Were You Lucky Enough to Buy a Condo at Ke Kilohana?

In the end, one in three applicants got a condo at Ward Village’s Ke Kilohana.
Photos: Courtesy of Ke Kilohana 


Hawai‘i folks often bemoan the lack of a Powerball-type lottery in the state. But maybe it’s for the best, because the kind of lottery we do have—for new housing developments—are a lot easier to win than the one-in-a-million long shots on the Mainland.


Hawai‘i’s latest lottery was at Ward Village’s Ke Kilohana, where 375 reserved housing units were recently doled out. We talked about the project back in March, and the lottery and selection of units happened this past week.



While more than 3,000 application packets arrived at the Ward Village offices, in the end, only 956 buyers were in the lottery for 375 reserved housing units. Better than one-in-three odds? Beats the Powerball.


SEE ALSO: Kaka‘ako Condo Project Looking For First-Time Buyers


Remember when the Howard Hughes Corp. asked to make the building a rental property instead of selling off the building’s units? One reason was that it’s harder to find applicants who meet all the requirements set by the Hawai‘i Community Development Authority to buy reserved housing than it is to find qualified renters.



Qualified applicants couldn’t already own a majority interest in a home, a single applicant couldn’t make more than $85,150, and there were many other restrictions that whittled down the pool of applicants to a relatively small number.


The lottery was streamed live online at kekilohana.com, so many likely followed along from home. A handful of potential buyers attended the lottery to see if their number would be called. You didn’t need to be present to win, of course, but a friend said she felt she’d be luckier if she went.


SEE ALSO: The Price Tag of These New Kaka‘ako Condos Is Generating Plenty of Interest From First-Time Buyers


What’s it like to sit for three hours, hoping for the opportunity to live in one of Honolulu’s most popular neighborhoods? “Boring,” said a friend with a laugh. The salespeople were professional and the buyers were quiet. “I was stressing, and I wasn’t the only one,” she said.


The process, which took place at the IBM Building, was not quick. There were some families present, and the crowd was mostly young—millenials as far as the eye could see. Most were glued to their phones. At 40, our friend felt old. Time went on, and she was not picked, time and time again. She stayed well past 375, until the very end. While disappointed, she was able to laugh as she told me her number was selected almost dead last. “Just not meant to be for me, but still, fun to see the people picked get excited and high-five one another. Looks like I’ll keep renting for the foreseeable future.”