Affordable options for homebuyers on Oahu

Homeownership on Oahu can feel out of reach for first-time homebuyers searching for houses within their price range. The shortage of options and increasing demand drives prices up and can force young families with lowto mid-level incomes out of the market.

At a glance there seems to be few, if any, homes you can afford. Fortunately, there are numerous options available that you might not have heard of yet.

THE WEST SIDE

It’s no secret that west Oahu offers some of the most affordable housing on the island. What you may not know is there are numerous development projects bringing large numbers of new single-family homes and condos to Kapolei and Ewa Beach. Denise Fisher, RA at Locations, explains, “This area is an ever-growing community with a variety of options. New or old, with or without associations, the choices go on and on.” She adds, “With the increased development in the area, more jobs and new schools, more residents are moving in every day.”

While the area is quickly becoming Oahu’s “second city,” many people with jobs in town still look to rent in Hon-olulu to avoid the hour-plus commute. The Honolulu rail aims to mitigate that issue.

THE RAIL EFFECT

When the Honolulu rail is completed, the 90-minute commute to Honolulu will turn into a 48-minute commute sans traffic from the East Kapolei station. With the addition of reliable public transportation, housing values in certain areas may increase. “There is a lot of traffic on the freeway coming towards Kapolei,” Fisher says. “It would help immensely if people were willing to uti-lize the Honolulu rail instead of driving.”

Homebuyers who purchase a property now — at a good price, in a great neighborhood — are making a smart investment that puts them ahead of the curve. Median prices and sales in Ewa Beach and Kapolei have been on the rise due to low inventory, and these increases will be exacerbated once the rail is completed.

Real estate investments are about timing. The current low prices are predicted to disappear once the commute does. Contact a Locations agent at our Kapolei office to find out more. The rail will also run through Keauhou Place.

WHAT IS RESERVED HOUSING?

Kakaako is emerging as the hip, urban neighborhood where residents are able to live, work and play. The reserved housing program is

making homeownership in the vibrant new neighborhood affordable for families who meet the requirements. For those who qualify, the opportunity to purchase a condo at an affordable price.

Marshall Mower, REALTOR® Partner at Locations, says, “Don’t assume you can’t afford a nice new condo in Kakaako. Explore your options including reserved housing. Call your Realtor and see what is out there for you.”

If you meet the remaining qualifications, you can own a condo in the up-and-coming Kakaako neighborhood for much less than the median condo price in the area.

OPPORTUNITY FOR FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYERS

Reserved housing is an incredible opportunity for first-time homebuyers. “Reserved housing units are oftentimes sold for below current market prices. If you can do it, buy a condo in Kakaako now and hold onto that property for as long as you possibly can,” Mower says. “Kakaako is rapidly transforming into one of the very best neighborhoods in the city. It offers a unique lifestyle. I’ve lived in Kakaako since 1998 and I’m very excited about the future growth and development.”

According to data provided by the Hawaii Community Development Authority, 32.6 percent of homeowners on Oahu are eligible for this program, yet most are unaware that it even exists. Keauhou Place is one such development that has reserved housing units for sale. Contact a Locations agent today to see if you qualify and keep in mind the window to capitalize on these opportunities is getting smaller by the day.

Remember, these are helpful starting points for first-time homebuyers that don’t necessarily apply to everyone. To find a solution that fits your unique situation, consult one of Locations’ experienced local agents.

Locations Hawaii
Michael Marks
Sandwich Isles Realty
Kimo Smigielski, Broker-in-Charge
R, ABR, CRS, GRI, e-PRO
Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers
Emily Garcia
Agent, REALTOR(A), RS-77391
Coldwell Banker
DAY-LUM Properties

Edith Crabb, RB-8195
Coldwell Banker
DAY-LUM Properties

Glenn Takase, RB-18547
Coldwell Banker
DAY-LUM Properties

Misti R. Tyrin, RS-75836
Coldwell Banker
DAY-LUM Properties

David L. Skeele, RB-12882
Kauai Landmark Realty
Phil Fudge, RB-18576
Claire Keaton, RS-73854
Coldwell Banker
DAY-LUM Properties

Shea Miyashiro, RS-64678
Coldwell Banker
DAY-LUM Properties

Atsuko Winston, RS-75899
Coldwell Banker
DAY-LUM Properties

Mark Skeele, RS-77005