Do you dream of living in Hawaii?

Stop dreaming and start taking action!

Moving To Hawaii e-book coverIn the summer of 2010, I made my own dream of moving to Hawaii come true. As I type this, I’m enjoying the balmy breeze coming through the window and a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean from my home in Honolulu. Life is good here, and it can be yours as well!

In April 2011, I created my website How To Live In Hawaii to share my personal experience and first-hand knowledge of moving to Hawaii. Since then, I’ve researched and written over 100 articles for the site. Positive reader response made me realize there was a need for a more cohesive guide on moving to Hawaii — something that extracted the best info from my articles, answered further questions about moving to Hawaii, updated all statistics and links, and organized the whole shebang in an easy-to-follow, step-by-step format.

After a year of further research and writing, that guide now exists: My e-book Moving To Hawaii: A Step-By-Step Guide provides all the know-how you need to plan and execute your move to Hawaii, with over 250 pages of detailed instructions, tips, and links to online resources. The 30-step format guides you through the entire moving process and serves as an action plan to keep you moving forward toward you goal.

“Aloha! We bought your eBook “Moving to Hawaii: A Step-By-Step Guide and we highly recommend it! It is an excellent resource for anyone moving to Hawaii. We have several of the other “move to/live in Hawaii” books out there. However, your eBook is the best of all them. The book is up to date, informative, and ever so practical. The links you provide in the book are immensely helpful. Your detailed advice for pet owners clarifies the pet import process. The calculation sheets you provide are very, very useful. Anyone seriously considering moving to Hawaii should definitely purchase your eBook. Mahalo!” — Chet

“I appreciate the level of detail you’ve included in your blog and in your book. It’s extremely helpful for me to see all the information laid out step by step with such clarity.” — Adele from Berkeley, CA

Moving To Hawaii: A Step-By-Step Guide is an e-book, so it offers:

Table of contents for "Moving To Hawaii: A Step-By-Step Guide" by Michele Meyer.

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For more up-to-date, detailed info on moving to Hawaii, check out my e-book: Moving To Hawaii: A Step-By-Step Guide

Are You Getting Unsolicited Emails From Me? Please Read…

It has just come to my attention that someone is sending unsolicited email messages that appear to be from me. In the last 24 hours, I have received unsubscribe requests from four different people, but when I checked my list of email subscribers, none of their email address were on there.

These emails are not coming from me — they are coming from someone posing as me. I send email messages only to people who have subscribed to my email list, which requires a two-step opt-in process to prevent strangers from signing you up. Also, any email messages I send to my subscribers always have an unsubscribe link at the end of each message.

I am currently investigating  this matter further with my email list service, AWeber, to see if I can stop this imposter. If you are one of the recipients of these unsolicited emails, I apologize for the spam you are receiving and the inconvenience it is causing you. I take this matter very seriously, and will do everything I can to put an end to it.

Aloha,

Michele

For more up-to-date, detailed info on moving to Hawaii, check out my e-book: Moving To Hawaii: A Step-By-Step Guide

13th Annual Holiday Science & Tech Fair

HTDC logoLooking to network or find a job in Hawaii’s tech industry? Don’t miss HTDC’s 13th Annual Holiday Science & Tech Fair on Friday, Dec. 28, 2012, at the Japanese Cultural Center in Honolulu.

For more up-to-date, detailed info on moving to Hawaii, check out my e-book: Moving To Hawaii: A Step-By-Step Guide

Realtor’s Tips On Moving To Hawaii

Wicker chair sits under a windchime on a porch with an ocean view.

A while back, when I was doing some research for one of my articles, I came across an interesting online column called “Around Hawaii,” which is published by Hawaii’s local cable TV service provider, Oceanic Time Warner.

One of the column’s writers is Stephanie Gieseler , a local Realtor on Oahu. The articles she wrote were particularly helpful to my research, and I thought these might interest you as well:

Here’s a complete list of all of Stephanie’s “Around Hawaii” articles. If you’re looking to buy a home in Hawaii, particularly on Oahu, she offers some great free advice and info. She also has her own website, which includes a blog.

For more up-to-date, detailed info on moving to Hawaii, check out my e-book: Moving To Hawaii: A Step-By-Step Guide

Another Real-Life Story Of Moving To Hawaii

A turquoise-water beach lies at the base of a jungle-covered hilltop.

Ke'e Beach, Kauai

I recently discovered another blog about moving to Hawaii that I want to share with you. This one is written by John Derrick, who fell in love with Hawaii 10 years ago when he visited the state for the first time. He and his wife Victoria are finally making their dream come true next year, when they move from South Carolina to Kauai. John is a great writer and storyteller, and has chronicled their whole moving process thus far — including how they decided to move to Hawaii in the first place — in his blog.

The blog is actually part of his larger website, Guide Of Hawaii. The site is absolutely gorgeous (John is a Web developer, and obviously a very good one!) and has tons of useful info on traveling throughout all the islands. It’s so well documented with beautiful photos, videos, and detailed info that it’s hard to believe John and Victoria don’t live in Hawaii already!

Since his first visit 10 years ago, John has traveled extensively throughout the islands (much of it on foot, as John is an avid hiker) and has written an impressive collection of articles and books based on his travel experience, including an article about moving to Hawaii. Guide Of Hawaii also has lots of information on each of the major islands, so it’s a great resource if you’re trying to decide which island you want to move to.

I’ll definitely be following the blog to see how the rest of John and Victoria’s move unfolds, and the adventures that await them in their new home!

For more up-to-date, detailed info on moving to Hawaii, check out my e-book: Moving To Hawaii: A Step-By-Step Guide

Retirement Communities On The Big Island

This article is fourth in a series on retirement hot-spots in Hawaii. In my previous articles, I talked about retirement communities within the city of Honolulu, elsewhere on Oahu, and on Maui, Molokai, and Lana’i. This article will focus on the Big Island.

If you’re looking for subsidized, low-income senior housing, read this section on affordable housing for seniors from my previous article, Senior Benefits & Programs In Hawaii. Whereas those subsidized housing programs require that your income (and sometimes assets) not exceed a certain amount, the housing communities covered in this series of articles have no such eligiblity requirements.

NOTE: All purchase prices listed are fee-simple, unless otherwise stated.

Hawi & Kapa’au

Rustic storefronts of little shops.

Quaint shops in the picturesque small town of Hawi. (Photo credit: Bryan Chan)

North Kohala Subdivisions

  • Location: South of Hawi and slightly north of Kawaihae on the northern Kohala Coast. See map.
  • What it has to offer: Oceanfront homes (Kohala By The Sea, Kohala Waterfront & Kohala Estates subdivisions), upcountry homes (Kohala Ranch subdivision), large home lots, panoramic ocean and mountain views, gated communities, Kawaihae Harbor, 83-acre Pu’ukohola Heiau National Historic Site (ancient war temple), Pua Mau Place (botanical garden), Spencer Beach Park, shops and restaurants in nearby Kawaihae, Waimea (Kamuela), Hawi, and Kapa’au.
  • Backyard with pool and ocean view.

    In the Kohala Estates and Kohala By The Sea subdivisions, homes with a 180-degree ocean view start at less than $1 million. This Kohala Estates house (above) is currently on the market for $775,000.

  • Single family homes: Starting in the $500,000s. See listings.

Waimea (also known as Kamuela)

Mauna Kea Resort & Puako

Two women on tennis court with ocean in background.

The top-rated 11-court Seaside Tennis Club at Mauna Kea Resort is one of the few places in the world where you can play tennis right next to the ocean.

Mauna Lani Resort

White-sand beach with palm trees

Residents of the new Kulalani townhome complex in Mauna Lani Resort enjoy their own private beach club.

Waikoloa Beach Resort

Mediterranean-style condo building with palm trees and landscaping.

Waikoloa Beach Resort has the lowest entry-level home prices out of all the Kohala Coast resort communities. A large 1-bedroom condo in The Shores complex (above) sold last month for $200,000.

Waikoloa Village

Low-rise condo buildings front a golf course.

