Looking for the most grandiose, opulent, expensive real estate in Honolulu? Look no further. We've gathered a collection of the most expensive penthouses in paradise for your guilty pleasure. All of the following are active listings and waiting for its next millionaire owner to call home.
(All photos are courtesy of the MLS and prices are as of 4/8/19.)
This 3-story 4,475 sf Kakaako penthouse was sits atop the 45th story of One Waterfront Tower. The 2 bedroom floor plan is customizable and can allow up to 5 bedrooms with 2 full bathrooms and 1 half bath. Features include private elevator entrance, a fully authentic Japanese Tatami Tea room & panoramic 270-degree Diamond Head, Ocean, Harbor & Ko'olau views. Don't forget the multiple entertainment rooms for all your envious friends.
Completely remodeled in 2007, this 2-story penthouse sits on the 39th floor of Imperial Plaza in Kakaako. 3 bedroom, 3 bathrooms, 3 parking stalls and over 3,800 of interior square footage. $4.6M price tag but the seller is open to "any reasonable offer", so get your checkbooks open.
The 23rd story Grand Penthouse at One Ala Moana features 3,669 SF of interior space and a whopping 2,108 SF of private outdoor lanai space including a jacuzzi of course. The interior space features 10 foot high ceilings, a 210 bottle Sub-Zero wine cooler with a Den and Entertainment room. The breathtaking views from the floor-to-ceiling glass are not too bad either.
The Pinnacle is a lesser known building in downtown Honolulu which has one of the more unique penthouses on the market. It is the only penthouse unit in the building and covers 2 stories (35 & 36). If 2 stories is not enough, there is an option to purchase the 34th story unit for an additional $2M for a total of $7.95M. The penthouse has a full 360 degree view including Ocean, Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head and Waikiki. The interior furnishings cost $2M (Casa Fendi) and includes four garage parking spaces. If you consider the original sales price was $16.8M, then $5.8M might be considered a steal.
Sometimes you just crave those ocean views. There hasn't been any land to put up condos in Honolulu's waterfront for a very long time and there probably wont ever be again. Built in 1961, this isn't the flashiest of buildings, however it gets a spot on our list simply for the fact that the views are truly unbelievable. This unit underwent a $1.2M renovation in 2012 and features 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and 2,500 SF of interior and lanai space. Was the renovation worth it? Well it made Architectural Digest Top 100 list, so they seem to think so. See for yourself.
This is another lesser known ocean front condo located in the gold coast of Waikiki. Built in 1957 and renovated in 2008, this home commands a huge price tag because there's very little like it. The sleek, modern, contemporary design was designed by the ID group of Los Angeles and is our favorite interior on the list. This 3 bed, 3 bath penthouse comes with 2,800 SF of interior space and 645 SF of lanai space to soak in those breathtaking ocean front views.
This is it, the Big Kahuna. The most expensive and largest penthouse in all of Honolulu history. Billed the "Estate in the Sky", the Grand Penthouse of Waiea (one of the newest ultra-luxury condo's by Howard Hughes development) is priced at a whopping $36,000,000. It features 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, 10,103 interior SF and 1,570 SF of outdoor lanai space. In addition you get a private rooftop infinity pool/spa, wine room, media room and a private garage. Located in the heart of the Ward Village master plan, you are steps away from restaurants, Whole Foods, and Ala Moana Beach Park - but you probably would never leave this place. The maintenance fee comes in at $12,106 per month and the property tax totals $24,853 a month. That's a total of $36,959 a month in ownership costs! But then again, if you have $36M to spare on a home, that's probably not your biggest concern. Check it out:
Isaiah Block is an experienced realtor who can help you navigate the process of buying or selling real estate here in Oahu. If you'd like to get in touch directly, please send an email to email@example.com
When buying or selling real estate, it's always important to keep track of the market. Let's take a look at statistics for February 2019:
(all data is courtesy of MLS and Honolulu Board of Realtors)
A snapshot of the Oahu market as a whole.
Both condos and single family homes median sales price remain consistent with a gradual slope upwards.
Median days on market have increased a bit. This is not any cause for alarm though, this is still indicative of a very strong market slowing down a bit.
Inventory has creeped up, but most sellers are still getting full asking price (percentage of original price received).
