hawaii Kai real estate developments include the gated marina front community Peninsula at Hawaii Kai (630 properties built in 2002), Kamilo Nui (54 homes built in 2003) and Koko Villas (70 homes built in 2005), all modern additions to a diverse mix of Hawaii Kai homes. Noteworthy and popular are also the marina front communities of Mariners Cove and Anchorage with adjacent Kealaula Kai and the gated golf course community at Queens Gate.
Hawaii Kai Neighborhood The unique layout of the marina with several ‘fingers’ creates the feel of a ‘Little Venice’ in Honolulu. Boat ramps allow marina access for those that are not right on the water. The marina connects with the ocean at Moanalua Bay. Just make sure your boat clears the 13 foot bridge height to get to the open ocean. All of the real estate in Hawaii Kai is on a private sewer system with a bi-monthly sewer bill and all marina front properties are part of the Hawaii Kai Marina Association with a modest monthly marina fee. Hawaii Kai homes for sale on the marina can vary depending on the marina width, views and orientation towards tradewinds and more, but typically range between $1M to $2.5M.
Hawaii Kai truly is a watersport paradise with ideal ocean conditions for snorkeling, diving, surfing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, boating, kayaking, jet skiing, paddle boarding, boogie boarding and parasailing. By Maunalua Bay Beach Park the ocean is calm, by Hanauma Bay the variety of fish are endless and by Sandy Beach big waves are crashing on the shore.
Hawaii Kai boasts three shopping centers that include Costco and Safeway. World renowned Roy’s Restaurant is one among many great establishments to dine at. Medical facilities, schools, movie theatres, golf course are all within the vicinity. Nestled among Hawaii Kai’s real estate are several parks, including a large scale dog park where owners gather early evenings to let their pets lose for some fun. Truly an area with a unique small town feel with all it has to offer. It is no surprise that Henry Kaiser himself decided to develop and reside in a Hawaii Kai home on a prime 5-acre oceanfront lot on Portlock Rd. What is good for Mr Kaiser might be good for you too!
Hawaii Kai’s Perfect Microclimate Hawaii Kai enjoys a mild pleasant micro climate, slightly drier compared to Kailua and Kaneohe. Gentle prevailing northeasterly Tradewinds pass over the islands about 300 days per year. The Tradewinds bring some of the cleanest fresh air you can find, having travelled 2,500 miles over the ocean far removed from any source of pollution before ending up at Oahu’s eastern shores. Reaching the Koolau mountain range along the windward side of the island, the warm humid fresh air gets pushed up, cools down and forms clouds that rain out. This is why we often see rain in front of the mountains on the windward side while Oahu’s southern shore and the western, aka Leeward side of Oahu enjoys plenty sunshine and less humidity.
Hawaii Kai makes up the south-eastern corner of the Oahu island. Here you can enjoy a special unique combination of double benefits: a.) some of the cleanest, fresh unpolluted air for thousands of miles, together with b.) the finest year-round oceanic climate on the entire planet, not too humid, mostly sunny and consistently between average 71 and 84 degrees F. Welcome to paradise.
More About Hawaii Kai The subject of Hawaii Kai real estate usually begins, and sometimes even ends, with the marina. It's a dominating feature of the landscape that you just can't overlook. It can be a dominant reason for settling in this community, the draw of the water is that strong in us.
To make the best decision on buying a Hawaii Kai home, you need to know more than that. It requires the whole picture of what living here means, particularly on a daily basis.
An honest assessment must include the drawbacks as much as the benefits. Commuting is one such area, with a major portion of residents working in the Waikiki to Downtown region. There's just one way to get there – Kalanianaole Hwy. That makes for often slow traffic to and from work. An accident can stop movement cold. With no back roads or alternate routes, it is a factor in your day, no question.
Another issue often unrealized by those unfamiliar with this part of Oahu is that, though this is a water-oriented community, it's not a beachfront one. The sandy stretches that are along the prime sections before Hanauma Bay are extremely rough and rocky, so you won't be spending time there on your towel. You'll need to head east for the closest bed of smooth beach.
These aren't necessarily deal breakers, but they should be part of your process in deciding to buy a home in Hawaii Kai or not. Equally important in that journey are the items in the Pro column, which we'll look at next.
WHERE HAWAII KAI SHINES Living near, or even surrounded by, this marina is clearly a benefit that extends to every Hawaii Kai home. From the fortunate whose residence sits right on it to the condos that look out on this scenery or even those further in the valley who still enjoy its presence in their lives, it is a wonderfully therapeutic sight. You feel somehow a tranquil effect on your day, just by its being there.
