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Finding Hawaii’s Affordable Condos

homes1006_4Fifteenth in a series

Honolulu Board of Realtors statistics for August 2013 show Pearl City/Aiea condominium apartments selling at a median price of $345,000, up 26% over $274,000 in August 2012 and commanding 98.9% of the original list price. Median days on the market until the unit sells have dropped from 24 to 10.

The desirability of the neighborhood, which wraps around the shores of Pearl Harbor and extends up the flanks of the Koolau range, is sustained primarily by its convenience. Located 11 miles west of Downtown Honolulu and 8 miles east of Kapolei, it’s an easy commute to either urban center, as well as Honolulu International Airport.

The population has remained relatively static, currently at just under 48,000, primarily because new residential development in the area has been minimal in recent years. Due to the proximity of several large military bases and facilities, most notably Joint Base Hickam/Pearl Harbor, Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, and Camp H. M. Smith, service members constitute a high percentage of the population.

Both Pearl City and Aiea are family oriented communities known for the quality of their schools. Family recreation tends to revolve around youth activities, predominately school sports. Aloha Stadium hosts both the University of Hawaii Warriors football games and the Interscholastic League of Honolulu’s fall football season; its parking area is the venue of the state’s largest swap meet. The Leeward Bowl, Oahu’s largest bowling establishment, is utilized by youth and senior leagues alike. Leeward Community College offers a variety of cultural programs and incorporates a professional quality live theater. The Pearl Country Club, considered one of Hawaii’s best public/private 18 hole golf courses, hosts local tournaments including youth oriented programs. In addition to the Pearl City District Park and Aiea District Park, both with swimming pools, a number of community parks include multiple tennis courts.

Parks and an abundance of options for shopping and dining, including major shopping centers and strip malls, are convenient to most residential areas and often within walking distance.

Such is the case with a condominium unit in Lehua Nani on Lehua Avenue currently being offered by Century 21 Kailua Beach Realtor Barbara Pratt. The two bedroom, one bath 7th floor unit is priced at $225,000 and attracted an assortment of interested buyers at Pratt’s first open house three weeks ago. “People of all ages and backgrounds showed up, including military attracted by the potential for VA financing,” Pratt said. “The unit is 674 square feet with a covered, usable 144 square foot lanai overlooking the city, Pearl Harbor, and the ocean. The building is well maintained, pet friendly, and includes a swimming pool. The unit’s one assigned parking space is close to the elevator, which is keyed. Not only is this condo a great buy at the price, but its $530 monthly maintenance fee includes electricity, which is not standard, and water and sewer charges, which have become a big cost item…plus the unit has its own washer and dryer, as well as a dishwasher.”

Prior to becoming a full-time Realtor, Pratt worked at the landmark Pearl City Tavern for 27 years and managed its Monkey Bar, a favorite of both local families and visitors. “I really got to know this neighborhood during that period, and I have found it to be a caring, public spirited community. People are proud of the achievements of their children and nurture their abilities in sports as well as academics…our local schools have some of the best bands in the state.

“The unit I’ve listed would be a perfect starter home for a small family…the Lehua Community Park, a library, and small shopping mall with a supermarket are within walking distance. It could also be an excellent choice for seniors and retirees. I’m expecting an acceptable offer soon but will continue to show either by appointment or at my next open house Sunday, October 6, from 2 to 5 p.m.

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