Explore luxury real estate on Oahu, Big Island, Maui, and Kauai
Nestled high in the towering mountaintops or situated serenely against the seashore, Hawaii is home to some of the most luxurious real estate in the world. From multi-million-dollar mansions on expansive private estates to decadent penthouses with unbelievable amenities, Hawaii luxury real estate attracts some of the most exclusive clientele.
Hawaii luxury real estate comes with high price tag, and for many high-end buyers, it is well worth the price to pay to be in paradise with high-quality finishes and amenities and in the most desirable neighborhoods.
While the average single family home price in Hawaii is well over $1 million, Hawaii luxury homes typically are over $3 million – with the most luxurious listings reaching more than $20 million.
Average condominium prices in Hawaii often exceed $500,000, but a Hawaii luxury condo will typically have a price tag of over $2 million – with prices often topping $10 million or more for the most luxurious Hawaii penthouses in exclusive residential towers.
In 2022, 652 Hawaii real estate sales exceeded $3 million, with 63 sales above $10 million – considered ultra-luxury Hawaii real estate. Of those 652 sales, 62.7% were residential home properties, 31% were condominiums and 6.3% were land sales.
Over the past decade, the luxury real estate market in Hawaii has grown significantly – from $750.53 million sales volume in 2012 to $3.72 billion sales volume in 2022 (a 416.14% increase), according to MLS data.
As with any Hawaii real estate transaction, the location of the property is an essential component. Luxury Hawaii neighborhoods typically have large lots, gated entrances, added security, access to amenities (like medical care, shopping and entertainment) and breathtaking views.
What are considered luxury Hawaii neighborhoods?
On Oahu, premier luxury communities include Hawaii Loa Ridge, Koko Kai, Portlock, Kahala, Kahala Kua, Black Point, Diamond Head, Waialae Iki, Beachside in Kailua and Lanikai. The neighborhoods of Waikiki, Ala Moana, Kakaako and Ward Village are home to Hawaii’s most luxurious condominiums. In 2022, the most expensive property sold on Oahu, according to MLS records, was a luxury home in Lanikai for $23.9 million.
Luxury Maui real estate can be found in the neighborhoods of Wailea, Kapalua, Kula, Wailuku, Hana, Launiupoko, Makena and Maalaea – often offering expansive private properties. In 2022, the most expensive Maui luxury real estate sold, according to MLS records, was a luxury home in Makena for $28.5 million.
Hawaii Island (“Big Island”) luxury neighborhoods include Hualalai and its exclusive enclave of Kukio, Mauna Kea, Kohanaiki, Mauna Lani and Waikoloa Resort. The neighborhoods of Kohala, Kailua-Kona and Waimea also offer desirable Hawaii luxury real estate. While Waikii Ranch and Puakea Bay Ranch offer expansive parcels of land to construct a dream Hawaii mansion. In 2022, the most expensive Hawaii Island luxury real estate sold, according to MLS records, was a property in North Kona for $33.8 million.
On Kauai, the North Shore is typically home to some of the most beautiful properties in the world – offering Hawaii luxury real estate connoisseurs incredible investment opportunities. Luxury Kauai homes can usually be found in the neighborhoods of Kilauea and Princeville. In 2022, the most expensive property sold in Kauai, according to MLS records, was a luxury home in Kilauea for $36 million.
In almost any Hawaii neighborhood, luxury homebuyers will find breathtaking natural beauty, a sense of place and a unique relationship-based culture – qualities that discerning buyers often covet.
Hawaii is truly paradise. And, any luxury real estate connoisseur will surely treasure the incredible views that luxury Hawaii properties provide.
Do you desire an oceanfront property with up-close views of the pristine Pacific Ocean or is a ridgetop estate with expansive views from mauka (mountain) to kai (water) better suited to your situation? Either from the mountains or from the seaside, breathtaking sunset and sunrise views can be viewed from Hawaii’s luxury real estate.
But, when considering where to purchase a property, realize both oceanfront and mountain luxury properties have their pros.
Oceanfront estates are typically closer to commercial areas while Hawaii mountaintop estates often require a drive down winding roads to reach the nearest shopping center or medical office, for example.
However, mountaintop estates can offer the most exclusive privacy available – with private roads only leading to luxury Hawaii real estate atop a ridge. Note that in Hawaii, public ocean access is available to the high-water mark; this means if the luxury property is on the oceanfront, it does not mean the beach is also a part of the property.
Oceanfront estates can offer private boat docks and easy access to surf, SUP, fish – or any other water activity. However, oceanfront estates may be in a flood, hurricane or tsunami zone. (Always ask a Hawaii real estate agent for more information about a property’s flood hazards.)
