Oahu’s give island residents many lifestyle options. From beach towns to hidden valleys and family-friendly communities, the island of Oahu has it all. This is where you’ll learn more about Oahu’s wonderful neighborhoods
Millions of visitors each year make the beach scene at Waikiki vibrant, the people watching colorful and the condo market one of the most popular in the world.
For many, Waikiki’s high-end shopping is the destination, with an upscale collection of Rodeo Drive-style fashion boutiques such as Tiffany & Co., Gucci, Chanel, Hugo Boss, and Louis Vuitton.
For art lovers there are galleries, for health nuts there are plenty of oceanfront jogging paths, and for the sushi connoisseur there are exotic restaurants. Honeymooners will find plenty of romantic settings, and for the keiki, the Waikiki Zoo, penguins at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, hotels with waterslides, magic shows, and fireworks every Friday night are never-ending thrills. Families from around the world take to the beaches where the combination of fun in the sun together with plenty of activities, entertainment and food choices make Waikiki a perfect vacation spot.
It’s the something-for-everyone quality that has Waikiki at the top of the list for those looking for a retirement getaway or considering an investment in a primo rental property.
“The location of Waikiki, between the Diamond Head neighborhood with Kapiolani Park, the Aquarium, and the Zoo on one end and Ala Moana Beach Park and Ala Moana Center and Ward Center on the other provides an excellent variety of activities within walking distance,” says Dwight M. Ellis, Realtor Associate at Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties. “Waikiki is a unique resort neighborhood with a cosmopolitan mix of ethnic groups as well as age groups.”
An investor’s paradise, Waikiki has a diverse menu of condos, from the 200-square-foot condo hotel with only basic amenities to penthouse units with more than 2,000 square feet, a spa and valet parking.
“The majority of properties are lodging units, studios, 1- and 2-bedroom condos, says Ellis. “Prices range from the lows under $28,000 for a leasehold apartment to more that $9 million.”
First time investors looking for the ultra-conservative, lowest-priced, biggest bang-for-your-buck condo have plenty of options. Positive cash flow or collected rents that pay the mortgage are feasible — depending on the price and down payment — with mid-range rents that bring in an average $1,500 a month. Waikiki offers a way for investors to start small with a low capital investment.
But educating yourself about the nuances of the Waikiki market before you dive in is recommended. Little-known details about a homeowners association’s reserves study or pending legal disputes, the ins and outs of condo hotels, and about which resort condos offer the best building amenities can be best gleaned by having an experienced real estate agent by your side.
“Buyers should first know the difference between leasehold and fee simple, and the intricacies of how financing is affected by lease rent renegotiation and expiration dates, says Ellis, who is more than happy to help buyers learn the ropes. “You should know the value of a parking stall versus no parking stall. Have an awareness of condo board meeting minutes to see what’s going on in the building and house rules for information on pet or rental restrictions.”
Ellis helps buyers crunch the numbers and his advice is to look for buildings with low maintenance fees that are well managed. His favorite is Waipuna for high floor 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom units with good-size floor plans, parking included, washer and dryers in the unit, and open lanai.
“It’s almost an oasis on Ena Road,” says Ellis. “I also like Aloha Tower (on Lewers Street) for high floor 1- and 2-bedroom units, it’s well managed and pet friendly in a quiet and central area. For studios, I like the Fairway Villa (on Ala Wai Boulevard) for its amenities, washer/dryers in the units, parking and open lanai.”
According to Ellis, 75 percent of the buyers in Waikiki are primarily from the U.S. mainland and are second-home investors looking for warm weather retirement. But Waikiki is also a great opportunity for local buyers to start small and get into the real estate market.
From rooftop pools, to dog parks and fitness centers, condos in Waikiki are as affordable as they are alluring. Bring your sunscreen and get ready to soak up the lifestyle.
Friday night fireworks @ Hilton Hawaiian Village
There’s nothing more romantic than a moonlit walk down the beach in Waikiki, unless it’s Friday night. Find something to celebrate and make it even more special with the fireworks show every Friday night at 8 p.m. April through September, and 7:30 p.m. October through March. Sponsored by the Hilton Hawaiian Village, it lights up the sky throughout Waikiki.
Sometimes called condotels, these hotel room to condo conversions are a trendy way to buy real estate in Waikiki for a fraction of the price of a full-sized condo.
Providing perhaps the most bang-for-your-buck, condo hotels comprise some of Waikiki’s older buildings, where the hotel owner cashed out by selling each room as an individual unit. They are small, literally the size of a hotel room.
Some of these properties still function like a hotel, with a front desk and property managers who rent out rooms by the day or by the week. Some owners opt to lease long-term and manage their property themselves. Other condo hotel owners simply want an inexpensive vacation getaway for family and friends.
Ala Wai Golf Course
With views of Diamond Head and theWaikiki skyline, the municipal Ala Wai Golf Course —featuring a par 70 18-hole course — is surrounded by as much beauty as some of the resort courses on the island.
As a municipal course, the green fees are relatively inexpensive, which sometimes make it nearly impossible to get a tee time. But that hasn’t discouraged the faithful who find the convenient location and the local crowd appealing. The course has been dubbed one of the island’s busiest, (maybe the busiest in the world) for good reason.
Ala Moana Beach Park/Magic Island
Free parking and calm reef-protected water, make Ala Moana Beach Park and Magic Island a preferred beach for runners, paddlers, fishermen, swimmers and local families. Home to the annual Memorial Day Lantern Floating Ceremony, Fourth of July fireworks, and the Greek Festival in August as well as being a favorite weekend spot for family gatherings and barbecues, this beach has a distinct local feel.
Waikiki Halloween Street Festival
There is no more entertaining people watching than Halloween night in Waikiki when thousands dress up in costumes and fill the streets.
The event is not sanctioned, so there are no official competitions or floats or prizes, but the effort and elaborateness of the costumes is impressive and the spontaneous non-stop parade of goblins, super heroes and princesses is remarkable.
If you haven’t been to Waikiki on Halloween, it is a must do this year.
On September 15, Waikiki’s Kalakaua Avenue is the venue for the state’s largest block party — over 12 city blocks — to celebrate Hawaiian culture with island on stage music and dance performances, as well as crafts and plenty of food. The pageantry is colorful and the event is part of the Aloha Festivals. Admission is free and open to the public.
Waikiki is Open
Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties will host the fourth annual mega Open House in Waikiki on July 15. During this one-day Waikiki-mania, homebuyers will have the opportunity to see as many condos and single-family homes as they possibly can in one day.
A total of 50 listings were held open in last year’s event, making it easy for folks to explore the idea of owning a primary residence, an investment or a second home in Waikiki.
This year, open house-goers will have fun going from building to building in trolleys and pedicabs and enjoy a special dining offer and a chance to win prizes.
Waikiki may very well be the most famous beach in the world. Property values there are strong and the area is thought by many investors to be a gold mine. Mark your calendar and visit SITE for details.
Much Aloha to Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties and Island Homes Collection, Who bring wonderful neighborhoods and some of our favorite dining options.