Waikiki Living

Whether you consider yourself an advocate or a skeptic, condo living in Hawaii presents a home buying option that cannot be ignored. 

Contrary to many other states, Hawaii condominiums provide added perks and advantages oftentimes lacking in single-family homes. 

While the friendly price range and enticing amenities get buyers in the door, it’s the sense of community, convenient metropolitan living, and lessened responsibility that convinces people to stay. 

These perks, however, come at a cost — a cost not necessarily indicated in the list price. And what you earn in lifestyle, you may sacrifice in space and freedom. 

Deciding on a type of home — especially within Hawaii — proves to be an important yet overwhelming decision. Award-winning communities and new complexes added to the landscape each year further muddy the waters. 

This pros-and-cons breakdown of Hawaii condo living aims to add clarity to your home buying process so you can feel educated and confident going into your next home purchase.  

An aerial photo by Maria Oliynyk of Waikiki with Diamond Head in the background.

THE PROS OF HAWAII CONDO LIVING

FRIENDLY PRICE

One of the most moving factors for purchasing a Hawaii condominium is the affordability. 

As of August 2021, the median sales price of single-family homes in Hawaii reached a new record-high at $1,050,000 while the median sales price of condos followed suit in growth at $500,000. 

Today’s market features condos priced above and below this median with varying degrees of quality and offerings, but generally speaking, a friendlier cost accompanies a condo purchase. 

While condos cut the cost of purchasing a home in half, the opportunity for an amazing investment sees no such decline. Whether you’re looking for your next home or an investment property, condos offer a promising choice. With ever-growing sales prices, there’s no better time to invest in the market than now. 

PRIME LOCATION

Many Hawaii condominiums offer the desirable urban lifestyle — easy access to restaurants, shops, and other attractions with the energy of metro living at your fingertips. 

Running to grab an ingredient you forgot for dinner is easy and taking a mid-day bike ride to the ocean is effortless. 

These conveniences are also typically accompanied by ocean, mountain, and city views, an addition to single-family homes that is far and few between. 

Throughout Honolulu, various communities — such as the ever-expanding Kaka’ako neighborhood — house networks of complexes that flourish with life and energy. The sense of community is as strong as what you’d find in a suburban neighborhood with the advantages of modern city life. 

Also typically located near freeways and transportation, in-depth condo planning prior to build ensures you have easy accessibility for work and travel.  

ADDED AMENITIES

Rooftop pools, fitness centers with ocean views, and rentable barbeque cabanas comprise a few of the amenities available for condo owners. 

While constructing an entertainer’s dream outdoor oasis may lie out of budget, many condos provide an array of amenities and outdoor landscapes that allow you to host and celebrate on a large scale with only the cost of the burgers and hot dogs to add to your shopping list. 

Many condos also offer private workspaces and board rooms so one of your bedrooms doesn’t need to be converted into an office. 

The realm of condo amenities continues to evolve and elevate with on-site spas, tennis courts, and designated dog walk areas — such as those planned for the extensive amenities deck at The Park Ward Village

LESS RESPONSIBILITY 

While condo owners’ access to additional experiences and services expands, their load of responsibilities shrinks.

Security replaces the need to build fences and install high-tech systems. On-site management or homeowners’ associations ensure your leaky sink and busted toilet get fixed in a timely, professional manner (with no added cost). And landscaping companies keep your building looking polished without you lifting a finger. 

A photo by Marcus Lenk of two condo buildings with a neon yellow Camero driving on the road in front.

THE CONS OF HAWAII CONDO LIVING 

ASSOCIATION FEES

Hawaii is notorious for having startling high association fees with some clocking in at $500 a month for the only added perk of landscaping and general management. 

These fees — paid for outside of the mortgage payment — are used to maintain and manage the building, the amenities, and the general upkeep of the establishment. When an elevator goes out, the fees that the association has been collecting over the years will fund the repair. 

When purchasing a condo in Hawaii, it’s important to come to terms with that fact that you will be paying these fees. While condo fees tend to be higher, many single-family homes in newer communities still require a monthly HOA fee.  

PRO TIP: Always review the HOA fees designated for each property, outline the amenities and maintenance that they fund, and factor this analysis into your home buying decision.  

RULES & REGULATIONS

When purchasing a condo, owners agree to abide by the bylaws set and upheld by the homeowner’s association. 

While this can also be a pro — in that it upholds all owners within the property to a certain standard of behavior and decency — it also limits the control you have over your property and the freedom you have within the complex. 

PRO TIP: Ask for a copy of the building’s bylaws — see if there’s any red flags that may limit the lifestyle you want to lead. 

LESS PRIVACY

In sharing hallways, elevators, parking lots, walls, floors, and ceilings with other homeowners, privacy is inevitably lessened. 

Balconies are located directly next to each other with minimal blockade or screen. Passing someone on the way to your unit is practically unavoidable. Noisy next-door neighbors are a bit more difficult to ignore than if they lived several yards away not a wall away. 

The amount of privacy you reserve as a condo owner will all depend upon the size and layout of the complex so be sure to determine how much privacy you prioritize in your next home.  

SPACE

With no private yards or garages, condo owners are limited to the space occupied by their specific unit. Many complexes offer a variety of layouts including studios, 1-bedrooms, 2-bedrooms, and 3-bedrooms, but the format is typically designed to maximize a minimal amount of space. 

While your private space may be limited, many complexes are planning owner-only parks and indoor areas that extend your space beyond that of your individual unit. 

Check out all of Honolulu’s newest condos here and reach out at 808-387-3366 for help on finding the unit that’s perfect for you!