Waikoloa Village has some of the most affordable golf homes on the Big Island. Condo prices in the Fairway Terrace complex (above), which fronts the Waikoloa Golf Club course, start under $100,000. Residents also get a steep discount on course fees.

Hualalai Resort & Kukio

Outdoor pool with palm trees and hut in background.

Kukio residents have their own private golf & beach club, including multiple swimming pools (above), 2 golf courses, and an oceanfront clubhouse.

Kailua-Kona

Tented booths line both sides of a 2-lane road running through a small town.

Nestled in the hills overlooking Kailua-Kona, the artist enclave of Holualoa is known for its charming galleries and coffee shops, which serve locally grown Kona coffee. Above: Holualoa's 2011 Coffee & Art Stroll. (Photo credit: Hawaii County)

  • Location: In the middle of the leeward coast of the Big Island. See map.
  • What it has to offer: Sunny & dry climate all year, new home construction, affordability, golf course homes, large-town amenities (several shopping centers, the only Costco on the island, other big-box stores, multi-plex movie theater), Big Island Country Club, Makalei Golf Club, walking path along scenic Ali’i Drive, several beach parks, Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park, Old Kona Airport State Recreation Area, free Keauhou Honu Express Shuttle.
  • Senior residence: Regency at Hualalai – Offers independent living and assisted living services (including memory care for residents with Alzheimer’s or dementia), but no intermediate care or skilled nursing care. Residents stay on a month-to-month lease. Monthly rent includes: Apartment housing, 3 meals/day, utilities, basic cable TV, daily trash removal, weekly housekeeping and linen service, scheduled transportation, 24-hour access to staff, personal care services (if needed), and vacations at another Regency Pacific residence. Amenities include: Outdoor pool/spa, exercise & recreation rooms, 24-hour coffee/tea lounge, media room & computer center, fitness & wellness programs, personal garden patches, recreational activities/outings, restaurant-style dining room, private dining room, and library. Pet-friendly!
  • Condos/townhomes: Starting at less than $100,000 + monthly maintenance fee. See listings.
  • Single family homes: Starting in the $200,000s. See listings.
  • New home developments:
    • Pualani Estates – Starting in the $300,000s. 3- and 4-bedroom single-family homes (1-2 stories high). Includes free appliance package.
    • Ali’i Heights Mauka – Starting in the $600,000s. 3-bedroom single-family homes (1 story high). Ocean views.

Keauhou & Kahalu’u

With condo prices starting in the $200,000s, the oceanfront Kanaloa At Kona complex is surrounded by Kona Country Club's golf course and is located half a mile from the Keauhou Shopping Center.

Volcano & Pahala

Well-maintained ranch-style house.

Prices for single family homes in Volcano and Pahala start under $100,000. This pristine house (above) in Volcano is currently on the market for $179,000.

Pahoa & Kapoho

Balcony overlooks a shoreline with a full ocean view.

This oceanfront house in Pahoa is currently on the market for $499,000. Houses located further back with partial ocean views start in the $200,000s.

  • Location: Southeast of Hilo, on the windward coast of the Big Island. See map.
  • What it has to offer: Affordable homes, Big Island’s “hippie capital” (Pahoa), sunniest spot on the windward side of the island (Kapoho), some beach homes, lots of shops and restaurants, art galleries, public swimming pool, plant nurseries, papaya farms, several beaches, excellent snorkeling spots, Kapoho Tide Pools, Lava Tree State Park, MacKenzie State Park.
  • Single family homes: Starting at less than $100,000. See listings

Hilo

Old building with vertical neon sign that says "Palace" is decorated with a giant colorful lei.

Hilo's Palace Theatre, which first opened in 1925, is decorated for May Day (Lei Day in Hawaii).

Honoka’a & Pa’auhau

Road leads through pastureland into a town, with the ocean on the horizon.

The small town of Honoka'a: Where lush green pastureland meets the deep blue sea.

  • Location: North of Hilo and east of Waimea (Kamuela), on the Hamakua Coast. See map.
  • What it has to offer: Small-town community, homes with scenic ocean views, farmland, sunshine (in Pa’auhau), Hamakua Country Club, shops and restaurants, Hale Ho’ola Hamakua Hospital, public gymnasium with indoor track and tennis courts, community swimming pool, Honoka’a People’s Theatre, several parks, hiking/biking trails, not far from amenities in Waimea (Kamuela).
  • Single family homes: Starting in the $100,000s. See listings.

Coming up next: Retirement Communities On Kauai. Stay tuned!

For more up-to-date, detailed info on moving to Hawaii, check out my e-book: Moving To Hawaii: A Step-By-Step Guide

Retirement Communities on Maui, Molokai & Lana’i

This article is third in a series on retirement hot-spots in Hawaii. In my 2 previous articles, I talked about retirement communities within the city of Honolulu and elsewhere on Oahu. This article will focus on the islands within Maui County: Maui, Molokai, and Lana’i.

If you’re looking for subsidized, low-income senior housing, read this section on affordable housing for seniors from my previous article, Senior Benefits & Programs In Hawaii. Whereas those subsidized housing programs require that your income (and sometimes assets) not exceed a certain amount, the housing communities covered in this series of articles have no such eligiblity requirements.

NOTE: All purchase prices listed are fee-simple, unless otherwise stated.

Kapalua

Aerial shot of Kapalua Resort

The master-planned community of Kapalua Resort.

  • Location: On Maui’s northwest coast. See map.
  • What it has to offer: World-renowned Kapalua Bay beach, luxury homes, golf course homes, master-planned resort community including 2 golf courses and a golf academy, tennis courts, hiking/horse trails, treatment spa, fitness center, restaurants, and shops.
  • Condos/townhomes: Starting in the $400,000s + monthly maintenance fee in the $800s. See listings.
  • Single family homes: Starting at around $2 million. See listings.
  • New home development: Ritz-Carlton Residences, Kapalua Bay – Starting at around $3 million. Enormous (3,000+ square feet) 3- and 4-bedroom luxury condos that include resort privileges and 24-hour concierge service.

Napili & Honokowai

Ocean view peeking out from behind rooftops and treetops.

Second-floor condos in the Napili Ridge complex come with ocean views like the one above, and start in the $100,000s -- one-quarter the price you'd pay in nearby Kapalua.

  • Location: South of Kapalua on Maui’s northwest coast. See map.
  • What it has to offer: Small beach-town community, located between Kapalua and Ka’anapali (and a short distance to either resort) but has lower home prices, Napili Bay (a good snorkeling, swimming, and skim-boarding beach), Napili Plaza Shopping Center (which holds a weekly arts & crafts fair), hiking/horse trails, Maui Preparatory Academy (private school for preschool-grade 12).
  • Condos/townhomes: Starting in the $100,000s + monthly maintenance fee in the $300s. See listings.
  • Single family homes: Starting in the $500,000s. See listings.

Ka’anapali

Greenbelts, walking paths, and swimming pools on a large property adjacent to a beach.

Honua Kai Resort & Spa, the newest addition to Ka'anapali Beach, has condos for sale starting in the low $400,000s.

  • Location: South of Napili on Maui’s northwest coast. See map.
  • What it has to offer: World-famous Ka’anapali Beach, Sugar Cane Train to/from Lahaina, Whalers Village mall,  master-planned resort community including 2 golf courses, tennis courts, walking trails, treatment spas, fitness centers, shops, and restaurants. Honua Kai Resort on the northern end of Ka’anapali Beach is the latest addition to the area.
  • Condos/townhomes: Starting in the $200,000s + monthly maintenance fee in the $600s. See listings.
  • Single family homes: Starting in the $800,000s. See listings.

Lahaina

Blue-roofed mid-rise condo complex peeks above treetops, with ocean in background.

The Breakers in Lahaina is a new complex across from the beach. Condo prices start in the $200,000s.

