Finding Hawaii’s Affordable Condos
Tenth 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.
Residential development in and around Waipahu, consisting primarily of new planned communities and subdivisions, gathered momentum in the 1980s, spreading out over central Oahu’s former agricultural lands.
Most developments consisted primarily of single family homes that were marketed as “affordable” and have continued to appreciate, some now commanding as much as twice their original price.
The median price for a single family home in the Waipahu area, year to date, is $530,000, a price point out of range for the typical first time home buyer on a budget. Condo prices have, however, remained at affordable levels with a year-to-date median sales price of $270,000, up 6 percent from 2012.
One of the largest condominium developments to be undertaken in Waipahu, Plantation Town Apartments, added 330 affordably priced one, two, and three bedroom units to the housing inventory in 2007 when the sales effort was launched by Peter Savio’s Hawaiian Island Homes, which continues to market units in the project. With two 12-story towers, it remains Waipahu’s only highrise condominium residence.
The six acre complex includes three acres of parking, landscaped grounds, a 3,000 square foot recreation and meeting room with kitchen facilities, and a vegetable garden for the use of residents. The apartments, lobby, and meeting room were designed by award-winning designer Shari Saiki of Shari Saiki Design Studio. The quality of the landscaping was recognized with an award in the BIA Parade of Homes. Adjacent to Plantation Town Apartments on Paiwa Street is the Waipahu District Park with a swimming pool and tennis courts.
Cynthia Murphy, a Realtor with Waipahu-based Nakamoto Realty, has listed a two bedroom, one bath unit on the 10th floor of Plantation Town Apartments for $232,000. “This apartment is being sold by the original owner who has kept it in excellent condition,” Murphy said. “The price is currently the best in the building for a two bedroom with this view…a sweeping panorama from Diamond Head to Pearl Harbor and the Leeward coast and below the beautifully landscaped grounds.
“The building has good security with gated parking, a secured lobby, security cameras, and guards. Each tower has two computerized elevators and trash chutes. Also, there’s plenty of guest parking and it’s pet friendly.
“The apartment is well laid out with an open floor plan and small ‘sit out’ lanai. The flooring is a wood grain laminate, except for the bedrooms which are carpeted. The unit includes all major appliances and a stacked washer/dryer…all in good condition. The bedrooms and living room are equipped with ceiling fans. Slider and awning windows provide good natural ventilation, so the AC unit is rarely needed.
“Those who have attended my open houses and private showings have been very impressed by this unit…interested parties have included first time buyers, couples, singles, and military. This property is very easy to see, with less than eight hours notice. My next open house will be Sunday, September 8, from 1 to 4 p.m.”
Murphy, who grew up in Waipahu, noted that despite new residential and commercial development the town has retained a country feel. “Many of the old traditions are still alive in the community. Locally owned and operated shops and restaurants and farmer’s markets offer alternatives to the malls.
“Pearl City, Mililani, Waikele, Leeward Community College, golf courses, and military bases are only about 15 minutes away. It’s really Waipahu’s central location that continues to energize its real estate market.”