Mountaintop estates are often cooler with refreshing breezes, and many are within walking distance to trails that transgress ridges or meet the base of a waterfall.
|Oceanfront Hawaii Real Estate Pros||Mountaintop Hawaii Real Estate Pros|
|Access recreational water activities like boating, surfing, fishing and more||Access trails and diverse flora and fauna|
|Salty, ocean air||More temperate climates|
|Closer to main thoroughfares and commercial centers||Usually outside of flood zones|
Ultimately, luxury Hawaii real estate will almost always provide a spectacular view – whether from the towering, lush ridges overlooking the sea or next to glistening pristine Pacific waters. With expansive windows, wraparound lanais (decks) and even infinity pools, Hawaii homes are often constructed to maximize views.
At the top of most luxury Hawaii real estate investors’ lists is finding a property with privacy, and Hawaii homes and neighborhoods typically take this into considerations.
Many neighborhoods are gated, only allowing homeowners and their guests inside. On Oahu, these neighborhoods include Black Point and Hawaii Loa Ridge. If the property is not in a gated community, most luxury estates are secured with rock wall fences, lush vegetation and security cameras – with some homeowners even hiring their own private security guards for additional safety.
In general, Hawaii is known to have limited crime compared to other parts of the world. And, with many luxury homeowners calling Hawaii home – and even more celebrities and successful businesspeople visiting the Hawaiian Islands each year – the lure of stalking celebrities is not as enticing in Hawaii as other places.
Depending on a luxury homeowner’s desire, Hawaii luxury real estate offers an abundance of options for lot and home sizes – from multi-acre lots to more intimate estates to lavish penthouses in new Honolulu condominium buildings.
What makes a Hawaii mansion?
The answers to this may vary, depending on who you ask. Many homes selling for the median sales price are large – often offering multi-family living options. However, a luxury home in Hawaii typically has at least five large bedrooms – many with their own ensuite bathrooms, at least one chef’s kitchen and multiple living areas for entertaining or relaxing (such as expansive living rooms, children’s play rooms, home theaters, game rooms, outdoor fire pits, pools and more). Lush gardens and large garages (with EV charging stations) are also the norm. And, additional homes on the same property – like an additional dwelling unit (ADU) – which can be used as guest or staff accommodations can also be found on many luxury Hawaii properties.
Luxury condominiums in Hawaii vary in size and amenities, as well. The city of Honolulu is where the vast majority of ultra luxury Hawaii condos can be found. Park Lane and Mandarin Oriental in the Ala Moana neighborhood, Ward Village’s Waiea, Kalae, Alia, Anaha and Victoria Place, and Waikiki’s Ritz-Carlton are all purposefully designed by renowned architects and designers – with reputations as Hawaii’s most luxurious buildings. The most exclusive condos in these buildings offer three- to four-bedroom options, often exceeding 3,000 square feet. Resort-style amenities, like dog parks, spas, poolside cabanas, fitness centers, infinity pools, private meeting rooms and more, offer appeal for residents to enjoy an all-around healthy and convenient lifestyle.
Luxury home buyers can expect turn-key properties – many which are newly built or remodeled – filled with the latest amenities. Top-of-the-line kitchen appliances, solar-powered electricity and vehicle chargers, double-pane sound-proofing windows showcasing one-of-a-kind Hawaii landscapes, waterfall showers and large soaking bathtubs: These are only a few features that luxury home buyers can expect when purchasing a home in Hawaii.
Both buying and building a luxury Hawaii home are viable options.
While the Hawaii real estate market is limited due to demand frequently outpacing supply, buyers who are discriminating and decisive can often find an existing home to fit their parameters – with some patience and the help of a local luxury real estate agent. A luxury real estate agent has an acute awareness of Hawaii’s neighborhoods and real estate market – as well as knowing unique and rare properties only found in Hawaii. It’s important to note that many ultra luxury Hawaii homes will be sold off-the-market to ensure the upmost privacy.
Building a luxury home offers the opportunity to truly construct a dream home. Large, private pieces of land do become available, and reputable luxury architects and homebuilders are available for hire in Hawaii (and, off-island home building and designing specialists will often be willing to travel to Hawaii for work).
However, building a dream home in Hawaii takes endurance. Construction times typically take much longer than the rest of the U.S. due to permitting delays; in fact, the average building permit approval time on Oahu is around one year from the application start date, according to data from the Honolulu City & County. Furthermore, many building materials are not readily available in Hawaii – especially high-end items – and require specialized shipping, often via cargo ships that must transgress the ocean.
Only a few new condo developments in Honolulu allow early buyers to select certain finishes in their residential unit – ranging from appliances to color schemes to cabinet quality and furnishings.
Depending on the homebuyer’s desires, buying or building luxury real estate are both options in the Hawaii real estate market.
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