Prices continue to gradually increase. Time in the market usually beats timing.
Closed sales seem to be down overall. A little bit of a slowdown from a booming market.
Here's a snapshot of the Ala Moana - Kakaako Condo market for February 2019.
For more questions about the local market, please contact your friendly neighborhood expert.
Isaiah Block (RB-21893)
"Affordable Housing" is and always will be a hot topic in Hawaii. Oahu has one of the most expensive housing markets in the country and the combination of limited amounts of developable land and a never-ending supply of outside investors keeps prices sky high. This results in large amount of locals being priced out of the housing market, especially in Honolulu.
So what is the state's answer to the problem? The HHFDC Affordable Housing program.
What is the HHFDC?
HHFDC stands for the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation. The HHFDC is the state's primary agency charged with overseeing housing, financing, and development in Hawaii.
What do they do?
They work with real estate developers to provide housing in new condominium projects at "below market" prices to those who meet eligibility requirements of the program.
What are "below market" prices?
Market price means what a home or condo would sell on the open market. Real Estate Agents and homeowners usually base this on what comparable homes have sold for in the same neighborhood within the last 6 months.
Let's look at the prices at the latest HHFDC project The Central Ala Moana which went for sale in late 2018.
As you can see, there were significant price discounts for 1,2 and 3 bedrooms totaling almost $300K off "starting prices" for three bedroom types.
(1 Bedroom Affordable Floor Plan, The Central Ala Moana)
Are there any differences between the two units?
This is an interesting question because it may vary from project to project. For The Central, square footages and finishes are advertised to be the same whether you buy through Affordable or Market rate.
The key difference was in location. Almost all of the Affordable units on the Makai (Ocean View) side of The Central are located on the lower floors (2-20). The majority of the market rate units are located on the higher floors (20-43). In Hawaii, buyer's always pay a premium for view, so this logically makes sense.
What is the required deposit?
When you enter into a real estate contract, a buyer will always need to put down some form of cash deposit to show good faith to the seller that you will fulfill your obligations as a purchaser. This is the same when buying new construction. The deposit is held by the developer while the building is being built, then later on applied to the remaining balance due at closing.
A typical deposit for market-rate new construction projects in Hawaii is 10-20% of the sales price, which can be quite a lot of cash. A key benefit for HHFDC programs is that they typically only require you to come up with a 5% deposit. They also do allow for you to receive that in "gift funds". So if you have family members willing to help you out, that is totally acceptable.
Ok, I want an "Affordable" condo, what are the HHFDC eligibility requirements?
In order to apply for the program there are some rules. You must:
This is the 2018 Area Median Income (AMI) chart the HHFDC follows. Income limits can vary from project to project. The basic rule of thumb is that you must make under 140% for your household size in order to qualify.
The Central Ala Moana was the first HHFDC project that had a "minimum income requirement". In order to apply, you needed to make between 80%-140% AMI. This may be the new guideline that developers follow from now.
Can I sell the unit for profit or rent it out?
Yes, but not for another 10 years after you close. If you purchase a unit through the HHFDC program, you must agree to the "Buyback Program". This basically states that you will be the primary occupant of your unit for 10 years time.
If you need to sell your unit before 10 years time for whatever reason, the HHFDC reserves the right to buy back your unit for the same price it sold to you for. You also cannot rent out your unit during this time frame.
After 10 years you are free to sell it for whatever you think it's worth, or rent it out for profit.
This is done to ensure people are not gaming the system for profit. And to keep inventory available for the HHFDC programs.
Any other rules?
Yes, the other rule is called the SAE (Shared Appreciation Equity) program. This is very important. It basically says that you owe a percentage of your appreciation to the HHFDC. When you are buying a unit for $200-300K below market pricing, you are almost guaranteed to see appreciation, especially in 10 years time (Buyback Program).
You must agree to share a percentage of the appreciation (what you will profit off the purchase) with the HHFDC. The percentages are not set and can vary depending on the unit type, view, etc. The percentage is calculated at closing.
The formula is:
Original Fair Market Value (determined by HHFDC's appraisal at closing), minus Original Purchase Price, divided by Original Fair Market Value, and rounded to the nearest one percent.
When do I pay the SAE to the HHFDC?
