Friends in High Places
There’s a real sense of community in Waialae Iki, where residents enjoy magnificent views, luxurious estates atop this beautiful ridge
BY LISA LEE
Home prices in the scenic community of Waialae Iki have remained steady in recent years, unaffected by the fluctuations in the rest of the market. The allure, according to Nicole Choi, a partner at Prudential Locations, goes back to what made these homes popular originally, when the development was built as an extension of Kahala.
Waialae Iki was one of the first hilltop communities created in the 1960s, located on the ridge overlooking the Waialae golf course. At that time, people wanted new homes and ocean views. Today, the 1,173 homes of Waialae Iki are known for their sophistication and luxury.
The same views that attracted buyers 40 years ago are keeping home values and sales volume strong. “The prices are reasonable compared to Kahala and homes appreciate more than in other neighborhoods,” says Choi.
According to the research department at Prudential Locations, the median sales price in Waialae Iki in 2012 is $1,265,000, up slightly from last year’s median of $1,250,000. While prices on Oahu are down 10 percent from their market peak a few years ago, prices in Waialae Iki have not veered more than 5 percent off the market peak. So far in 2012, one in every four home sales in Waialae Iki has been bid-up over asking price – one of the highest rates of sales-over-asking on Oahu.
Today, this established neighborhood attracts established professionals and new buyers alike. Choi says that Waialae Iki’s incredible views plus its convenient location help to make the community popular.
“Churches, public and private schools, shopping centers, fine dining, professional services, beaches, parks, golf courses and the freeway are just within two miles from the hill,” she notes. “Ala Moana Center, Waikiki, Historic Honolulu, the Financial District, the University of Hawaii, museums, concert halls and the majority of Oahu’s businesses are all within a 15-minute drive.”
The attractiveness of Waialae Iki is so strong that some who grew up there have returned as buyers. Resident Robin Markle bought her home on the same street where she spent her childhood. She describes what drew her back: “I’ve lived all over the island and I came back to Waialae Iki because I like to be able to see the ocean every morning.”
And she’s not alone. The next generation of homeowners is returning to Waialae Iki, where they grew up. Many are remodeling and rebuilding their family homes. “There is a real sense of community. People up here know each other – we’re friends, we know each other’s dog’s names,” says Markle.
For those who don’t have a childhood home or are looking for amenities, Waialae Iki 5 is an option.
“On top of the hill overlooking Kahala, Diamond Head and Oahu’s beautiful southeastern shore, this gated community has much to offer. Residents have use of a recreation club with four tennis courts and entertainment center. The tennis courts are professionally maintained, and there is an on-site tennis pro. The community stays relatively cool, sitting around 800 feet above sea level and benefiting from the tradewinds. At the top of the community is the Wiliwilinui hiking trail,” says Choi.
Waialae Iki’s desirability is confirmed by how fast homes are selling. This year, the median days-on-market for homes that have sold is 39 days, down from 58 days in 2011.