  • Location: South of Ka’anapali on Maui’s northwest coast. See map.
  • What it has to offer: Historic former whaling town, some new home construction, short distance away from Ka’anapali but has lower home prices, Front Street (has shops, restaurants, art galleries), Lahaina Civic Center, several community parks, Lahaina Aquatic Center, Sugar Cane Train to/from Ka’anapali.
  • Condos/townhomes: Starting in the $200,000s + monthly maintenance fee in the $500s. See listings.
  • Single family homes: Starting in the $300,000s. See listings.
  • New home developments:
    • The Breakers – Starting in the $200,000s + monthly maintenance fee in the $200s. Studio, 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom condos in a mid-rise complex (4 stories high) located right across from the beach.
    • Ho’onananea at Lahaina – Starting in the $300,000s + monthly maintenance fee. 2- and 3-bedroom townhomes with small private backyards. Located in a low-rise complex (3 stories high).

Wailuku

2-story townhome building with mountains in the background.

Starting in the $300,000s, Milo Court's new 3-bedroom townhomes are part of the Kehalani master-planned community in Wailuku.

Kahului

Golf course greens and pond, with homes and mountains in the background.

Kahului's master-planned community Maui Lani is built around the Dunes at Maui Lani golf course.

  • Location: East of Wailuku. See map.
  • What it has to offer: Large-town conveniences and amenities, some new home construction, affordable homes, Dunes at Maui Lani Golf Course, Queen Ka’ahumanu Center, Maui Mall, big-box stores (including Costco, Home Depot, and Walmart), Maui Arts & Cultural Center, Kahului Airport, Kahului Harbor, Maui Nui Botanical Gardens, Hawaiian Canoe Club, Kanaha Beach Park, Kahului Community Center, University of Hawaii – Maui College.
  • Senior residence: Roselani Place – Offers independent living and assisted living services (including memory care for residents with Alzheimer’s or dementia), but no intermediate care or skilled nursing care. Residents stay on a month-to-month lease. Monthly rent includes: Apartment housing, utilities, 3 meals daily, weekly housekeeping and laundry services, social/recreational activities, health & fitness programs, scheduled transportation, and 24-hour access to staff. Amenities include: 24-hour emergency call system, social lounges, activities room, restaurant-style dining room, private dining room, library, and barber shop/beauty salon.
  • Condos/townhomes: Starting under $100,000 + monthly maintenance fee in the $600s. See listings.
  • Single family homes: Starting in the $300,000s. See listings.
  • New home development: New Traditions at Maui Lani – starting in the $300,000s + monthly maintenance fee. 3-bedroom single family homes (1-2 stories high). Part of the Maui Lani master-planned community with golf course.

Pa’ia & Haiku

Porch railing with view of green lawn and foliage beyond it.

This home in Haiku has a nice view of the lush, green landscape that the town is known for.

Pukalani

View of Pukalani (and a bit of the ocean) from The Gardens Upcountry condo complex.

  • Location: South of Pa’ia in Maui’s upcountry. See map.
  • What it has to offer: Cooler elevation, rolling hills landscape, golf course homes (Lani’iki Ridge, Liholani Golf Villas, The Residences at Kulamalu, Pukalani Fairway Estates, Country Club Estates), homes with ocean views, Pukalani Country Club, Tavares Community Center & Upcountry Pool, suburban conveniences (shops, restaurants, banks, grocery stores), Kamehameha Schools Maui Campus.
  • Condos/townhomes: Starting in the $300,000s + monthly maintenance fee in the $500s. See listings
  • Single family homes: Starting in the $400,00s. See listings

Kihei

Mid-rise condo buildings surround a large pool.

Kalama Heights, a senior residence in Kihei, charges its residents a monthly rent that includes not only apartment housing but also 3 meals per day, utilities, housekeeping and laundry services, and more.

  • Location: South of Kahului on Maui’s southwest coast. See map.
  • What it has to offer: Large-town conveniences and amenities, new home construction, some affordable homes, Elleair Maui Golf Club, many shopping centers, Rainbow Mall, multi-plex movie theater, lots of parks and beaches, Kenoloio Recreation Complex, Kihei Aquatic Center, Kihei Canoe Club, Maui Research & Technology Park, Maui Economic Development Board.
  • Senior residence: Kalama Heights – Independent living only. Residents stay on a month-to-month lease. Monthly rent includes apartment housing, 3 meals/day, utilities and cable TV, shuttle service, weekly housekeeping and linen service, fitness classes, educational lectures, other recreational activities, and a travel program (stay up to 7 nights in guest suite at any other Holiday Retirement community). Amenities include a restaurant-style dining room, private dining room, fitness center, billiards lounge and game room, TV/media room, and laundry facilities. Pet-friendly community!
  • Condos/townhomes: Starting in the $100,000s + monthly maintenance fee in the $200s. See listings.
  • Single family homes: Starting in the $200,000s. See listings.
  • New home developments:
    • Kai Ani Village – Starting in the $300,000s + monthly maintenance fee. 2-bedroom condos in low-rise complex (3 stories high) located 1 block from beach.
    • Ke Ali’i Ocean Villas – Starting in the $500,000s + monthly maintenance fee. Large 2- and 3-bedroom condos in low-rise complex (3 stories) that includes recreation center, fitness center, pool, spa, and barbecue pits.
    • Moana Estates – Starting in the $700,000s. 3-, 4-, and 5- bedroom single family homes (1-2 stories) that are a short walk from the beach.
    • Hokulani Golf Villas – Starting at $999,000. 2- and 3-bedrooms single family homes (1-2 stories) located at Elleair Maui Golf Club.
    • Nu’u Aina – Starting around $1 million. 2- and 3-bedroom single family homes (1-2 stories) and townhomes (2 stories) located at Elleair Maui Golf Club. Private elevator option available in all homes.

Wailea & Makena

Curved edge of a pool frames a tropical landscaped garden and lawn, with white condo buildings and the ocean in the background.

Condo prices in the meticulously landscaped Palms at Wailea complex start in the $500,000s.

Hana

Cluster of single-story cottages on a green lawn with palm trees.

These condos (rare in Hana) on the grounds of the oceanfront Travaasa Hana resort & spa are priced in the $500,000s.

  • Location: On the tip of Maui’s east coast. See map.
  • What it has to offer: Seclusion, affordable houses and land lots (some with agriculture zoning), small-town “Old Hawaii” community, lush tropical landscape, Hana Bay, Hamoa Beach, Waianapanapa State Park (includes black-sand beach), Waimoku Falls, 2 spas (Travaasa Hana and Luana Spa), Kahanu Garden, Hana Health Center, shops, art galleries, a handful of casual eateries.
  • Condos/townhomes: Starting in the $500,000s + monthly maintenance fee in the $700s. See listings.
  • Single family homes: Starting in the $300,000s. See listings.

Molokai

Deserted white sand beach with green bluffs in background.

On Molokai, it's not unusual to have a gorgeous beach like this all to yourself! Above: Pohakumauliuli Beach (also known as Make Horse Beach).

  • Location: Northeast of Maui. See map.
  • What it has to offer: Seclusion, small population, country living, affordable homes and land lots, Ironwood Hills Golf Club, deserted beaches (including Papohaku Beach, one of Hawaii’s largest white-sand beaches), Kalaupapa National Historical Park, mom-and-pop stores and eateries, 1 public library, Molokai Airport, no traffic lights, lack of commercialization, Hawaii as it was 50 years ago.
  • Condos/townhomes: Starting around $100,000 + monthly maintenance fee in the $300s. See listings.
  • Single family homes: Starting in the $200,000s. See listings.

Lana’i

2 golfers play on greens with a pond in the foreground and a stately white lodge and forested mountains in the background.

The Pines at Koele condos are adjacent to the beautiful Four Seasons Lodge at Koele (above) and are priced starting in the low $400,000s.

