Finding Hawaii’s Affordable Condos
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 development of condominium townhome communities in the Ewa area in the 1980s filled a need on Oahu for affordably priced homes for families and first-time homebuyers. This home style continues to offer opportunity for homebuyers entering the market for the first time, particularly for those with limited financial resources.
Although prices may have escalated over the years, today’s low interest rates and various government sponsored programs, such as FHA, VA, and USDA, are making product in a wider range of price points accessible to buyers.
As a corollary, buyers are finding that they often get more house for their money with a townhome and, in addition, an attractive array of amenities. Generally townhome developments incorporate an assortment of recreational features, and schools, churches, parks, and shopping are often close-by.
Cindy Rees-Ouchi, Broker/Realtor, CRS and Senior Partner with Island Realtors, recently listed a townhome in the Sun Rise townhome development in Ewa Beach with a predictably strong response…the two bedroom, two bath unit with two parking stalls and extra storage was priced at $245,000 fee simple. “We had more than a dozen prospects and multiple offers after the first open house,” Rees-Ouchi said. “The unit was well maintained and included all major appliances including a dishwasher, washer, dryer, three air conditioners, and three ceiling fans. The complex itself includes a recreation area, swimming pool, clubhouse, and meeting room.
“Like other Gentry Homes developments in the area, this community has been well designed and is professionally managed. Landscaping in these types of developments that grew up on cleared agricultural land usually improves with time. Covenants and restrictions are in place to ensure that streetscapes conform to standards set by the Ewa by Gentry Association. Because of this quality control, buyers feel more secure about their investment.
“This listing is typical of some of the great deals that are available in the Ewa area, which becomes more appealing to buyers as business opportunities increase in West Oahu. Residents tell me everything they need is right here with the ongoing growth of the City of Kapolei…shopping, restaurants, cultural options, golf courses, beach parks, the hotels of Ko Olina. Road improvements over the past few years have eased traffic and made everything more accessible.
“Not only young families, but singles and military are gravitating to West Oahu, so the competition for well priced homes continues to heat up. My advice to first-time buyers, who might otherwise lose out in this competitive market, is to find a Realtor to guide you. With high demand due to limited inventory and multiple offers becoming the norm, buyers need to be pre-approved for financing to ensure that they will at least have a chance of becoming successful in obtaining the home of their choice,” Rees-Ouchi said.