You can actually pay it off anytime after closing, this is the interesting part. If you have the extra cash, you may want to think about paying it off right after closing. As your unit appreciates over time, the percentage will always remain the same but the dollar amount you owe will increase.
For example, if your SAE calculated was 20% (this is purely for examples sake!) and your appreciation was $50,000 at closing. Then you would owe $10,000 to the HHFDC.
Now let's say that you didn't pay it off at closing and your unit appreciated $200K after 10 years. You would now owe 20% of that which is $40,000.
The SAE will always stay in the deed until it is paid off, so if you pass it along to your kids someday they will have this attached to the deed as well.
Ok I'm eligible and agree to the rules, how do I apply?
Timing and awareness is key. Often times many people are unaware of HHFDC programs or are unprepared and miss out on the application period. By being aware of which projects are coming up that offer HHFDC programs, you can get yourself prepared to apply. Condo Kakaako has helped many locals apply for the HHFDC programs and would love to help you do the same.
Working with a Realtor who keeps you up to date with new projects and HHFDC programs can be invaluable. Please get in touch with Isaiah Block (RB-21893) today if this program interests you and would like to hear more.
Ph: (808) 721-3747
The Central Ala Moana market rate pricing is finally public and we decided to break down the value it presents compared to the resale market. We took a look at the specs for the least expensive one bedroom at The Central in comparison to the least expensive one bedrooms at existing Ala Moana condominiums.
One Bedroom -
Lowest Price 1 bedroom (market price): $580,000
HOA Fee: $484/mo
Living Area: 702 SF
Lanai: 71 SF
Amenities: Pool, Hot Tub, Kid's Play Area, Gym, BBQ, Party Room, Dog Park, Cabanas, Bike Storage, Electric Vehicle Charge Stations
Lowest Price 1 Bedroom: $615,000
HOA Fee: $483/mo
Living Area: 701 SF
Amenities: Pool, Hot Tub, Kid's Play Area, Gym, Tennis Court, BBQ, Party Room, Theater
Analysis: Moana Pacific has a better amenity package although they are almost 12 years old at this point and in need of an update. The interior square footage is the same but does not have a lanai. Also, this lowest priced unit at MP is on the 16th floor, 10 floors lower than The Central's lowest priced market 1 bedroom.
Lowest Available Price: $755,000
HOA Fee: $980/mo
Living Area: 980 SF
Amenities: Pool, Hot Tub, Tennis Court, BBQ,
Analysis: With a price difference of $175K, the premium is due to Nauru's fantastic ocean view and larger interior square footage. No lanai is disappointing. Overall, The Central has a better amenity package and much lower maintenance fees.
Lowest Available Price: $860,000
HOA Fee: $544/mo
View: Partial Ocean
Living Area: 842 SF
Amenities: Pool, Hot Tub, Putting Area, Tennis Court, Kid's Play Area, BBQ, 35F Winter Garden
Analysis: Hawaiki has a size advantage at 842SF. The maintenance fees are also reasonable, like the Central. This unit seems to be in great shape for an older building and Hawaiki has a large rec deck with a tennis court but no gym. The price tag is also almost $300K more with no lanai.
Lowest Available Price: $995,000
HOA Fee: $778/mo
Living Area: 778 SF
Amenities: Pool, Hot Tub, Exercise Room, Meeting Room, Private Dining, Spa, Putting Green
Analysis: There's no argument that One Ala Moana is superior to The Central in every category - amenities, build quality, finishes, design aesthetics. One Ala Moana is considered a luxury building, The Central is not. The Central does however have around the same square footage and a lanai (One Ala Moana does not). One Ala Moana has some fancier amenities including sauna, movie theater and private dining room. The questions you should ask yourself as a buyer - is that worth almost double the price tag at $1M vs $580K?
For questions about any of the above mentioned properties, please contact Isaiah Block (RB-21893) for an expert opinon on Ala Moana and Kakaako condominiums.
The Central Ala Moana application period for Affordable and Market Rate units is approaching fast.
HHFDC Applications for Affordable Housing will be available at all seminars.
Please note that the seminar is optional and applications will be available at the sales office starting November 19th even if you can’t make the seminar. We will be sending out an update to everybody with a summary of the seminar as well.