  • Location: East of Maui and south of Molokai. See map.
  • What it has to offer: Seclusion, small population, some affordable houses, luxury homes and home sites, cooler climate inland, Four Seasons’ Manele Bay and Lodge at Koele resorts (both include golf courses, tennis courts, spas, and restaurants), deserted white-sand beaches, Munro Trail, Lana’i Pines Sporting Clays course, historic plantation-town district in Lana’i City, Dole Park, shops and restaurants in town square.
  • Condos/townhomes: Starting in the $400s + monthly maintenance fee in the $800s. See listings.
  • Single family homes: Starting in the $200,000s. See listings.
  • New home developments: Island of Lana’i Properties – Starting in the $400,000s + monthly maintenance fee. Luxury home sites, condos, and single family homes built around the Four Seasons’ Manele Bay and Lodge at Koele resorts.

Coming up next: Retirement Communities On The Big Island.

For more up-to-date, detailed info on moving to Hawaii, check out my e-book: Moving To Hawaii: A Step-By-Step Guide

Retirement Communities On Oahu

This article is the second in a series on retirement hot-spots in Hawaii. In my last article, I talked about retirement communities within the city of Honolulu. This article will focus on the rest of the island of Oahu, outside of Honolulu. After all, there’s a whole lot more to the island than just “town”!

If you’re looking for subsidized, low-income senior housing, read this section on affordable housing for seniors from my previous article, Senior Benefits & Programs In Hawaii. Whereas those subsidized housing programs require that your income (and sometimes assets) not exceed a certain amount, the housing communities covered in this series of articles have no such eligiblity requirements.

NOTE: All purchase prices listed are fee-simple, unless otherwise stated.

Makaha

Ocean waves with a sandy beach and high-rise condo building in the background.

Prices for condos in the beachfront Makaha Beach Cabanas complex start in the $100,000s + a monthly maintenance fee in the $300s.

  • Location: Northernmost town on the Waianae Coast, on the leeward side of Oahu. See map.
  • What it has to offer: Affordable beachfront living (yes, you read that correctly), some of the best swimming/surfing beaches on the island, Makaha Valley Country Club, Makaha Resort & Spa (currently closed for renovation), and the company of other retired residents.
  • Condos/townhomes: Starting in the $60,000s + monthly maintenance fee in the $400s. See listings.
  • Single family homes: Starting in the $100,000s. See listings. If you have considerably more money to spend, Mauna Olu Estates is a luxury gated community.

Ko Olina

White plantation-style townhomes surrounded by green lawn and palm trees.

The Coconut Plantation, one of several gated residential communities within Ko Olina Resort.

Kapolei

Brand-new kitchen with granite countertops and white cupboards and appliances.

Ilima at Leihano, a new senior residence community opening in Kapolei in late 2013, will have condos with full kitchens on a resort-style campus.

  • Location: On the leeward side of Oahu. See map.
  • What it has to offer: Master-planned “Second City” in-the-making, lots of new construction, Kapolei Golf Course, news shops and restaurants, multi-plex movie theater, big-box stores, University of Hawaii’s West Oahu campus (opening August 2012).
  • Senior residence: Ilima at Leihano (opening late 2013) – Age 55 and older. Condos starting in the high $300,000s + monthly maintenance fee starting around $2,500, which includes: Flexible meal plan, housekeeping, basic cable, utilities, Internet access, an emergency response system, scheduled transportation, wellness & lifestyle programs, social & cultural enrichment events, and customized care. Amenities include: 20,000-square-foot clubhouse with a restaurant, treatment spa, beauty salon, library, arts & crafts room, game room, business center, outdoor pool, spa, barbecue area, private parks, dog park/run, garden areas, and a walking/fitness trail.
  • Condos/townhomes: Starting in the $200,000s + monthly maintenance fee in the $300s. See listings.
  • Single family homes: Starting in the $300,000s. See listings.
  • New home developments:
    • Kealakai at Kapolei – Starting in the $200,000s + monthly maintenance fee. 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom townhomes. Low-rise (2 stories high).
    • Pulewa at Mehana – Starting in the $300,000s + monthly maintenance fee. 2- and 3-bedroom townhomes. Low-rise (2 stories high).
    • La Hiki at Mehana – Starting in the $400,000s + monthly maintenance fee. 3- and 4-bedroom single family homes. Low-rise (1-2 stories high).
    • Kahiwelo at Makakilo – Starting in the $500,000s + monthly maintenance fee. 3-, 4-, and 5-bedroom single family homes. Low-rise (1-2 stories high).

Ewa Beach

Two golfers on a course with sand traps and a pond, with homes lining the course in the background.

The new Ka Makana at Hoakelei home development is part of a master-planned resort community being built around the new Hoakalei Country Club in Ewa Beach.

Waipahu & Pearl City

Flagstone patio with outdoor furniture looks out onto golf course.

The Fairway Village complex within the Waikele master-planned community in Waipahu includes golf course-frontage townhomes priced in the $400,000s + a monthly maintenance fee in the $500s.

Mililani

Community garden

Olaloa, a gated condo community in Mililani for residents age 55 and older, has its own community garden.

  • Location: Central Oahu. See map.
  • What it has to offer: Master-planned community, some new home construction, Mililani Golf Club, Town Center of Mililani (shops, restaurants, multi-plex movie theater), neighborhood parks and recreation centers, top-rated public schools.
  • Senior residences:
    • The Plaza at Mililani – Offers independent living and assisted living with limited nursing care (including memory care). Operates on a month-to-month lease + one-time nonrefundable “community fee” of $3,500. Monthly rent includes apartment housing, 3 meals/day, utilities, weekly housekeeping and linen service, laundry service, fitness and recreation programs, routine transportation, and access to 24-hour nursing staff. Onsite amenities include a coffee bistro, recreation room, and hair salon.
    • Olaloa Retirement Community in Mililani-Mauka – Age 55 and older. Independent living only. Gated community of low-rise condominums (2 stories w/elevators) starting in the $100,000s + monthly maintenance fee in the $200s. Amenities include: After-hours security, 24-hour emergency call system, exercise room, pool, library, community garden, monthly planned activities, shuttle service, recreational facilities, walking path, and community laundry plus washer/dryer hookups. Pet-friendly!
  • Condos/townhomes: Starting in the $100,000s + monthly maintenance fee in the $300s. See listings. Complexes adjacent to golf course: Fairway Village and Mililani Pinnacle.
  • Single family homes: Starting in the $400,000s. See listings.
  • New home developments: Sixty Parkside – Starting in the $300,000s + monthly maintenance fee. Gated community of 48 condos. Buildings are 3 stories high with elevators. Each condo unit has 3 bedrooms and is 1200 square feet.

Waimanalo

Secluded white-sand, aqua-water beach.

Prices for single family homes in the Waimanalo Beach Lot subdivision start in the $500,000s and are just 1 block away from one of the most beautiful beaches in the U.S.

  • Location: The southernmost town on Oahu’s windward coast. See map.
  • What it has to offer: Beachfront homes/homesites, farmland, small-town community, country living, Olomana Golf Links, two of the most beautiful stretches of beach on the island (Waimanalo Beach and Bellows Field Beach), gorgeous backdrop of the green Ko’olau mountains, lots of plant nurseries, horse stables, Circle C Equestrian Center, Honolulu Polo Club, ‘Nalo Farms.
  • Condos/townhomes: Starting in the $300,000s + monthly maintenance fee in the $300s. See listings.
  • Single family homes: Starting in the $400,000s. See listings.

Kailua

Aerial shot of home-dotted bluff rimmed with evergreen trees overlooking the deep-blue coast.

Bluestone, Kailua's only gated community, is located on more than 50 acres of land between Lanikai Beach and Mid-Pacific Country Club.

  • Location: North of Waimanalo, on Oahu’s windward coast . See map.
  • What it has to offer: Relaxed beach-town lifestyle, family-friendly Kailua Beach Park, gorgeous Lanikai Beach, developing town center (Whole Foods Market and Target opening soon), Castle Medical Center, locally owned eateries and shops, canoe-paddling clubs for all ages, Mid-Pacific Country Club (private), Royal Hawaiian Golf Club.
  • Condos/townhomes: Starting in the $200,000s + monthly maintenance fee in the $200s. See listings. Golf-course frontage complex: Bluestone, the only gated community in Kailua.
  • Single family homes: Starting in the $500,000s. See listings.
  • New home developments: Ka Malanai – Opening in 2014. Starting in the $400,000s + monthly maintenance fee. 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom condos. Mid-rise (4 stories high).