Even those farther from that central feature have their own rewards. Portlock, often called the Kahala of Hawaii Kai, lines the east shore of Maunalua Bay so many of those homes have their own body of water on their doorsteps.
The ridgetop neighborhood of Napali Haweo, which can be compared to Hawaii Loa Ridge not only because of its luxurious houses, but also the sweeping views residents have from the heights of both the marina and the Pacific.
For the many who have children, or will have them, you can rest easy about the schools, too. The local institutions, from elementary on up, are extremely well-rated and have excellent advanced placement programs to accelerate learning.
Far more could be said about the Pros side of Hawaii Kai real estate, like the wide open skyline, due to the high-rises being on the sides and back of the valley, or the nearby shopping and dining of its two major shopping centers.
Those further pluses will be very apparent once you take a closer look, however. You may indeed face a slower trip home from work sometimes, but on arrival, you'll remember exactly why you came here. We promise.
THE FUTURE OF HAWAII KAI REAL ESTATE Any future development of Hawaii Kai will be small, if it happens at all. A recent example is the 7000 Hawaii Kai Dr project, originally forecast for completion in late 2013, that still sits stalled. Another proposal to build a grocery store on the Great Lawn area was killed by community complaints. Residents feel the limit has been reached on building here, so the smart bet is Hawaii Kai stays as it is, or close to it for the foreseeable future.
This community has always been extremely attractive, so the static inventory can only mean climbing prices and values. Even though this is mainly an upper-middle class, rather than a luxury neighborhood, there's no mistaking that prices are reaching the lower levels of the latter.
What's clear is buying sooner, rather than later, is the way to go here. The appeal of this place is not going to go away, so a smart real estate strategy and timing is crucial to avoid paying what may be far above your initially projected budget.
AREA AMENITIES Hawaii Kai is rich in many aspects that will impact the most important parts of your life. Excellent schools. Numerous medical centers that cover every member of your family. Extensive shopping. All this plus you're surrounded by scenery that display both nature's power, like Koko Head, and man's, in the form of the marina.
You'll find information on not only these features, but much more in the sections below. They'll tell you much about whether this should be your new home.
Schools & Childcare Hawaii Kai has full schooling options, including 3 elementary schools. The public schools are excellent, always at or near the top of the ratings. It only lacks a higher-education choice nearby, though those are well within commuting distance.
Preschools – There's a trio of preschools in the district. Kuapa KCAA is on the eastern end on Hawaii Kai Dr, Kamaaina Kids is located in the west, next to the highway, and technically, just outside Hawaii Kai, is Kilohana.
Kamiloiki Elementary – Serves the eastern side of Hawaii Kai from its location on hillside behind Koko Head. Their vision is to be a “premier math and science/technology center”.
Koko Head Elementary – Found just makai of Kalanianaole Hwy where Portlock begins. The school has a new Environmental Science focus that is integrated across the entire curriculum for all grades.
Haha'ione Elementary – Recently cited as the Best Public School in Hawaii by Niche Rankings, it sits back just behind the marina's most mauka point in the Haha'ione section of Hawaii Kai.
Niu Valley Middle School – Not in Hawaii Kai, it's a short distance west off of Kalanianaole Hwy. 6th to 8th Graders attend here. In 2013 Niu Valley earned the highest score of all Hawaii's public middle schools from the Strive HI rating & indexing program, sanctioned by the US Dept of Education.
Kaiser High School – Located between the eastern side of the marina and Koko Head Park, it consistently attains high testing scores and has an exceptionally deep extracurricular program.
Honolulu Waldorf School – 2 campuses, both nearby. Kindergarten to 8th Grades in Niu Valley and High School in Aina Haina. Unique curriculum that mixes artistic activities with traditional schooling as well as an emphasis on social responsibility.
Kapiolani Community College – Just under 8 miles from Hawaii Kai, they offer extensive certification programs, training in trades as well as academic courses.
UH-Manoa – Hawaii's primary higher education center, students have numerous degree programs, from Bachelor to Doctoral levels, available here. A wide range of areas of study.
Public Transportation Though Hawaii Kai is an outpost for The Bus, which is centered in the Kalihi area, there are about 6 lines that come here, including one that ends up at UH-Manoa. It is also right on the Beach Bus line (#23), which is an alternate way to get to Hanauma Bay or Sandy Beach easily. Though some transferring may be necessary, you can still make it to most major destinations, such as Downtown without much trouble.