What to do
We will be making appointments on our client’s behalf to apply at the sales office during the week of November 19th. Please also contact Isaiah to begin setting appointments to apply. Isaiah is a licensed real estate agent with years of project experience and will guide you through the application process as smoothly as possible.
The best thing you can do right now is to prepare your supporting documents for loan pre-qualification and application:
We know a few loan officers we can put you in touch with immediately to begin your pre-qualification process if you have the above documents ready. Please note, that pre-qualification letters must be from an approved project lender:
As always, if you have any immediate questions please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call or text at (808) 721-3747.
Previous posts for The Central:
Project info - https://www.condokakaako.com/new-condos-in-kakaako/central-ala-moana/
Pre-qualification process - https://www.condokakaako.com/blog/apply-loan-pre-qualification-central-ala-moana/
Sales are just around the corner. Get started at The Central Ala Moana by completing these steps and we will get you connected with a project lender to start the pre-qualification process right away.
If you are serious about applying for the lottery, you should obtain a pre-qualification letter.
The process is simple - you will supply a brief overview of your recent financial history to a loan officer. The lender will review your information and give you an estimate of a loan amount you will qualify for. They will then give you a pre-qualification letter which you will need to submit along with your application for purchase at The Central.
(*You are not required to use the same lender to obtain a loan. You are not locked into anything by going through pre-qualification.)
Gather the required documents (digital copies are ok), to submit to a loan officer.
Contact us as soon as you have the documents and we will connect you with a qualified loan officer who specializes in affordable housing programs. You can email, call, or text us at any time once you are ready to go.
In past Reserved Housing and Affordable Housing projects, many applicants put off Pre-Qualification until the last week applications were due. This was a major problem for loan officers as they were swarmed with applicants and couldn't get to everybody in time. This in fact caused applicants to miss the cut off date for applications and not have a chance at the lottery.
If you take care of this now, you can beat the rush of other applicants and also have more time to gather necessary documents.
If you have more questions, please contact me directly at (808) 721-3747 or email@example.com
PRICING, SQUARE FOOTAGE, HOW TO APPLY - Please call or text Isaiah Block (808) 721-3747. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We will get back to you immediately and get you started. Isaiah is a buyer's agent (RB-21893) with Seven Signatures International and will guide you through the application process for affordable and market-rate applications.
On the heels of one of Hawaii’s most successful affordable housing projects, Kapiolani Residences (100% Sold Out), SamKoo Pacific has begun sales for its new and improved sequel, “The Central Ala Moana”!
Estimated Completion: 2021
The Central Ala Moana will be located on the makai side of Kapiolani Boulevard at Kona Iki Street, less than a block away from the planned Ala Moana Rail Station and footsteps to the Ala Moana Center. This is right at center stage of the new planned Ala Moana TOD (Transit Oriented Development) and is an absolute perfect location for those looking to move into Ala Moana.
Timothy Yi, president of Samkoo Pacific has been reported stating The Central will have better features than Kapiolani Residences such as higher ceilings, larger units, and smart technology including smart refrigerators and keyless entry systems for units.
The Central will also feature a pool, dedicated kids pool, playground, BBQ and other amenities which Kapiolani Residences opted not to.
The Central will have an improved location, more amenities and most importantly, more affordable units. Over half (60%) of the 512 residences will be reserved for those who qualify under the HHDFC (Hawaii Housing Finance & Development Corporation) program requirements. This is the largest offering of affordable housing ever in Honolulu and tons of people will be jumping at the chance to get in. The price ranges for HHFDC units are as follows:
In a time where the trend for developers seems to be profit maximization, SamKoo is dedicating a ton of prime real estate to local workforce population which is fantastic news.
So if you are wondering how in the world to get in, let’s break it down as simply as possible. In order to be eligible you must be a Qualified Resident meaning:
(Project lenders will be Bank of Hawaii, First Hawaiian Bank, Central Pacific Bank, Prime Lending, Home Street, Compass Home Loans, and American Savings Bank.)
If you are a Qualified Resident, you then need to meet the “Household Income Limit”. This means the maximum income allowed per household. For The Central, we are expecting that to be within 80% - 140% of the area median income.
Below are the 2018 income guidelines by family size.
If your income is within 80% -140% according to your family size, then you qualify as an “eligible purchaser”, it’s that simple.
