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Real Estate

Spook-tacular Real Estate

I love a good ghost story, and, here on Oahu, there are plenty of tales of spooks and ghosts and things that go bump in the night. And there are definitely haunted-house (and haunted-building) stories galore.
2010.10.29 12:14 PM

Vintage Ilikai

HONOLULU Magazine goes back to 1888, and was called Paradise of the Pacific until 1966, so its back issues act like a time capsule of Hawaii's pre- and post-statehood years. I particularly love the vintage condominium and home advertisements in the 60s and 70s issues. I found one that touted its “asbestos flooring” (fireproof, one of our editors cracked), and another that described Makaha as the “new Waikiki.” The advertisements, cheesy and retro as they may be, offer a snapshot of a different era, evidence of the island’s swift development during those decades.
2010.10.28 03:15 PM

Paiko Drive Perfection

I first wrote about this house a few years ago for another magazine, and I’m still just as enamored with its idyllic, away-from-it-all location—at the end of a narrow, dirt drive surrounded by the Paiko Lagoon Bird Sanctuary and nearby conservation lands. Back then, I wrote in my notes that the house “doesn’t so much rise up to greet you as poke its head through the bushes. It’s a very subtle design, with a flat roof that echoes the linear line of the ocean and the horizon.” How very poetic of me.
2010.10.27 02:35 PM

Palolo’s Tree House

If you’re familiar with the phrases “compostable toilet,” “off the grid” and “water catchment system,” then this uber-green house in the very back of Palolo Valley may just be your slice of real estate heaven. The “tree house,” which is not actually a legal living structure—it’s zoned as a screened porch—is situated on 6.33 acres, including 122 feet of mountaintop at the property’s apex, whole sections of which are planted with papaya, mango, lychee, banana, avocado, lime, lemon, grapefruit and breadfruit trees, as well as rosemary, heather, heliconia and ginger plants. George of the Jungle would be jealous.
2010.10.26 03:19 PM

Beachfront Lanikai Villa Reduced by $2 Million

“It’s the only home on Lanikai Beach that has sandy beach, a yard and a big house,” says Annie Kwock. “Whereas, the other listings in Lanikai that have a nice yard and pool are on the sea wall. This house has got great beach access, and it’s private. And you just don’t see this style in Hawaii. It’s very charming and romantic. It has kind of a Romeo and Juliet feel inside.” The home’s design, by architect Ralph Gray, is textbook Mediterranean: A gleaming, white-stucco exterior contrasts a turquoise-tiled roof, while curved doorways and stone pillars mark the transitions between indoor-outdoor living spaces.
2010.10.25 08:16 PM

Open House Pick of the Week: Kalele Kai

Kalele Kai is a high-end, waterfront condominium community in Hawaii Kai with 229 two- and three-bedroom condos spread across three, six-story mid-rise buildings, as well as 10 three-bedroom waterfront town houses. It's an in-demand address thanks to its proximity to beaches and shopping, secure, gated entrance, and marina, mountain and ocean views. Amenities include clubhouse facilities, swimming pool with whirlpool spa, reserved parking and private boat slips. Resale prices are currently listed between the mid-$600s to just over $1 million, and rentals in this community can fetch between $2,000 and $3,500 per month.
2010.10.22 02:06 PM

The Real Deal: The Edition Hotel

In case you somehow missed the massive amounts of media hype, the Edition hotel had its grand opening this past weekend. While trying not to be distracted by the rarefied gathering of Honolulu’s hipster elite and a smattering of Hollywood celebs (hey, was that Kumar?), I found myself wondering: Will the Edition be good for real estate?
2010.10.21 05:12 PM

Elegance Personified: Dowsett-Ave. Estate for Sale

My favorite part of a home tour happens before I even reach the front door: I love coming up the driveway, watching as a home slowly reveals itself. And this Dowsett-Ave. residence, which is set back from the road, hidden behind a sentinel-like row of towering shrubs, has a big reveal. But not the kind you get with so many of the newer homes, which have larger-than-life, demanding presences. No, with this house, I felt as if I’d been transported to a French countryside estate full of old-time, graceful elegance. It’s a classy grande dame of a home, and it makes me happy to know that these places still quietly exist here on Oahu.
2010.10.20 05:03 PM

Neighborhood Profile: Makakilo

When I talk about heading out to Makakilo, it’s akin to plotting a long-distance road trip: Pack some snacks, a few drinks and sunscreen, kids, ’cause we’re heading to Makakilo! OK, I exaggerate, but the hour-long (or so) commute from downtown to the west-side community is a hike, which makes the neighborhood’s rapid growth all the more astonishing in my mind. But I think I’ve finally figured out the keys to Makakilo’s success: affordability, cooler-than-Ewa weather, and space to spread out.
2010.10.19 03:55 PM

