Big Island

Vacant Lot for Sale: Kohala Ranch vs. Puakea Bay Ranch

Kohala Ranch and Puakea Bay Ranch are two gated communities, in North Kohala past the Kohala Coast resorts, with actual gate attendants. They are sought after for their ocean, sunset, and often Maui views. Both offer acreage for privacy or horses and have CC&Rs and design review for consistency in the neighborhood.

Right now there is a good selection of vacant lots for sale in both communities. So if you are looking for land to build your future home, is Kohala Ranch or Puakea Bay Ranch a better fit for you?

North Kohala coast sunset ocean views

Sunset and ocean views like these attract buyers to communities like Kohala Ranch and Puakea Bay Ranch along the North Kohala coast. This photo was taken from Kohala Ranch Heathers.

Vacant Land for Sale at Kohala Ranch

Because Kohala Ranch encompasses 3,500 acres and rises from the lower gate at 200ʻ above sea level to the upper gate a little over 3,000ʻ in elevation, you have a range from a dry resort-like climate, to green pastures at the Summit. Lots range in size from 3 acres to 13+ acres.  Within such a large community, there is always a good selection of lots for sale throughout the Ranch.

As of this writing, 2019 sales are strong. We may be seeing some downward pressure on prices due to the increase in property taxes following the removal of free-range cattle from Kohala Ranch, and Hawaii Countyʻs implementation of a short term vacation rental ordinance that restricts such rentals to outside of ag-zoned communities.

So far in 2019, 14 vacant lots have sold at Kohala Ranch, none of them priced over $300,000:

Summary-Vacant Lot Sales 
Kohala Ranch – Year to Date 2019
# Lowest Highest Average Median Mode
Listings 14 $139,000 $325,000 $224,129 $235,500 $250,000
MLS Sale $ 14 $120,000 $275,000 $202,143 $210,000 N/A
DOM to sale 14 2 1,974 427 253 N/A
Sale/Current Price 14 80.0% 100.0% 90.0% 89.5% 100.0%

Most surprising was the prices of lots sold so far this year in the lower Heathers section of Kohala Ranch. In 2017-18, three lots sold at prices from $375,000 – $575,000. This year, two lots sold for $120,000 and $140,000. One can only speculate that these sellers simply wanted to be first to sell, with a dozen Heathers lots on the market.

Puu views from upper Kohala Ranch lots

The upper sections of Kohala Ranch also feature pretty views of the puʻu (hills) of the Kohala mountains.

The Meadows II section is also popular this year, with two closed sales, one in escrow, and only four on the market. These are all around 5-acres and have beautiful Kohala Mountain views looking upward, in addition to their ocean views. Prices are mid to upper $200,000s.

Rainbows at Kohala Ranch

The higher elevations of Kohala Ranch have cooler climates, greener pastures, and frequent rainbows.

Serious horse owners would probably prefer the larger lots of 10 acres up, and the cooler elevations of the Summit lots. Size does not matter with vacant land at Kohala Ranch. The 14 lot listings in the Kohala Ranch Summit are priced at an average of around $290,000.

Vacant Land for Sale at Puakea Bay Ranch

The biggest distinction immediately apparent between Kohala Ranch and Puakea Bay Ranch is that Puakea Bay Ranch is an oceanfront community, while Kohala Ranch is entirely above coastal Akoni Pule Highway. Once you get inside, you will note that with only around three dozen lots (and several homes owning multiple lots), Puakea Bay Ranch is a much smaller community.

Puakea Bay Ranch gated

Puakea Bay Ranch is a gated oceanfront community of 10-acre lots near Hawi in North Kohala.

All lots at Puakea Bay Ranch are approximately 10 acres. CC&Rs are more restrictive at Puakea Bay Ranch than at Kohala Ranch and require a larger minimum home size. On the flip side, Puakea is on County water, which is significantly less expensive than the private water at Kohala Ranch.

It surprises me that no lots have sold at Puakea Bay Ranch since 2017. In that year there were two sales. One was of the near-oceanfront lots for $850,000; one was of the horizontally oriented 10-acre lots, for $357,500.

Neither of the factors mentioned that might affect prices at Kohala Ranch applies to Puakea Bay Ranch, which has CC&Rs prohibiting vacation rentals and still has ranch cattle available to graze vacant land.

Puakea vacant lot for sale with Maui views

Count on ocean and Maui views from 10-acre Puakea Bay Ranch lots for sale (MLS 624215)

There is currently a strong selection of four lots for sale at Puakea Bay Ranch, priced $395,000 to $475,000.

If you still arenʻt sure which North Kohala location is right for your vacant land purchase and eventual home, feel free to give me a call. We can jump in my SUV and look at some lots!

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Suzy Dunithan

October 3, 2019

Thank you Beth! You’re posts are so informative and easily understood. One day soon, I will definitely give you a call, to jump in your SUV to look at some lots!

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