This Small Neighborhood Offers the Best Quality of Life in Hawaii
Recently, Hawai’i Life released its 2022 Midyear Hawai’i Luxury Market Report. Developed by our CEO Matt Beall, the report highlights sales and trends in Hawaii’s high-end real estate market. It is a fascinating publication, and if you are interested in Hawaii real estate, I highly recommend reading it here. One thing that caught my eye was that the major drivers that make people buy real estate and relocate to Hawaii are not tangible.
“Among the many reasons for relocation to Hawai’i, quality of life remains the most common. Hawai’i’s quality of life includes culture, climate, health, and recreation opportunities. Other criteria include low crime incidence and longevity. Based on these criteria, Hawai’i continues to rank first in quality of life, as measured by both Mercer and by Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hawai’i not only leads the U.S. in life expectancy but in healthy life expectancy. And Hawai’i is consistently ranked in the top 10 best places to live in the nation.”
Living in Hawaii, I can agree with that. Every island is different and offers its own unique niche. I chose the Big Island decades ago for its wide open spaces, low population, and breathtaking nature. Now I live in a small beachfront community of Puako, and it delivers everything on a Hawaii property buyer’s list — location, values, quality, and wellness.
So when clients ask me what area of the island they should choose for the best quality of life, my answer is almost always Puako!
If you have never heard of Puako, I am not surprised. That is why people call it the best-kept secret of the Big Island. Situated about 28 miles North of Kona, this charming residential neighborhood is truly a hidden gem, boasting a beautiful coastline, gorgeous sunsets, and a vibrant community.
If you ever traveled along the Big Island’s South Kohala Coasts, you likely passed it multiple times without ever knowing of its existence. Puako is nested in between Mauna Lani and Hapuna Beach Resorts. It is a mix of little beach houses, single-family homes, and expansive oceanfront mansions. With only 3.5 miles of the neighborhood, properties here are for a few fortunate to find. Puako’s unique location, stunning ocean views, and a sense of established community contribute to high demand. Puako Beach Drive is the only street in this area outside the resorts, yet it is close to all the luxury and amenities life offers.
The neighborhood consists of about 220-230 properties, with not many lots available to build on. With the ocean on the west side, the community has a big strip of open state land on the other side with one of the most extensive kiawe forests on the island, which separates the street from the highway and contributes to a peaceful and quiet environment.
And that is what people who live here value the most — safety, peace, and serenity. You feel like you are on another planet, away from the world’s fuss, stress, and chaos.
Freedom and Safety
Not being part of the resorts means not only the absence of high HOA fees but also strict regulations that often plague the gated communities.
Residents here enjoy the freedom of managing their properties and living as they please while respecting their neighbors and keeping others’ well-being in mind. Many artists and creative individuals find their homes in our peaceful community. It is not unusual to see a Plein air painter on the beach working on his next masterpiece or a photographer with a tripod during the sunset hour.
Puako is considered one of the safest communities in the world. It is one of those proverbial neighborhoods where you don’t lock the door when leaving home, and kids play on the street unattended. Puako’s total crime rate is 54% lower than the national average, the violent crime rate is 74% lower, and the property crime rate is 50% lower than the national average.
The well-established community of the homeowners and residents contributes to that. The rotation of ownership in Puako is twice slower than anywhere else. The average length of time homeowners stay in their house is 12 years, which is twice longer than average in America. There are only a few vacation rentals here, and people living in Puako are primarily owners, full or part-time. From my experience living in Puako for decades, knowing and trusting your neighbors is valuable.
Puako is also a kid-friendly neighborhood perfect for families wanting to raise their precious kiddos in a safe, peaceful, and healthy environment. Waikoloa Elementary School is just 20 minutes away. In addition, there are two highly sought-after schools- – Parker School and HPA — just 30-minutes away in Waimea, making Puako a desirable place for parents looking for quality education for their children and a beautiful lifestyle for their family.
Health, Wellness, and Fun
Living on a warm, beautiful ocean and having access to it all the time says it all! Puako boasts two larger beaches, Paniau and Waialea (aka Beach 69), several smaller ones, and a magnificent, accessible coastline that stretches for several miles. You can swim, snorkel, dive, boat, kayak, fish, sunbathe, or watch the sunset from the beach without ever leaving the neighborhood. It is also fun to explore the tidal pools with your kids and watch the green sea turtles or baby marine life forming in these unique nature nurseries.
South Kohala Coast’s microclimate provides perfect weather on most days, so you are always drawn to spending more time outdoors. Going down Puako Drive, you will always see someone riding a bike, walking, chatting to neighbors, or gardening. Many residents have mango, citrus, starfruit, and other fruit trees and often share their harvest with their neighbors.
Local yoga classes and events are standard, and you often get invited to community celebrations and gatherings, all conducted in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Newcomers don’t find it difficult to make friends in Puako!
Hawaii is also assigned the status of one of the Blue Zones, which are several areas in different parts of the world where people live longest. I’d say people not only live longer in Hawaii but also healthier and happier; climate, culture, peace, and community all contribute to that.
Investing in real estate is no longer the primary reason people move to Hawaii; investing in their lives is. Because they know they can have a lifestyle that has no price on it.
Want to live your dream lifestyle? Check out my active Puako listings.