What You Need to Know: HOA Fees

According to the Community Associations Institute, there are nearly 310,000 association-governed communities (this includes homeowners’ associations, condominiums, cooperatives and other planned communities) in the United States, representing approximately 25-million individual housing units. The general role of a homeowners’ association is to maintain a community’s common areas—roads, parks, landscaping, recreation centers, swimming pools, clubhouses—and homeowners are required to pay association dues to fund the upkeep and contribute to the association’s reserve. On Oahu, homeowners’ association (HOA) fees can cost anywhere from $9 to $3,000 per month, depending on the services and amenities covered by the association.
2010.10.18 07:03 PM

This Week’s Open House Pick: Ewa Beach

I wrote about the Ka Makana at Hoakalei resort community a few weeks back. If you’ll recall, I mentioned that the community’s most affordable housing options, the Lehua Series town houses, were temporarily sold out. Well, lo and behold, the first town home resale has hit the market, and it will be open this Sunday.
2010.10.15 03:01 PM

Weekly Waikiki Real Estate Walking Tours

The latest home-buying trend has legs, er, feet. As evidenced by two of my recent posts (see my stories on Kailua real estate bike tours and Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties’ Waikiki is Open event), eco-friendly real estate tours are popping up left and right. But it seems I missed one: Century 21 All Islands has long been hosting weekly real estate walking tours in Waikiki.
2010.10.14 05:24 PM

Lanikai House Reduced, Listed for Under $1.6 Million

“I’ve had eight sales in Lanikai in the past year, all good properties,” says realtor Annie Kwock, as she gestures toward a new-ish, 4,000-sq.-ft. residence down the road that sold, without ever coming on the market, for $3,350,000. Another nearby listing, this one also a private sale, went for $1,665,000. So, a house in this neighborhood priced at $1,580,000 is something of a good deal? “It’s a phenomenal deal,” says Kwock of this Koohoo Pl. listing.
2010.10.13 07:16 PM

Manoa Bed & Breakfast Still Hopes to Welcome Buyer

Manoa Valley Inn is one of the neighborhood’s most iconic residences, and certainly one of the island’s most charming historic homes. Built in 1911, the residence was formerly known as the John Guild House, named after the secretary of Alexander & Baldwin who acquired and renovated the property to its current form in 1919. In fact, the home, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, has been owned by several prominent local figures throughout its history.
2010.10.12 06:11 PM

Hawaii’s Most Expensive Zip Codes

Forbes recently released its annual listing of America’s Most Expensive Zip Codes, and Hawaii’s top-ranking zip codes raised more than a few eyebrows. That’s because, according to the Forbes list, Hawaii’s most expensive zip code is 96703, Anahola, which came in at number 60 with a median home price of $1,921,875. The second-most expensive zip code in the islands? That would be 96714, Hanalei, which came in at No. 72 on the Forbes list with a median home price of $1,732,833. So how did these two Kauai zip codes out-rank Oahu’s consistently pricey 96821 (Aina Haina), which came in third?
2010.10.11 07:03 PM

This Weekend’s Open-House Pick

For this weekend’s open-house pick, I’ve set my sights on Manoa—specifically, the former caretaker residence to the Straub Estate. According to listing agent Kai McDurmin, the original Straub home, built in 1919, sat on approximately an acre of land tucked into the back of the valley, and the caretakers’ quarters was built on part of the property in 1939. The entire estate was later subdivided into three parcels, one of which included the caretakers’ residence.
2010.10.08 06:16 PM

September Real Estate Stats for Oahu

The Honolulu Board of Realtors released the September residential resales statistics for Oahu yesterday. Overall, changes in the market last month were minimal, showing mostly small, steady gains, which points to a pretty stable housing market.
2010.10.07 06:53 PM

Free First-Time Homebuyer Seminars

Prudential Locations will be hosting two first-time homebuyer seminars this month, both of which are free and open to the public.
2010.10.06 04:30 PM

The Lowdown on Honolulu's Luxury Market

I was intrigued by some of the data detailed in the 2010 Luxury Home Real Estate Market Report released by Prudential Locations early last month, and thought I'd pass along a few of the more intriguing highlights.
2010.10.05 05:07 PM

Update: The Pacifica in Honolulu

The Pacifica condominium building, formerly known as Moana Vista, got off to a bit of a rough start when the project went into foreclosure in early 2009. But things have certainly turned around since developer OliverMcMillan acquired the project in late 2009. The building is coming along—it will get its top at the end of this year, and completion is projected for fall 2011—and sales have been picking up. There are currently 360 condos under contract, leaving only about 130 on the market. Of those, approximately 30 are reserved housing, which I’ll get to in a minute, and 100 are market-rate residences.
2010.10.04 04:53 PM

Open House: Price-Reduced Kaneohe Townhome

It’s Friday, which means it’s once again time to talk open houses. This week I’m turning my attention to Kaneohe, more specifically, the Ahuimanu area. This townhouse is located in Club View Gardens III, a quiet townhouse community popular with new-home buyers, retirees and military families who appreciate the well-maintained grounds, recreation center and clubhouse, easy access to the H-3 (about a 15-minute drive) and Windward Mall (about five minutes away).
2010.10.01 06:15 PM

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