In the early 1950s, Aina Haina was hailed as “one of Oahu’s newest suburbs” and referred to as a “city within a city” with the addition of a commercial center. Residential development undertaken by members of the Robert Hind family had begun in the late 1940s on lands previously occupied by the Hind-Clarke Dairy. The name Aina Haina, or “Hind’s land,” was by then commonly used to identify the valley, replacing its original name, Wailupe. Other reminders of the valley’s past as dairyland are two of its main roads, East and West Hind Drive.
Today Aina Haina has a population of approximately 25,000, a mix of long-time residents and younger buyers moving in as properties become available. However, listings are generally sparse, contributing to the ongoing escalation of property values. Well priced homes are selling at asking or over, and often with multiple offers.
RE/MAX Honolulu Realtor Maxine Robson, a resident of Aina Haina since 1987, has handled numerous transactions in the area. “When we moved here I had been a Realtor for three years and was familiar with the East Oahu neighborhoods. We looked at available properties in all of them and found the perfect home here in Aina Haina,” Robson said. “However, it was more than the home that attracted us. We liked the ambiance of the neighborhood with its wide streets, large lots, and well kept yards…many, like ours, with mature gardens and fruit trees. There’s usually a nice cooling breeze blowing down the valley from the Windward side. The minimum size lot is generally 10,000 square feet in lower Aina Haina and 7,500 square feet in the upper part of the valley. Utilities in lower Aina Haina are underground. Many of the lots on the slopes and in the back of the valley have ocean views.
“People who have lived here for some time take pride in the community, and the Aina Haina Community Association keeps us up to date with their newsletter. Upgrading is ongoing…older homes are being remodeled and new shops and services are constantly being added, all of which supports property values.
“Really, everything people need is right here. There are public and private schools at all grade levels and churches of many denominations. The renovated Aina Haina Shopping Center has a diverse collection of restaurants and fast food opera-tions…plus the welcome addition of the Foodland Farms Market. We have our own library, Post Office, fire station, and a gas station. Many different forms of recreation are available… from jogging and walking the dog on our user-friendly streets, to hiking the valley trails, to utilizing the neighborhood parks. The Beach Park is a popular fishing spot, and surfers launch their boards there to paddle out to the surf breaks. The new Wailupe Valley Community Park facility offers programs for keiki and kapuna, including crafts, Mahjong, and a Tai Chi class taught by my husband, Stuart…this and other exercise classes are particularly popular with the valley’s senior residents. The full program is posted under ‘news’ at the ainahaina.org website. Both old and young utilize our convenient bus service with a route from the back of the valley to Ala Moana Center. There are so many things to like about Aina Haina.”
Robson’s view is obviously shared by buyers. Over the past four years the number of closings over $1 million has steadily escalated. Honolulu Board of Realtors statistics show that in 2008 no homes sold at over $1 million, then two in 2009, four in 2010, five in 2011, and, to date in 2012, six.
Robson recently listed a four bedroom, three bath single family home on a 10,000 square foot lot on Opihi Street, mostly rebuilt in 2005. “At my first open house, we had 55 groups visit the home and it sold with multiple offers. A Realtor friend in San Francisco shared with me that inventory is down to nothing in some areas and when a home goes on the market it’s snapped up fast. ‘Get ready, he said, this is coming your way.’ This certainly describes what we’ve been experiencing in Aina Haina and other desirable East Oahu neighborhoods.”