Big Island

New Listings At Puakea Bay Ranch

The only homes currently for sale at Puakea Bay Ranch are two new listings featured (along with whale watching and Valentineʻs Day treats) on the most recent North Kohala brokers caravan from Hawi to Niulii.

The two Puakea listings provide a classic illustration of the pluses and minuses of “oceanfront versus almost-oceanfront” residences. The Puakea oceanfront property is one I have written about multiple times…most recently when it sold via Concierge Auction in 2017 and when I really believed it would sell due to the level of activity and buzz in 2013. The “almost-oceanfront” home is a Hawaii Life listing.

Puakea Bay Ranch almost oceanfront home

“Almost oceanfront” means you do not own land down to the ocean, but no one can build in front of you. An example would be this Puakea Bay Ranch home.

Puakea Bay Ranch Oceanfront: You Could Not Replace this Property

You literally could not rebuild the Puakea Bay Ranch oceanfront estate as it is. Usually “irreplaceable” in real estate is hyperbole…however, in this case, current zoning and building codes plus the erosion of the oceanfront cliff mean you could not build this close…or this much home here.

Oceanfront cliffs at Puakea Bay Ranch

The oceanfront home at Puakea Bay Ranch is perched on a steep cliff…a plus if you worry about rising sea levels.

Then letʻs look at price/square foot. Whatʻs included in the listing are the structures plus three parcels for a total of 24.58 acres. Non-oceanfront vacant parcels at Puakea are listed around $400,000; multiply times two and add $800,000 for the small oceanfront lot, and a reasonable, possibly low, value for the land would be $1.6 million. The listing says there are almost 13,000 sq ft of interior space between the main house and guest quarters…which would work out to $386/sq ft. In other words, the $6,590,000 asking price is below replacement cost by a considerable factor.

Are there any other oceanfront listings of similar size with which to compare this listing? The current most expensive listing on Hawaii Island is asking $52,500,000 for a property in Keauhou: 12,584 sq ft of living space on only 1.5 acres, with a main home and five other dwellings forming a compound on the peninsula.

Iʻm not saying either of these is the right listing price, but we all know luxury goods are supposed to sell for more than what they cost to make them, right?

“Front Row” Can be the Value Purchase at Puakea Bay Ranch – and In General

The term “front row” is usually encountered in listings at Hualalai Resort or Kukio, where it is used to mean that you do not own all the way to the oceanfront, but no one can build on the bit of land between you and the ocean. While sometimes front row properties are close enough to the shoreline that special rules apply for building just as they do for oceanfront, you do not have to worry about, for example, public access trails through your property (call me for an explanation of that complexity at Puakea Bay Ranch).

Puakea Pool View

Only the front row lots in Puakea Bay Ranch are oriented perpendicular to the ocean to protect ocean and Maui views.

The North Kohala shorelines near Hawi are steep cliffs (“pali” in Hawaiian) rather than beach, so proximity to the oceanfront is about seeing whales beach in season and the luxury of having no one building in your view plane. Thatʻs the main value of a “front row” home.

If you are interested in either oceanfront or front row property along the Kona and Kohala coasts, there are other listings, both land and homes, and Iʻd be happy to provide a list and discuss their relative merits — preferably at a sunset showing.

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