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Finding Hawaii’s Affordable Condos

homes0908_4Eleventh in a series

Although their “dream home” may be a house with a garden, many first-time buyers with limited financial resources are taking a realistic look at the market and opting to make their debut as homeowners with the purchase of a condominium apartment or townhome. They’ve decided not to wait for single family home prices to come down…because neither Realtors nor lenders have a crystal ball revealing “if or when”…and, if they are in a position to qualify for a loan now, they know it makes sense to make their move while interest rates are still low. In this series on affordable condos and town-homes, Realtors will comment on the marketplace and finding the best values.

The inventory of condominium apartments currently available in Kaneohe ranges from less than $200,000 to more than $500,000, the primary determinants of price being age and condition of the unit and, of course, location. Proximity to Kaneohe Bay, as well as views of the picturesque coastline and dramatic backdrop of the Koolau Mountains, can significantly affect the desirability and price of both single and multi-family homes. Whether the buyer favors a more rural or urban setting is often based on the importance of convenience to such amenities as shopping malls, schools, and bus service. These can be priorities for entry level buyers and seniors hoping to keep expenditures for transportation to a minimum.

Impacting the growth of the Kaneohe real estate market in recent years has been the opening of the H-3 freeway and the increase in military population with the influx of additional personnel at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay. The completion of H-3 significantly improved traffic flow between Kaneohe and Honolulu and Pearl Harbor, and provides a third option for commuters in addition to Likelike and Pali highways.

Also contributing to escalating real estate values is a wealth of recreational and educational options. Embracing Kaneohe Bay, Kaneohe has been referred to as a “boating community,” and is, in fact, home to Hawaii’s oldest continuously operating yacht club, which provides boating education and harbor facilities. Boaters can also access the bay from a public pier and boat ramp at Heeia Kea.

Local families make good use of the extensive facilities and varied programs for children, adults, and seniors available at Kaneohe District Park. Within its more than 31 acres are tennis courts, ball fields, gyms, meeting rooms, and a swimming pool.

400-acre Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden encompasses a lake, network of trails, campgrounds, a visitor center, and exhibition halls, and offers educational programs. Golfers have a choice of three nearby golf courses: the Pali Golf Course, Koolau Golf Club, and Bayview Golf Park.

Hawaii Pacific University, Hawaii Loa Campus and Wind-ward Community College, both situated in exceptionally beautiful natural settings, offer many innovative programs for students and serve as a cultural resource in the community.

Distinctive Homes Hawaii Realtor Tiffany Davies, a Windward resident and specialist in Wind-ward properties, has listed a two bedroom, one bath condominium unit in the Cliff View Terrace on Lilipuna Road for $235,000.

“This is a desirable corner/ end unit that looks out over the treetops to the beautiful, forested slopes of the Koolau mountains…and there’s also a peek-a-boo ocean view from the lanai and lots of natural light,” Davies said. “It was remodeled two years ago and the kitchen updated with new countertops. There are many nice features, such as the large dining counter between the kitchen and main living area, ceramic tile floors, and ample storage.

“The Cliff View Terrace is located right in the heart of Kaneohe and couldn’t be more convenient. Windward Mall with shops, restaurants, and movie theaters as well as schools and a busline are close-by. This condo is ideal for first-time buyers as well as investors.”

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