Overview of Honolulu

About 400,000 people live in Honolulu, the capital of the State of Hawai’i located on the island Oahu. Honolulu is the 11th largest city in the United States and largest city in the Hawaiian Island chain.

Buying a piece of Honolulu real estate is best if you want a serious career in banking, commerce, law, politics, or business.

As a general rule, the farther you get from Honolulu, the lower home prices become. Above Waikiki are many nice Honolulu neighborhoods with a mix of modern homes and older plantation-style homes. These areas—such as Kamehameha Heights, Pacific Heights, Nu’uanu, Makiki, and Manoa Valley—offer nice views and a peaceful atmosphere removed from the hustle and bustle of the city and highways yet still just a short commute to town.

South of Waikiki are the very desirable neighborhoods of Diamond Head, Black Point, and Kahala where the homes are quite expensive and most of the homes have ocean views.

Beyond Kahala on the southern shore is Aina Haina, which offers a hodge-podge of architectural styles, and the planned community of Hawai’i Kai, which is popular among newcomers and offers a mix of hillside homes, condominiums, and marina townhouses on Koko Marina. Development continues in this area leading to concerns about adequate infrastructure.

Waikiki is a cosmopolitan melting pot of hotels, parks, gourmet restaurants, fast food outlets, lively dance clubs, countless shopping opportunities, nightlife, and something for just about everyone.

Just ½-mile wide by 1½ miles long, Waikiki has more than 25,000 residents, 70,000 visiting tourists, 500 restaurants, more than 1,000 shops, and more than 190 hotels and vacation condominiums, and hundreds of entertainment venues.

Waikiki is also lined with white sandy beaches and relatively calm water. This world famous beach resort area is the center of the Aloha State’s billion-dollar tourism industry.

Throughout Waikiki there is a mix of residential condominium buildings and hotels including such historic landmarks as the Royal Moana Hotel built in 1901, and the Royal Hawaiian Hotel built in 1927 and known as “The Pink Palace of the Pacific.”

The east end of Waikiki near Kapi’olani Park and Diamond Head Crater is generally the quieter and more desirable section with a mix of low rise condominium homes and single family residences. This tree-lined area at the Diamond Head end of Kalakaua Avenue is often referred to as the “Gold Coast.” The homes and condominiums there—in the neighborhoods of Diamond Head, Black Point, and Kahala—are some of the most expensive homes in all of Hawai’i.

Makiki is central to downtown Honolulu, Waikiki, and the University of Hawai’i—Manoa, causing this area to be popular among students as well as professionals working in Honolulu.

The lower area of Makiki is comprised primarily of condominium’s with a few single family homes mixed in. There is a wide variety of condominium styles (walk-up, low rise, high rise) that vary significantly in price range.

The lush hillside neighborhoods of Makiki Heights and Tantalus have single-family homes in the high price range that offer dramatic views of the city extending all the way to Diamond Head and the ocean beyond. Like most Honolulu neighborhoods, there is an eclectic mix of modern homes and old plantation-style homes.

Manoa extends deep into the lush valley, and many of the homes along these tree-lined streets display a traditional New England style architecture, providing a very quaint neighborhood feel throughout the community.

This area also has several restaurants, shopping centers, and the University of Hawai’i—Manoa. There are several public and private schools, two hospitals, and also churches. Manoa’s beauty is in large part due to the amount of rain it receives, so make sure to have a good umbrella.

Ala Moana/Kaka’ako
Ala Moana and Kaka’ako are located at the very edge of the Waikiki district and therefore attracts a large number of visitors. Many of the luxury high-end condominiums in the area offer spectacular ocean, park, and city views.

Nearby is Ala Moana Shopping Center, Oahu’s largest regional shopping center, and also Ward Centre, so residents and visitors have many shopping, dining, and entertainment options. They also have easy access to Ala Moana Beach Park which provides a wonderful place to walk, jog, swim, and enjoy your days.

Nearby communities are Kapi’olani, Ward, and Kanau where some older single-family homes are scattered amongst the many low rise and high-rise condominiums.

Downtown / Nu’uanu
Honolulu is the state capital and the center of business and commerce. The downtown district is comprised mainly of commercial buildings and a few quality condominiums near the ocean just outside of the business district and Chinatown.

Most of these condominiums offer wonderful ocean or mountain views. There are also many wonderful dining, shopping, and nightlife options in Honolulu’s business district.

On the slopes and hillsides of the Nu’uanu area are primarily older single-family homes built on 6,000 to 8,000 square foot lots. Some larger estates on the lush hills of Nu’uanu and Pacific Heights carry high price tags and offer breathtaking panoramic city and ocean views. There are also numerous private and public schools, shopping centers, churches and a hospital.

Moanalua / Salt Lake
Moanalua is an established community of single-family homes in the valley and along the hillside. Aloha Stadium is nearby and is the home to concerts, fairs, and athletic competitions like the world famous Pro Bowl. Two hospitals and numerous public schools, churches, and shopping centers are also located in this area.

The community of Salt Lake is predominately medium to high-rise condominiums with some nicer single-family homes surrounding a golf course. This region is considered the most affordable place to live in the Honolulu (Metro Oahu) district and is a mix of military and local residents.

All of the communities in this region are just a short distance to downtown Honolulu, The Honolulu International Airport, Hickam Air Force Base, and the Pearl Harbor Navy Base.

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