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The Highs And Lows Of Makakilo

View from Pueonani Street home.

Peaking at approximately 1,000 feet above sea level, Puu Makakilo was once the site of a school for kahuna kilokilo, Hawaiian astronomers. The hill provided a vantage point for viewing the heavens in order to chart the seasons, identify the best times to plant crops, and plan religious ceremonies.

Today, the hill provides residents with views that from some sites extend from Diamond Head to Barber’s Point. Below is the City of Kapolei. Prices of homes, as in other hillside developments, tend to reflect the elevation. Currently, prices for new homes and resales range from under $200,000 for townhomes to $2,700,000 for a luxury home in Kumulani at the top of the hill.

The earliest large scale residential development was undertaken in the 1960s by Finance Factors on land leased from Campbell Estate. Kapolei Realty President and Principal Broker Cori Meyers was a sales agent with Finance Realty prior to opening her own brokerage in 1995. “Development of single family homes and townhomes started at the bottom of the hill and then began to climb…over the years we’ve sold in every subdivision here,” Meyers said. “The views and cool breezes we get year round attract people to Makakilo, as well as the fact that you get more house for your money than in most parts of Oahu. Today, we are seeing more professional people moving into the neighborhoods as the job base continues to expand in Kapolei. Military buyers have always been a strong component of the market and the percentage of offshore buyers has increased. The opening of the Disney hotel at Ko Olina has had an impact by creating new exposure worldwide for the area.

“Inventory in Makakilo is low and well priced homes are going fast, often with backup offers. We recently listed a two bedroom townhome in Palehua Vil las for $192,500 and just placed it in escrow with an offer from a first time home buyer. It was probably the best priced home that was not one of the short sales that are prevalent in the Ewa area. Until we get the short sales out of the way, we probably won’t see much escalation in prices.”

Adding to the available inventory is a new phase of D.R. Hor-ton, Schuler’s Kahiwelo subdivision. Located close to the bottom of Makakilo hill, the development will consist of 472 single family homes when built out; 239 homes in Phase 2 priced from $566,000 to $676,000 are still available. Thirteen homes will be released this weekend. According to Mary Flood, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, the company has been building homes in Makakilo since 1993. With 10 subdivisions, D.R. Horton, Schuler has added more than 1,000 new homes to the neigh-borhood. “I believe the success of our projects is due to emphasis on designing for the target market…in the case of Makakilo, that would be primarily owner-occupant families. We expect this phase of Kahi-welo to sell out quickly since it answers a demand for new homes in lower Makakilo with its convenient freeway access and proximity to Kapolei’s town center,” Flood said.

With completion of sales of 251 single family homes and townhomes at its Wai Kaloi at Makakilo in 2010, Castle & Cooke began releasing vacant fee simple lots in the development. A local hui recently acquired three of the lots and has built custom homes on two on Pueonani Street. The five bedroom, three bath homes feature upscale interior finishes and expansive valley views. Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties Real-tor Melinda Pinter has placed one in escrow and is now offering the other for $898,000.

Kumulani, West Oahu’s only ridgeline gated community, was originally part of Finance Factors’ Palehua subdivision launched in the mid 1970s. When Vernon K. T. Chock took over land sales in 2000 as exclusive agent, there were 91 lots remaining. By 2003 Chock had sold out the subdivision, which now consists of 114 single family homesites, most with sweeping ocean and coastal views. “Selling Kumulani was primarily a matter of increasing awareness of the development…people just didn’t know it was there. We discovered that there was a strong market for view lots where people could build their own custom homes,” Chock said.

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