Kaneohe

Walking path winds through monkeypod trees, with the Ko'olau mountain range in the background.

The grounds of the Pohai Nani senior residence in Kaneohe has walking paths with magnificent views of the Ko'olau mountain range.

  • Location: North of Kailua, on Oahu’s windward coast. See map.
  • What it has to offer: Picturesque surroundings (Kaneohe Bay and the Ko’olau mountains), waterfront homes, several golf courses (Bay View Golf Park, Ko’olau Golf Club, Pali Golf Course), Windward Mall (including multi-plex movie theater), Kualoa Ranch, Kaneohe Yacht Club, He’eia Kea Small Boat Harbor, Kaneohe Sandbar, Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden, Byodo-In Temple, Windward Community College.
  • Senior residence: Pohai Nani – Offers the full continuum of care (independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing care). Apartment and duplex residences on a 16-acre campus at the foot of the Ko’olau mountains, overlooking Kaneohe Bay. Amenities include: Pool/jacuzzi, fitness room, fitness/wellness classes, chaplain services, special events, organized outings, computer room w/Internet access, library, craft room, entertainment room, gardens and walking paths, pre-scheduled shuttle transportation, laundry facilities, beauty/barber shop, personal driving service, meal tray service, and guest rooms/meals.
  • Condos/townhomes: Starting in the $100,000s + monthly maintenance fee in the $200s. See listings. Gated residential yachting community: Makani Kai Marina.
  • Single family homes: Starting in the $400,000s. See listings. Golf course homes can be found in the Bayview Golf Course neighborhood.
  • New home developments: Bay View Estates – Starting in the $900,000s + no monthly maintenance fee. 3- and 4-bedroom single family homes (1-2 stories high) overlooking Kaneohe Bay.

Ka’a'awa & Punalu’u

This 1-bedroom oceanfront cottage in nearby Hau'ula sold last December for $365,000!

  • Location: About halfway between Kaneohe and the North Shore on Oahu’s windward coast. See map.
  • What it has to offer: Small-town country living, affordable oceanfront (or nearly oceanfront) homes, uncrowded beaches, state park land and forest reserve all around you.
  • Senior residence: Oceanside Hawaii – Offers the full continuum of care (independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing care). Starting at $1,850/month, which includes: Studio apartment housing, meals and snacks, weekly housekeeping and linen service, scheduled transportation, recreation activities and excursions, and 24-hour access to care staff as needed.
  • Condos/townhomes: Starting in the $100,000s + monthly maintenance fee in the $400s. See listings.
  • Single family homes: Starting in the $300,000s. See listings.

Kahuku

Aerial view of residential resort with golf course, pools, and tennis court with ocean and hotel in background.

Starting in the $300,000s + a monthly maintenance fee in the $500s, condos in Kuilima Estates are within easy walking distance of golf courses, the beach, and Turtle Bay Resort. The gated complex also includes several pools and tennis courts.

Retirements Communities On Maui, Molokai & Lana’i

Retirement Communities On The Big Island

For more up-to-date, detailed info on moving to Hawaii, check out my e-book: Moving To Hawaii: A Step-By-Step Guide

Retirement Communities In Honolulu

I was recently asked, “What parts of Hawaii do retirees live in?”

The truth of the matter is, retirees live everywhere in Hawaii, depending on where they can afford to live in, what their health care needs are, and whether they prefer an urban, suburban, resort, or rural setting. The geographic possibilities open up even further if you don’t have to live within commuting distance of a job!

Having said that, there are certain towns and neighborhoods throughout the state that are particularly appealing to retirees. This series of articles will cover those retirement hot-spots, and the housing options available within each. Some of the housing developments within these communities are age-restricted, although most are not.

If you’re looking for subsidized, low-income senior housing, read this section on affordable housing for seniors from my previous article, Senior Benefits & Programs In Hawaii. Whereas those subsidized housing programs require that your income (and sometimes assets) not exceed a certain amount, the housing communities covered in this series of articles have no such eligiblity requirements.

Let’s start with retirement hot-spots within the city of Honolulu, on the island of Oahu…

NOTE: All purchase prices listed are fee-simple, unless otherwise stated.

Salt Lake

Three golfers practice on a golfing green, with a pond and high-rise buildings in the background.

Most of Salt Lake's condominiums are within a block or two of Honolulu Country Club.

The Salt Lake neighborhood is located at the far western end of Honolulu and is centered around the expansive golf greens of Honolulu Country Club, which contains — you guessed it! — a salt lake (actually, a former salt lake — it’s now freshwater, and more of a pond). Adjoining the golf course is Salt Lake District Park, which has an Olympic-size pool, tennis courts, and hiking trails. There are also several smaller neighborhoods parks, including Salt Lake Municipal Park, which hosts the People’s Open Market (a small farmers market) every Saturday morning. A few miles mauka, just across the freeway, is another golf course — Moanalua Golf Club.

Salt Lake is a conveniently located suburb. It contains several shopping centers, and is within easy driving distance to Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Tripler Army Medical Center, Aloha Stadium/Swap Meet, Honolulu International Airport, Pearl Harbor-Hickam Joint Base, and Fort Shafter. It is also home to top-rated Moanalua High School (currently No. 2 in the state, after Mililani High School).

Condominiums

There are more than 50 condo complexes in Salt Lake, and many are located within a block or two of Honolulu Country Club’s golf course. All were built between 1968-1986 and all are high-rise and mid-rise buildings, except as noted below:

  • Starting purchase price: $100,000s + monthly maintenance fee in $200s-$400s.
  • Starting monthly rent: Around $1,200.
  • Newest complexes: Country Club Village 6 (2008-2009), Country Club Village 5 (1996), Country Club Village 4 (1995), Country Club Village 3 (1994), Country Club Village 2 (1994), Country Club Village (1994).
  • Low-rise buildings: Country Club Village 1, 2, and 3 (4 stories); Hillside Villa (4 stories); Ilima Gardens (3 stories), Kama’aina Hale (4 stories); Lakeside Holiday (2 stories), Lakewood (3 stories); Likini Gardens (3 stories), Parkside Terrace (3 stories); Three Regents (4 stories), Tropicana Manor – Moanalua (3 stories).
  • Nearby alternative: Just across the freeway in Moanalua Valley (next to Moanalua Golf Club) is Moanalua Village, a gated community of low-rise 3-bedroom townhomes built in 1995. Purchase price: $600,000s + monthly maintenance fee in $500s.

Single Family Homes

There are not very many single family homes for sale in Salt Lake. If you’re set on living in a detached house rather than a condo or townhome, try looking also in the adjacent communities of Aliamanu, Foster Village, Moanalua Valley, and Moanalua Gardens.

Nu’uanu & Makiki

Four senior citizens follow the movements of their instructor while standing in a swimming pool.

Participants enjoy a water exercise class at Arcadia, one of several senior residences in Makiki.

Mauka of downtown Honolulu are the communities of Nu’uanu and Makiki, with Punchbowl National Memorial Cemetery right between them. This is a densely populated area, and with good reason: It’s not only close to downtown, but also to Punahou School, University of Hawaii at Manoa, and no fewer than 3 medical facilities: Queen’s Medical Center, Straub Clinic and Hospital, and Kuakini Health System. If you don’t live too far up the mountain, you can walk to shops, restaurants, and neighborhood parks. One of the larger parks is Makiki Park, which has a pool, tennis courts, and a community garden.

Nature lovers can enjoy nearby Foster Botanic Garden and Queen Emma Gardens, as well as the state park and forest reserve up in the Makiki highlands. There is one golf course in upper Nu’uanu — Oahu Country Club — but it is for members only, and membership is by invitation only. Lower Makiki is home to two major cultural attractions: Honolulu Academy of Arts and Blaisdell Center, which hosts concerts and conferences throughout the year.

