Fourth in a series
One of Hawaii’s most scenically varied and dramatically beautiful coastal regions, Windward Oahu embraces long stretches of white sand beach washed by turquoise waters and backed by the forested cliffs of the Koolaus. Along the approximately 50 mile coast between Makapuu Point and Kahuku are beaches rated among the best in the world. Rating a beach is a subjective process, but the basic ingredients are a sandy, rock free shore and clean, clear water. However, while swimmers prefer calm waters, surfers have other criteria, generally breaking waves – many beaches offer both. Hawaii’s beachfront property ranks as some of the world’s most prized real estate. The homes that front the beaches of Windward Oahu are as varied as the scenery, from vintage cottages priced at under $1 million to grand estates commanding upwards of $10 million.
For Prudential Locations Realtor Germaine Greene, Hauula is both a beachfront retreat and the place she and her family have called home for the past 15 years.
Previously residents of Kaneohe, the Greenes were looking to buy a new home close to good beaches and affordably priced, two features rarely found in the same property. When they heard about a listing in Hauula, an older home on a 5,004 square foot lot a few steps from the beach and priced to sell, they decided to check it out right away.
“This was before I became a Realtor,” Greene said, “so we called an agent who was sure the price was wrong….even a tear-down on that size lot close to the beach would command more. But that was indeed the correct price, and my husband and I decided to buy it and remodel to make it livable until the time came to replace it with our dream home. We also bought the house next door and lived there while our new home was being built.
“It turned out that we loved the Hauula neighborhood. People are friendly and there’s a strong community spirit. It’s a great place to raise children, since there’s no end of outdoor recreational opportunities. The sandy beaches are mostly reef protected, so calm enough for swimming. The northernmost of the beaches on the border with Laie, Kokololio, also known as Pounders, is one of Windward Oahu’s best body surfing beaches. Fishing is good all along the beachfront as well as out on the reef. There are hiking trails throughout the Koolau foothills.”
Greene noted that although Hauula is a community of less than 4,200, it has five parks that the residents make good use of for family gatherings and activities, a small shopping mall with a supermarket and a number of eateries, an elementary school, a Post Office, and an active Community Association.
Like other Windward beach-front neighborhoods, with the exception of Laie, development has remained sparse due to the distance from major urban centers…seen as an advantage by residents who have chosen Hauula because of its rural ambiance. And it seems the news that this pristine Hawaiian paradise is a place where large lots, some close to or on sandy beaches, are still available at realistic prices has reached out-of-State buyers.
Earlier this year, one of Greene’s listings, a unique two bedroom, 40-year-old home on a 6,532 square foot Hauula beach-front lot, was featured in the New York Times. Greene sold the home for over $1 million to a local family with a primary residence in town who bought it as their country retreat. In addition to the choice location, the home featured quality design and materials, namely, a large, rounded open-plan common area with redwood paneling, a vaulted ceiling with skylighting, and 180-degree view of the ocean and coastline. It was described as “a tranquil haven for the natural artist or an intimate hideaway escape.”
Over the past ten years, Greene’s Hauula listings have ranged in price from $200,000 for a 5,000 square foot vacant lot to beachfront properties priced at over $1 million. She is currently listing a six bedroom single family home on a 7,331 square foot lot on a hill overlooking the coast for $400,000, a short sale. She indicated that she has several new Hauula listings coming up in the near future.
Regarding her own experience as a Hauula home owner, Greene said, “It’s been a dream come true for us…living so close to the ocean feels like being on vacation. I’m always looking forward to the beautiful scenic drive when I commute to my office in town…it’s an all ocean-view ride. We are so blessed to wake up with the smell and sound of the ocean and the brilliant pink and purple sunrises illuminating our bedroom each morning.”