Next let's go over the application process step-by-step for Kapiolani Residences:
People often ask how the public drawing works and it works just like a lottery system. Numbers are put into a bowl and picked out in random. This is all done publicly to ensure fairness and is overseen by people of multiple agencies.
If you are lucky enough to have your number drawn, next is the property selection ranking. The HHFDC will assign you a priority ranking, which means that they will assess your priority based on income, family size, etc. and make their best judgment as to which slot you will be able to pick a unit come selection day. Finally, you pick a unit and sign your contract. Deposits for Kapiolani Residences were 5% of purchase price.
There is definitely some luck involved but the key to getting in is awareness and preparedness. If you are looking to score a unit at The Central, we can work with you step-by-step to meet all necessary deadlines and ensure you are in the running for your future home. Sales are expected to start within the next few months so be sure visit our dedicated page for The Central and be sure to sign up for updates!
Lilia Waikiki is the latest project announced for Waikiki and will contain rentals exclusively. The project is planned to have a total of 455 units, including one 28-story, 285 foot tower and four low-rise buildings along Kuhio Avenue and Kanekapolei Street (where Food Pantry currently is).
In a hearing before the Honolulu's Department of Planning and Permitting, the developer, Oliver McMillan (Symphony, Pacifica), has announced that 91 of the units - 38 studios in the tower and 53 one- and two- bedroom units in the low-rise buildings, will be reserved for those that meet the affordable housing income requirements (80 percent of the area median income). In addition, Oliver McMillan is committing to keep the units affordable for 30 years, double the originally proposed 15 years.
Construction on the project is supposed to start in mid-2019 with a target completion date of 2021. The tower will be mixed-use and is planning commercial space for the ground floor. Details are limited but approximate unit sizes for the affordable rentals are:
Studios - 385 SF
One-Bedroom - 500 SF
Two-Bedroom - 905 SF
The location is perfect for those who work in Waikiki and are looking to cut down their commute times. Kuhio Avenue has undergone quite a change in recent years with additions like the new International Market Place and The Ritz-Carlton project giving it a much needed face lift.
For future updates, don't forget to join our mailing list!
With the development spotlight shining on Kakaako for the past few years, it has been easy to overlook the revitalization of Ala Moana, the gateway to Waikiki and one of the most important neighborhoods of Honolulu.
Recently dubbed “Midtown Ala Moana”, the development will be centered around the Honolulu Rail Transit’s new Ala Moana Center Station and will be planned in accordance with the TOD (Transit Oriented Development) guidelines.
One goal for TOD is to make Ala Moana more pedestrian friendly and to encourage the use of public transportation which will make the community a more livable, breathable neighborhood with new open park spaces and walkways.
TOD zoning will also allow additional density and additional height (400 feet) for new building projects in the area and is the reason why developers are lining up at the chance to break ground this year.
As of now, there are 8 proposed mixed-use projects being planned for the area, lets take a look:
Location: 1500 Kapiolani Boulevard (Heald College site)
450 Hotel & Residential Units
78 Affordable Units
Developer: Salem Partners
Location: 1518 Makaloa Street
Mixed-use Residential Condominium
347 Market Rate Units
78 “affordable” rentals
Location: 1391 Kapiolani Boulevard
Expected Completion: 2021
Developer: SamKoo Pacific
Location: 733 Cedar Street
133 Market Rate Units
40 “Affordable” Rate Units
Location: 1362 Kapiolani Blvd
Location: 1631 Kapiolani Blvd
484 Residential Units
Expected Completion: Fall 2018
Developer: SamKoo Pacific
Location: Atkinson Drive
107 Luxury Residences
125 Hotel Rooms
Developer: Salem Partners
Location: 1388, 1400 & 1416 Kapiolani Blvd.
As you can see, most of the development will be taking place along Kapiolani Boulevard and Keeaumoku Street which will be in close proximity to the new Ala Moana Rail Station. Also interesting to note is that there are 4 projects with a possible hotel component.
Developers are hoping that with the ease of transportation from the airport (Rail Connectivity), the area’s existing attractions (Ala Moana Center, Ala Moana Beach Park) and a never-ending shortage of hotel rooms in Waikiki, tourists and locals alike will be drawn to “Midtown Ala Moana”.
For a more comprehensive overview of each of the above projects, please visit our “New Projects” page and sign up for updates!