Senior Residences

There are 4 residential complexes in Makiki and 1 in Nu’uanu that are aimed at senior residents:

  • Arcadia (Makiki) – Age 62 and older. Offers the full continuum of care: Independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing care (including specialized memory care for seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia). Monthly service fee includes apartment housing, 3 meals/day, weekly housekeeping/linen service, utilities, fitness and music classes, and recreational activities. Nonrefundable entrance fee of $115,677-$408,029 insures lifetime care/residency. On-site amenities include a fitness center, pool, solarium, restaurant-style dining room, private dining rooms, library, and chapel.
  • Alexander Manor (Makiki) – Offers independent living and minimal assisted living on a month-to-month lease. Monthly rent includes apartment housing, all utilities, daily maid service, laundry service, 3 meals/day plus snacks, and use of on-site library, exercise equipment, and entertainment area. Pets negotiable!
  • One Kalakaua Senior Living (Makiki) – Primary resident must be age 55 or older. Offers the full continuum of care: Independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing care in on-site nursing facility Hale Ola Kino. Condos are sold on fee-simple basis or can be rented for $2,000/month. Monthly maintenance fee: $1,550-2,405 for 1 person, $2,200-3,050 for 2 people, $646 for each additional person. Monthly maintenance fee includes utilities, cable TV, weekly maid service, 30 meals, quarterly health checkups, fitness and health classes, arts and crafts classes, and recreational activities. On-site amenities include library, game room, beauty salon, and barber shop. No pets allowed.
  • The Plaza at Punchbowl (Makiki) – Offers independent living and assisted living with limited nursing care (including memory care), but no intermediate care or skilled nursing care. Operates on a month-to-month lease + one-time nonrefundable “community fee” of $3,500. Monthly rent includes apartment housing, 3 meals/day, utilities and cable TV, weekly housekeeping and linen service, fitness and recreation programs, routine transportation, and access to 24-hour nursing staff. Onsite amenities include a coffee bistro, recreation room, library, living room, treatment spa, and hair salon.
  • 15 Craigside – (Nu’uanu) – Age 62 and older. Brand-new community that opened just one year ago. Offers the full continuum of care: Independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing care (including hospice care). Monthly service charge: $2,500-$3,536 for singles and $4,936 for couples. Monthly service charge includes 2 meals/day (your choice of breakfast, lunch, or dinner), housekeeping, weekly linen service, utilities and basic cable TV, 24-hour emergency care, scheduled transportation, room service up to 5 days when you need it, and recreational activities. Nonrefundable entrance fee (starting at $171,000) guarantees lifetime residency/care, even if you exhaust your financial resources through no fault of your own. Onsite amenities include a bistro, coffee bar, solarium, dance floor, library, theater, pool, fitness center, arts & crafts studio, salon, convenience store, meeting rooms, and private dining rooms.

Condominiums

There are more than 100 condo complexes in the combined areas of Nu’uanu and Makiki. The buildings are a mixture of low-, mid-, and high-rises. Many of the complexes were built between 1956-1988; the newer ones have been noted below:

  • Starting purchase price: $100,000s + monthly maintenance fee in $200s-$400s.
  • Starting monthly rent: Around $1,000.
  • Newest complexes: Holomua (opening early 2013), 1402 Pi’ikoi (2008 remodel), Spencer Court (2000), 1448 Young Street (1999), 949 Prospect (1999), 1450 Young Street (1997), 1329 Dominis (1997), One Kalakaua Senior Living (1996-1997), Prince Lunalilo (1996), Pi’ikoi Hale (1996), Spencer Terrace (1995), Royal Garden – Makiki (1995), Fountains at Maikiki (1992), Makiki Parkside (1991), Nu’uanu Parkside (1991), Nehoa Park Estates (1991), Nu’uanu Streamside (1990-1992), Makiki Regent (1990), Queen Victoria Residences (1990).

Single Family Homes

Many of the single family homes in Nu’uanu and Makiki are up the mountain ridges, where they command amazing views — and amazingly high prices. If you’re set on living in a detached house, check out the cheaper real estate in the nearby neighborhoods of Punchbowl, Pauoa Valley, and Liliha.

Kaka’ako & West Waikiki

Three high-rise condo buildings with a green park and ocean in the background.

Residents of Kaka'ako's newest condo complex, Waihonua at Kewalo (opening late 2014), will have magnificent views of the ocean and nearby Ala Moana Beach Park.

The beachside neighborhoods of Kaka’ako and West Waikiki (west of Lewers St.) occupy either side of Ala Moana Shopping Center. Both areas contain several recently constructed condo buildings, with more in the works. Residents can easily walk to Waikiki Beach, the marina, Ala Moana Beach Park, Ala Moana Shopping Center, Ward Centers, a multiplex movie theater, and lots of smaller shops and restaurants. And just a short drive away are Blaisdell Center, Honolulu Academy of Arts, Queen’s Medical Center, Straub Clinic and Hospital, Ala Wai Golf Course, and downtown Honolulu.

Residents of Kaka’ako and West Waikiki are mostly young professionals, empty nesters, and retirees who enjoy the convenient, low-maintenance lifestyle of condo living. Many of these condos are also used as vacation rentals, particularly in West Waikiki. The newer condo buildings (and the more luxurious older ones) offer amenities galore, including private parks/terraces, pools, spas, sun decks, fitness centers, and concierge services. There are virtually no single family homes in this urban stretch.

If you’re interested in buying a condo in Kaka’ako or West Waikiki, I recommend working with Jeanne Buboltz. Raised on Oahu, she knows the island inside-out, and she currently specializes in real estate in Kaka’ako and West Waikiki. She herself lives in the Moana Pacific condo complex, so she knows first-hand what it’s like to live the condo lifestyle in Kaka’ako. Her blog entries are a wealth of info, too.

Senior Residences

There is 1 residential complex for seniors that is scheduled to be built this fall (2012):

  • Kalakaua Garden (also known as 1723 Kalakaua) – Will offer the full continuum of care: Independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing care. It will be located within easy walking distance of Ala Moana Shopping Center.

Condominiums

There are more than 100 condo complexes between Kaka’ako and West Waikiki. Nearly all of the buildings in Kaka’ako are high-rises, with a few exceptions noted below. The condo complexes in West Waikiki are an interesting mix of low-, mid-, and high-rise buildings. Both neighborhoods have their share of old and new buildings — I have pointed out the most recent construction below:

  • Starting purchase price: Kaka’ako condos start in $200,000s + monthly maintenance fee in $300s-400s; West Waikiki condos start in low $100,000s + monthly maintenance fee in $300s-$400s.
  • Starting monthly rent: Around $1,500 in Kaka’ako; around $1,300 in West Waikiki.
  • Low- and mid-rise buildings: There are many low- and mid-rise buildings in West Waikiki, but in Kaka’ako there are only a handful: Crown Kinau (4 stories), The Elms (8 stories), Honuakaha (7 stories), Kinau Villa (10 stories), Pacific Manor (8 stories), Rycroft Manor (4 stories).
  • Newest complexes in Kaka’ako: Waihonua at Kewalo (opening late 2014, starts in $500,000s + fee), Pacifica Honolulu (2009-2011), Vanguard Lofts (2008), Keola La’i (2008), Moana Pacific (2007), 909 Kapiolani (2007), Ko’olani (2006), Hokua (2006), Hawaiki Tower (1999), One Archer Lane (1998), Honuakaha (1995), 1133 Waimanu (1995), Imperial Plaza (1991), Nauru Tower (1991), One Waterfront Towers (1990).
  • Newest complexes in West Waikiki: The Cove Waikiki (opening late 2013, low-rise of 5 stories, starting $350,000 + fee), Allure Waikiki (2011, starting $600,000 + fee), Trump Tower Waikiki (2009, starting $400,000 + $454 fee), The Watermark (2008), Loft at Waikiki (2007), Lanikea at Waikiki (2005), Maile Sky Court (1993), Waikiki Landmark (1992).
  • Closest to the beach: Waikiki Shore is the only condo building that’s right on the beach. But there are 4 buildings that are just a block away: Trump Tower Waikiki, Imperial Hawaii Resort, Ni’ihau Apartments, and The Regency on Beach Walk.
  • Marina-front buildings: There are only 2 condo complexes located right on the marina: Ilikai Apartment Building and Ilikai Marina Apartment Building.
  • Closest to Ala Moana Shopping Center: If you want to live within easy walking distance of Ala Moana Shopping Center, search for condo buildings in the Holiday Mart, Ala Moana, and Pawa’a neighborhoods. There are only 2 newer buildings in this area (both located in Pawa’a): 802 Punahou (1997) and 1723 Kalakaua (2008). The rest of the buildings were constructed in the 1960s and 1970s.
  • Nearby alternative: Just a little further away down Kapiolani Boulevard are a cluster of condo complexes loaded with amenities such as putting greens, tennis courts, and onsite convenience stores. They also have nice views of Ala Wai Golf Course, Diamond Head, and the Waikiki skyline. These complexes are definitely worth your consideration: Marco Polo, Iolani Court Plaza, Century Center, Kings Gate, and Royal Iolani. Purchase prices start in the $200,000s + monthly maintenance fee in $200s-$300s. Monthly rents start around $1,500.

