If the Slipper Fits… Buy It! | Finding the Right Big Island Location
The first detail a buyer and their agent must address is location. To a large extent, pricing drives location. Buyers envision finding their piece of paradise quickly. This rarely happens because, as they say, it’s a very “Big” Island.
A Matter of Perception
Even discussions about location differences can be challenging. For instance, take the concept of a “subdivision.” Off-island buyers assume streetlights, curbs, gutters, and sidewalks. For East Hawai`i Kama`aina, the term is just as likely to conjure images of spaghetti lots in sprawling agricultural subdivisions where unpaved roads, catchment tanks, and agricultural pursuits are the norm and where only the moon and night stars light the drive home.
Life’s a Beach
Those seeking all things familiar and affordable often find it in the four contiguous subdivisions running mauka/makai and on both sides of Kahakai Blvd. With approximately 3,100 lots, the subdivisions of Hawaiian Beaches, Hawaiian Parks, Hawaiian Shores and Hawaiian Shores Recreational Estates (HSRE) have paved roads, mail delivery, and all utilities. For the most part (with the exception of HSRE), it’s impossible to tell where each area begins and ends.
Locals generically lump the 4 under the umbrella of “Hawaiian Beaches,” and while they all terminate at the ocean, there is no “beach” in Hawaiian Beaches. There is, however, much to like and a few challenges when it comes to buying and selling in any of these areas.
Several parks, “da Ssore,” mail delivery, piped water, an elementary school, and good roads all enhance the quality of life. All parcels are zoned agricultural, and except for HSRE where protective covenants prohibit farm use, owners can engage in limited agricultural activities.
Owning Cheaper Than Renting?
HSRE, with thoughtful protective covenants and restrictions, provides excellent recreational facilities and a strong association. Most happily pay the reasonable association fee that helps ensure that property values remain strong. Roads in HSRE are privately maintained, and when you enter HSRE, there is a definite difference. Homes in these areas currently average around $220,000 which, at today’s rates, mean that owning is probably cheaper than renting.
But here’s the thing. You will sometimes need to shop lenders to find one that offers the most desirable loan programs due to the lava zone 2 designation. Insurance options are limited, and some mainstream insurers (State Farm, Allstate, and USAA to name a few) do not insure in these areas at all. Despite limitations, these subdivisions are attractive options with a lot to offer. It all leaves many of us scratching our heads regarding long-standing lending and insurance restrictions.
The Right Fit?
Traffic to Hilo can be heavy, but shopping and commercial improvements in the immediate area have helped reduce trips to town. Ingress and egress into Hawaiian Beaches are basically limited to a single road which can be problematic when accidents occur. Pricing and availability make vacant land a real opportunity right now.
In Hawaii, there’s a slipper for every foot and a property for every buyer. So, if your slipper tends toward the familiar, Hawaiian Beaches is definitely an area you’ll want to consider before you purchase your place in paradise!