Recently, I received an inquiry from a potential buyer. He reached out to me because he wants to buy a home on Oahu. Unfortunately, his price range was $300,000, but his “want” range was a whole lot higher. If you are looking for a single-family home on Oahu, you might be surprised to learn that there are currently less than 100 fee simple homes on the market for under $1,000,000. Actually, there are 75 to be exact. That’s it. Only 75 homes for under $1 million on an island that boasts a population of over one million residents. Wow!
If your budget and your bank account limit your purchasing power to less than one million, you’ll want to prepare to make some compromises. You can still find some decent single-family homes for under $1 mil. But, you may have to put in some money — and some work — to upgrade. You might also have to commute, at least if you work in Honolulu. If you aren’t familiar with Oahu, it’s important to know that the island is divided into five distinct regions: Honolulu, the Windward Coast, Central Oahu, the Leeward Coast, and the North Shore. You’ll want to explore all regions, but you’ll find that the most affordable homes are usually found in Central Oahu or Leeward Oahu. You’ll also discover that each region is unique. Dynamic. Special. Where you choose to live is more than just about affordability, so be sure to check out the whole island.
Lifestyle & Location Over Product
In my experience, many buyers choose lifestyle and location over product. For example, I know one young couple with two kids who purchased a large one bedroom condo in Hawaii Kai. Living in a waterfront community close to family and friends was more important than mere space. Granted, not everyone is willing to compromise living space, but in Hawaii, we do tend to make housing compromises. Compromises that allow us to live in one of the most beautiful places on the planet. After all, who needs a large living space when we’ve got stretches of soft white sand surrounded by warm blue water, the majestic Ko’olau and Waianae Mountains that awe our senses, the sunrise and sunset views that take our breath away, and the sun’s warmth all year long? And, that’s just for beginners. Don’t get me started on the culture, the food, and most of all, the people.
There is a reason why we live here. A reason why we are willing to compromise. A reason why we say, “Lucky we live Hawaii.”
Explore Your Options
Yes, the prices for single-family homes are high. And yes, it can be discouraging. But, there are alternative choices if a single-family home is beyond your reach. Perhaps you can consider purchasing a townhome or a condominium? You’ll have a lot more choices, plus you won’t have to deal with the maintenance that comes with owning a house. There are many nice projects and units to choose from and many have amenities for your enjoyment. Currently, there are over 700 condos and townhomes priced at under $1,000,000. That’s approximately a 10 to 1 ratio. Interesting. So, if you really want to own property on Oahu and your budget doesn’t allow for a single-family home, isn’t it worth exploring other options? Isn’t owning a piece of the rock better than not owning at all? Besides, a condo is often a first step to owning a single-family home later.
Buying is a personal choice. We all have our “must have” or “can’t live without” lists. I can’t speak for you, but I can share that in my opinion, living in Hawaii is worth giving up on some of the “must haves.” It’s worth the costs, the compromises, and even the inconveniences we all have to deal with. Island life is unique, it’s expensive, and it almost always involves compromise, but the reality is that we don’t always get what we want in a home, especially in Hawaii, and especially in this heated market. But, if we are willing to explore options and make some compromises, we may just get what we need — a Hawaii life!