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Cute Plantation-Era Homes in Kohala For Sale

When you drive through Kohala — the small towns of Hawi and Kapaau — you see cute plantation-era homes lining the streets. These simple, single wall construction houses, typically 3 bedrooms/1 bath and around 900-1000 sq ft, were sold to workers and moved on flatbed trucks from sugar plantation camps when the plantation shut down. In many cases, the same families still own the homes.

Plantation era home Kapaau

Typical plantation-era home has carport instead of garage, single wall construction. In this case renovations include new roof, fresh paint in classic colors, and an updated kitchen (MLS 631710)

Despite their size, Kohala family homes often house multiple generations, with perhaps a bathroom added in the carport and fencing for the dog. A 15,000 sq ft lot might typically be planted with banana, papaya and citrus trees, ti leaves marking the corners and tropical flowers for color and scent. Evening gatherings happen in carports and back yards, the sweet sounds of a guitar or ukulele and laughter carrying down the street.

In this rural North Kohala community, a plantation-era home on a one-third acre residential lot is often the most affordable choice for first-time buyers and retirees.

How much does a small plantation home cost in Kohala?

A completely “original” home with no updates, termite damage, and years of neglect might sell for not much more than lot value. But even the homes in the $250,000 range whose condition requires a cash sale are often bought by local contractors, renovated, and sold to local families.

Original condition on great lot

Original condition, great lot, 2 beds/1 bath 745 sq ft home, was listed for $250,000 (MLS 630956)

So far in 2019 there have been 9 completed sales at prices from $265,000 to $450,000. There are eight homes in escrow, ranging from a bank-owned foreclosure listed for just $110,000, to a home asking $439,000 that was completely renovated this year with new “everything” — vinyl plank flooring, kitchen appliances, cabinets, bathrooms, even the drywall.

Current active listings from $330,000 to $525,000

Why the big range in asking and sales prices for houses of similar size on similarly sized lots?

  • Homes that have some updating sell for more than those in original condition, but many buyers like original details that speak to the plantation history.
  • Those with a premium location – meaning on one of the rare side streets (Union Mill Road, Halaula Mill Road or Halaula Maulili Road) – sell for more than those on the main roads.
Turquoise formica and koa cabinets

Original jalousie windows; cool, now-vintage updates include turquoise Formica counters and koa cabinets; new laminate flooring; and a location off the main roads (MLS 626757)

And, regardless of size and age, homes with ocean view sell for more than those without.

Ocean view from entry level home in Kapaau

The surprise: from the small home on Akoni Pule Highway, the yard offers this ocean view (MLS 631710)

Curious about these plantation-era homes? Or interested in a small lot where you can build a similarly styled package home? Iʻm happy to guide you through the options!

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Paul B McArthur

October 10, 2019

may want to move back to the Big Isand

Tracy S Stice

October 10, 2019

Beth, same thing on Maui is about $200,000 more. Hawi is a sweet spot too !

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