Diamond Head

Dining area of condo looks out over treetops through floor-to-ceiling windows.

They may not be oceanfront, but the condos on Pualei Circle in Diamond Head are cheaper and offer lovely views of Kapiolani Park. The unit above is in the Diamond Head Leilani complex.

Just east of Waikiki is the Diamond Head neighborhood, which encircles the base of Diamond Head Crater. On the makai (ocean) side of the crater is the prized “Gold Coast,” a stretch of sunny beach lined with oceanfront condominium buildings, a couple hotels, and an enclave of multi-million-dollar houses. Diamond Head is a very pleasant neighborhood for being outdoors, and is popular with walkers, joggers, bicyclists, and surfers of all ages. You can walk along the beach, jog around spacious Kapiolani Park, or hike up to the summit of Diamond Head Road to watch (or join) the surfers riding the waves below.

Diamond Head is gay-friendly, with nearby Queen’s Beach a favorite among male sunbathers and Hula’s Bar just across the street from Kapiolani Park. It’s also family-friendly — Honolulu Zoo and the Waikiki Aquarium are within easy walking distance, and nearby Sans Souci Beach is popular with parents and children alike. Also within walking distance are the Waikiki Shell (where concerts are held), Ala Wai Golf Course, Kapiolani Community College (which hosts an awesome farmers market every Saturday morning), and locally owned shops, cafes, and restaurants along Monsarrat Avenue. For even more food options, all the eateries along Kapahulu Avenue are just a short drive (or a long walk) away.

Condominiums

There are more than 30 condo complexes in Diamond Head, most of which are beachfront. There is also a cluster of buildings about a block away from Kapiolani Park (on Pualei Circle), which I’ve noted below. All of Diamond Head’s condos were built between 1953-1980, and all are mid- and high-rise buildings, except for those noted below:

  • Starting purchase price: Off-the-beach condos start in $300,000s + monthly maintenance fee in $400s. Beachfront condos start in $400,000s + monthly maintenance fee in $400s-$1,000s.
  • Starting monthly rent: Around $2,000.
  • Low-rise buildings: Diamond Head Ali’i (3 stories), Diamond Head Condos at Pualei Circle (3 stories), Diamond Head Gardens (3 stories), Diamond Head Hale (2 stories), Diamond Head Plaza (3 stories), Diamond Head Terrace (3 stories), The Gregg Apartments (3 stories), Hale Pua Lei (3 stories), Ilima Apartments (2 stories), Pua Leahi Apartments (3 stories), Diamond Head Sands (3 stories), Diamond Head Surf (2 stories), La Pietra (2 stories).
  • Located on Pualei Circle: Diamond Head Ali’i, Diamond Head Condos at Pualei Circle, Diamond Head Gardens, Diamond Head Hale, Diamond Head Plaza, Diamond Head Terrace, The Gregg Apartments, Hale Pua Lei, Ilima Apartments, Pua Leahi Apartments.
  • Also located off the beach: Diamond Head Sands, Diamond Head Surf, La Pietra, Diamond Head Hillside.
  • Cheaper alternative nearby: On the eastern end of Waikiki, just a couple blocks from Kapiolani Park and the Honolulu Zoo, there are a couple condo complexes overlooking Ala Wai Golf Course: Ala Wailani and Hale O Nai’a. Purchase prices start in $200,000s + monthly maintenance fee in $300s. Monthly rents start around $1,200.

Single Family Homes

Houses in the Diamond Head area are among the most expensive on Oahu. For example, homes in the exclusive Black Point gated community start at around $2.5 million. However, there are some less-expensive options nearby, as noted below:

  • Starting purchase price: Around $1.5 million.
  • Starting monthly rent: Around $5,000.
  • Slightly cheaper alternative nearby: Tucked between Diamond Head and Kahala is the tiny neighborhood of Pu’upanini, which has its own private park with a paddle tennis court. Home prices here start around $1 million.
  • Significantly cheaper alternative nearby: Parts of the Kapahulu and Kaimuki neighborhoods border the slopes of Diamond Head crater and are within walking distance to many of the same points of interest as the Diamond Head neighborhood. Home prices in this vicinity start in the $500,000s. Monthly rents start around $1,600.

Kahala

Exterior of Kahala Nui senior residence, with garden and pond in foreground.

The senior residence Kahala Nui has luxurious garden surroundings and is within walking distance of Kahala Mall.

Just east of Diamond Head is the upscale neighborhood of Kahala, known for the grand oceanfront estates lining Kahala Avenue, although much of Kahala is further inland. Kahala is definitely not as walkable as Diamond Head, but depending on which part of the neighborhood you live in, you might be able to walk to at least 1 of 3 major destinations worthy of repeat visits: lovely and peaceful Kahala Beach, the posh Kahala Hotel & Resort, and Kahala Mall — a convenient medium-sized mall that includes a multiplex movie theater, Whole Foods Market, Longs Drugstore, and Macy’s. The neighborhood also has an oceanfront golf course, Waialae Country Club, which hosts the PGA Sony Open every January. However, it’s a members-only golf course, and membership is by invitation only.

Senior Residences

There is 1 residential complex for seniors in Kahala:

  • Kahala Nui – Age 62 and older. A relatively new complex (it opened in 2005) located on a 6.5-acre garden campus within walking distance of Kahala Mall. Offers the full continuum of care: Independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing care in their onsite Hi’olani Care Center (including memory care for residents with Alzheimer’s or dementia). Monthly maintenance fee: $2,860-$7,228. Monthly maintenance fee includes a 1-, 2- or 3-bedroom apartment with full kitchen, utilities and basic cable, Internet access, housekeeping and linen service, flexible meal plan, scheduled transportation, concierge service, museum tours, and classes in art, language, music, and fitness. An entrance fee (refundable up to 90%) of $477,300-$1 million+ guarantees your lifetime residence and access to nursing care. Amenities include a pool/jacuzzi, fitness center, library/business center, meditation garden, art studio, card room, piano lounge, public/private dining rooms, beauty salon, and massage studio.

Condominiums

There are only 11 condo complexes in Kahala and the adjacent enclaves of Waialae Nui Valley and Kalani Iki. Kahala Beach Apartments is the only complex located on the beach. The rest are much further inland, within walking distance of Kahala Mall. Three of the complexes (indicated below) are located within a gated community in Kalani Iki that has a private pool, tennis court, and recreation center. None of the complexes are new, having been built in the 1950s-1970s. All of the buildings are low-rise except for a few high-rise complexes, as noted below:

  • Starting purchase price: Inland condos start in the $400,000s + monthly maintenance fee in $300s-$400s. The beachfront Kahala Beach Apartments are leasehold-only: They start around $50,000 + monthly maintenance fee in the $900s + $2,206 monthly lease rent (which will be renogatiated in 2017); the leasehold expires completely in 2027.
  • Starting monthly rent: $2,000 for inland condos; $4,500 for beachfront Kahala Beach Apartments.
  • High-rise buildings: Regency at Kahala, Kahala Towers, and part of Waialae Gardens.
  • Complexes inside gated community: Kahala Pacifica, Kahala View Estates, and Kalani Iki Estates.
  • Least expensive complexes: Kahala Gardens, Kahala Towers, Tropic Gardens, Tropicana Village, and Waialae Gardens.