Supermarkets & Groceries There are 2 grocery choices for residents, almost next door to each other. Costco, in the Hawaii Kai Town Center, has its famous bulk food offerings, perfect for families who go through more in less time. A block mauka is Safeway, where you'll find a broad selection of groceries in more traditional sizes.
Shopping Alternatives Hawaii Kai has 2 shopping centers that will easily dominate where you'll go for daily needs as well as leisure times. Both have areas where you can tie up your boat, a uniquely local way to run your errands.
Hawaii Kai Town Center – The smaller of the two, it still gets extensive traffic just from the presence of Costco. Bargain hunters also love the Ross store, but there are some good restaurants, as well, from affordable eats to the high-end cuisine of Roy's.
Koko Marina Shopping Center – This is where residents come to not just shop, but hang out. More than 60 stores, restaurants and services, it also has the only movie theaters in the area. Great places to pau hana with some good food or a relaxing drink with friends, it also has many specialty and boutique shops that fit this upper-middle class community's tastes.
Hospitals & Health Care If you must get sick or injured, this is one of the best places on Oahu to be. Hawaii's 3 major medical centers all have facilities here so you're only minutes away from getting care. Whether you just need a checkup or you're facing a real emergency, you won't have to go very far at all.
Queen's Health Care – Primary care for adults as well as a women's-focused department. Does lack pediatric services, though it does have 'episodic' care for those 16 years and older.
Kaiser Permanente Hawaii Kai – Full family medicine services, including pediatric, as well as behavioral health care. Cosmetic dermatology offered at this location, too.
Island Urgent Care – Primarily a facility for urgent or immediate needs, such as injuries, sudden illness and other issues that an Emergency Room would treat.
Straub Hawaii Kai Family Health Center – Complete family care, with separate pediatric and women's departments. Urgent and Walk-In care provided. Also has family planning and gynecology services.
Your Recreation & Leisure Options
Hawaii Kai Beaches One drawback, as discussed, is that there aren't any real beaches in central Hawaii Kai. The sands you'll see from afar are actually filled with rocks and make going barefoot, let alone lying out, practically impossible. This is more coastline.
Despite that, the ocean is beautiful and what it lacks in sunbathing space, it makes up in being perfect for boaters and other water lovers. You'll see people out there paddling, sailing and even kiteboarding off of this neighborhood at all hours. It's just an extension of the community.
If you do want that true beach experience, no problem. It's not far down the highway. Here's your best choices for the whole range of Hawaii Kai's shoreline and ocean pursuits.
Sandy Beach Park – Beautiful beach past Hanauma Bay on Kalanianaole Hwy. However, extremely powerful waves can make even wading tough. Numerous injuries every year due to this, so exercise caution or stay on the sand.
Maunalua Bay Beach Park – 'Beach' is actually pretty rocky, so it's hard going. However, the view of the ocean is fantastic, especially at sunset. Has boat ramp, so it's a great place to put in your kayak or small watercraft.
Hanauma Bay – Very famous, and popular, tourist spot, but the great beach and incredible underwater sights bring lots of locals, too. Show your Hawaii ID and it's free admission. Parking is $1.00. Best advice – come early before it gets too crowded.
Other Recreation You have more than a few small parks scattered around the town. However, the real ground zero for those who want to do more than stretch their legs or get some quiet time comes down to one amazing place.
Koko Head District Park – Huge area that extends from Koko Head itself, across the highway and to the end of Portlock. All kinds of athletic and community facilities, including tennis, volleyball and basketball courts, an archery range and a ceramics room. If you're active, you'll spend at least some time here.
Koko Head Trail – Though part of the above park, it deserves its own entry. Tough, but rewarding, hike that ends with an incredible view over the area. Must be done by at least once by every Oahu resident.
Hawaii Kai Dog Park – There are a lot of dog owners around here and while a walk is always good, this fenced-in area lets your best friend run free safely.
Dining & Restaurants Your dining options are almost exclusively collected in the two local main shopping centers as well as a couple that are a little to the west on Kalanianaole. This makes for spontaneous choices if you so choose, having more than one option once you arrive. Hawaii Kai and the nearby areas have eating habits that focus that doesn't include much fine dining. More friendly and filling. Here's a line-up that'll introduce you to some almost fail-safe tastes.
Roy's – The original location of celebrated chef Roy Yamaguchi's small chain of restaurants. Pacific Rim cuisine that has legions of fans who gladly pay a premium for it.
Moena Cafe – Strictly breakfast and brunch dishes that have people flocking here to try their loco moco and pancakes, especially the chantilly flavor. Open from 6:30AM to 3PM.
Island Brew Coffeehouse – Another place that makes breakfast all day. If that's your taste, give the waffles a try. Also have acai bowls and bagel sandwiches that are delicious and filling. Dog friendly and many tables have marina views.
Le Bistro (Niu Valley) – Upscale French restaurant that customers agree is very romantic. The Beef Quartet and the Short Ribs are easily the most popular dishes, but there's a lot to love besides those. Make reservations a few days early as they fill their schedule fast.
Maile's Thai Bistro – If you like Thai food, or want to give it a try, this is your place. Rave reviews from fans for their green curry, green papaya salad and beef sashimi. One caution: Though food is still excellent, some recent complaints that service has declined.
Assagio's Hawaii Kai – Part of small local chain of Italian restaurants that serve food from southern Italy. Come for warm comfort food that is rich in tastes and seasonings, but inexpensive in price. The ravioli is a good way to start.
Aina Haina Chop Suey – Ono Chinese food that isn't oily or heavy on MSG, just good tasting. Reviewers highlight their Walnut Shrimp and Minute Chicken Cake Noodles here. Plenty of parking and great service, too.
Jack's Restaurant (Aina Haina) – Local food at local-friendly prices. If rice is a standard part of your meals, you need to come here. Also serves breakfast food, too. Hours are 6AM to 2PM, every day.
Gyotaku (Niu Valley) – Japanese restaurant with a broad menu. Poke nachos, many 'bowls' – california roll, ninja, poke, etc. - ,a selection of teishoku and more. Brown rice sushi available for the health-conscious diner. Top if off with their Okinawan Sweet Potato Pie!
Kona Brewing Company – A place for pau hana and relaxing with friend. Serves the Kona Brewing Co's standard beers as well as special releases so there's always something new. Mainly local ingredients are used to make healthy or at least healthier versions of popular foods. Most are social, finger food like pizza and sandwiches, but salads as well. The imu pork sandwich is ono!
Distances From Hawaii Kai to Other Parts of Oahu Kahala Mall: 6.7 miles Waikiki: 10.3 miles Honolulu Airport: 16.7 miles Downtown Honolulu: 12.2 miles Ala Moana Shopping Center: 10.4 miles Pearl Harbor/Hickam: 18.6 miles Pearlridge Shopping Center: 19.7 miles Mililani: 30.3 miles Kapolei: 32 miles Kaneohe: 18 miles Kailua: 16.2 miles Lanikai: 16.2 miles Waimanalo: 10.8 miles North Shore (Haleiwa): 40.9 miles Sunset Beach: 48.1 miles
Hawaii Kai History Inevitably, and understandably, most histories of Hawaii Kai real estate begin and end with Henry Kaiser. He's not the whole story, though.
The earliest settlers to come here are believed to be from the first great Polynesian migration around 947AD from the Marquesas, fleeing tribal conflict at home. For centuries following this time, life was very quiet on this part of Oahu. Fishing was the primary way of life until well into the 1800's.
The family of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop were given ownership of all the land of Hawaii Kai under the Great Mahele division in 1848. Through that, the possession passed on to the Bishop Trust after the Princess' death in 1884.
In 1900 cattle ranching was established here, becoming a primary industry, on land at least. For decades this was a prime mover of the local economy, but it met a sudden end that it never recovered from. The 1946 tsunami hit this area hard, wiping out houses, barns, fields and everything else in its path.
Hawaii Kai homes that did survive were abandoned and the land turned to swamp. The district became known mainly for a strong smell that motorists from downtown drove quickly through on their way to a popular spot called Lucky's Tavern. That's how it stood for 15 years.
Henry Kaiser signed the land lease with the Bishop Estate in 1961, breaking ground on the community that you see today on your way down Kalanianaole Highway. The marina was dug out, new real estate in Hawaii Kai went up and shopping malls opened, forming a charming waterfront neighborhood that erased the remains of desolation.
One thing hasn't changed, though. The fishing in Hawaii Kai is still great!
We exclude Leasehold data from this market analysis because Leasehold properties do not compare with regular Fee Simple properties.
We use median instead of the average because it depicts more accurately a central tendency to the sample size. Example: Take 5 numbers - 3, 5, 7, 9, 21. The median is 7 (the middle number) and the average is 9 (sum of all divided by 5).
We count days on market from listing date through closing date.