Single Family Homes

The most expensive homes in Kahala are beachfront houses located along Kahala Avenue, and those fronting nearby Wailupe Beach and Aina Haina Beach. The starting purchase price for these oceanfront homes is around $2 million. Houses located in the Kai Nani area adjacent to Waialae Country Club’s golf course are also among the most expensive. But even more modest houses further inland still command purchase prices over $1 million. However, if you look in neighborhoods adjacent to Kahala (noted below), you can find much less-expensive single family homes:

  • Starting purchase price: $1 million.
  • Starting monthly rent: $3,500.
  • Cheaper alternative nearby: House prices in the adjacent neighborhoods of Waialae Nui, Kalani Iki, and Aina Haina (excluding the beachfront area) start in the $600,000s, with monthly rents starting around $2,000.

Hawaii Kai

Tiny boat motors through marina waters, with marina-front homes and docked boats in background.

Several of Hawaii Kai's subdivisions include marina-front condos, townhouses, and single family homes.

Hawaii Kai is a master-planned community at the far eastern end of Honolulu that was first developed by industrialist Henry J. Kaiser in the 1960s. Today, there are still new home developments being added to it. Built on and around a marina, the community has become a highly sought-after place to live on Oahu, and housing prices reflect that.

Besides its easy access to Moanalua Bay, Hawaii Kai also contains several large shopping centers (including a Costco), a bevy of restaurants, a multi-plex movie theater, 3 health clubs, and public tennis courts at Koko Head District Park. Nearby Koko Head and Hawaii Kai’s surrounding mountain ridges present plenty of scenic hiking opportunities. Hanauma Bay and Sandy Beach (a favorite with locals) are just a short drive away. Hawaii Kai also has a golf course — aptly named Hawaii Kai Golf Course — around which a few housing developments have been built.

Senior Residences

There is 1 residential complex for seniors in Hawaii Kai:

  • Hawaii Kai Retirement – Offers independent & assisted living, but no intermediate care or skilled nursing care. Residents stay on a month-to-month lease. Monthly rent includes housing in an apartment or cottage, 3 meals/day, utilities and cable TV, shuttle service, weekly housekeeping and linen service, fitness classes, educational lectures, other recreational activities, and a travel program (stay up to 7 nights in guest suite at any other Holiday Retirement community). Amenities include a restaurant-style dining room, private dining room, fitness center, billiards lounge and game room, TV/media room, and laundry facilities. Pet-friendly community!

Condominiums

There are more than 30 condo complexes in Hawaii Kai, and they come in all sorts of configurations — from luxurious high-rises with resort-like amenities to 2-story townhomes with their own marina docks:

  • Starting purchase price: $300,000s + monthly maintenance fee in $400s-$900s.
  • Starting monthly rent: $1,700.
  • Newest complexes: Hale Ka La’e (development postponed indefinitely), Colony at the Peninsula (2004-2006), Moana Kai (2004-2005), Peninsula at Hawaii Kai (2002-2006), Nanea Kai (2003), Kai Nui Court (2002), Kalama Ku’u (2002), Kaluanui (2001).
  • Oceanfront complexes: Kuliouou Kai (in the adjacent enclave of Paiko Lagoon) and Napua Point.
  • Marina-front complexes: Colony Marina, Colony at the Peninsula, Esplanade, Gateway Peninsula, Hale Makani Kai, Hawaii Kai Cp, Kaimala Marina, Kalele Kai, Koko Isle, Kuapa Isle, Marina Palms, Mawaena Kai, The Moorings, Peninsula at Hawaii Kai, Villa Marina.
  • Close to golf course: Kalama Ku’u
  • Nearby alternative: Haleloa, in the adjacent enclave of Kuliouou.

Single Family Homes

There are more than 20 subdivisions of single family homes in Hawaii Kai. Some are right on the marina, others are on the surrounding mountain ridges, a handful front the ocean, and 3 are adjacent to Hawaii Kai Golf Course:

  • Starting purchase price: $500,000s.
  • Starting monthly rent: $2,500.
  • Newest home developments: Bali Lofts – within Kamehame Ridge subdivision (2007-present), Na Pali Haweo – within Kamehame Ridge subdivision (early 1990s-present), Koko Villas (2004-2005), The Cottages at the Peninsula – within West Marina subdivision (2004), Kamilo Nui (2003-2004), Leolani – within Anchorage subdivision (2003-2004), Carriage Ways at the Peninsula – within West Marina subdivision (2002).
  • Oceanfront subdivisions: Portlock, Koko Kai, Paiko Lagoon, and Niu Beach. Purchase prices start around $2 million.
  • Marina-front subdivisions: Anchorage, Kealaula Kai, Luna Kai, Mariners Cove, Spinnaker Isle, West Marina.
  • Adjacent to golf course: Koko Villas, Laulima, and Queen’s Gate (gated community with private tennis courts, raquetball courts, and recreation center).
  • Nearby alternative: The neighborhoods of Kuliouou and Niu Valley.

Retirements Communities On Oahu (outside of Honolulu)

Retirements Communities On Maui, Molokai & Lana’i

Retirement Communities On The Big Island

For more up-to-date, detailed info on moving to Hawaii, check out my e-book: Moving To Hawaii: A Step-By-Step Guide

New Affordable Condos In Honolulu: On Sale Now

I just found out about a brand-new condo building — Holomua — that is scheduled to open in early 2013. More than half of the condo units are being sold at reduced prices to qualified buyers under the state’s affordable housing program!

Holomua is being built in the Makiki area of Honolulu — the location is close to downtown, Shriner’s Hospital for Children, Punahou School, and University of Hawaii at Manoa. This is a highly walkable neighborhood, with shopping and public bus routes close by.

Units are already on sale, and at these prices I’m sure they’re going fast. I did a quick check and there are still units available, so if you’re interested, act now. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Total number of units in building: 176 units — 90 “affordable” units are being sold at reduced prices to income-eligible buyers. The remaining 86 are being sold at market prices.
  • Price range of “affordable” units: $240,000-$391,000 + $187-$398 monthly maintenance fee, depending on size of unit. Maintenance fee covers water/sewer bill and garbage pickup.
  • Price range of “market” units: $320,000-468,000 + $187-398 monthly maintenance fee, depending on size of unit. Maintenance fee covers water/sewer bill and garbage pickup.
  • Unit Floorplans: 1 bedroom/1 bath, 2 bedrooms/1 bath, and 2 bedrooms/2 baths.
  • Square footage of living space per unit: 354-752 square feet
  • Included appliances per unit: Refrigerator, range, garbage disposal, stacked washer & dryer, ceiling fans, 2 wall A/C units, water heater.
  • Building info: 23 stories high, assigned parking on the lower levels, 3 elevators, secure entry, trash chute, and pet-friendly!
Artist's rendering of completed high-rise building.

Construction of the Holomua condo building is scheduled to be complete in early 2013.

To be eligible to apply for an “affordable”-priced unit, your income must be no more than:

  • 1-member household: $80,070
  • 2-member household: $91,500
  • 3-member household: $102,940
  • 4-member household: $114,380
  • 5-member household: $123,530
  • 6-member household: $132,680
  • 7-member household: $141,830
  • 8-member household: $150,980

Contact the developer, Hawaiian Island Homes, to find out what their current open-house hours are, or to get more info.

For more up-to-date, detailed info on moving to Hawaii, check out my e-book: Moving To Hawaii: A Step-By-Step Guide

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