Welcome Home: Waikiki

Before Waikiki became a tourist mecca known for its beautiful beaches, weather, and hotels, it was known as the center for local government.

And centuries ago, Waikiki was a wetland.

“In fact the name Waikiki means spouting water and the source of the water came from Palolo Falls, Manoa Falls, and the streams in Makiki. Now because of that it was a perfect place for the ancient Hawaiians to grow taro and to have fish ponds,” Toan Doran a Realtor with Locations and long time Waikiki resident said.

Doran said the area was also known as a vacation spot for Hawaiian royalty.

The International Market Place is legacy that is closely tied with Waikiki. For generations, the market place was a destination for visitors and kamaʻaina alike.

In the process of re-imagining the center, that goal of having the story continue was kept top-of-mind. Their goal has always been to create a gathering place.

Over the past year, the marketplace has established itself as a destination for families and friends to gather for a delicious meal, exclusive shopping, and an overall great experience.

The Waikiki real estate market is very strong. Over the past 12 months there have been 1,121 sales in Waikiki alone.

In fact since the beginning of 2017, there were over 728 sales and it’s on pace to reach or exceed the record of 867 set last year.

The median price for condos is $392,000, which is just below the Oahu median price of $402,000.

Waikiki has an interesting mix of buyers, about 60-percent of them are local with nearly 40-percent having previously owned in Waikiki.

Locations Realtor Tha Smith shared more of those numbers for us. The Waikiki condo market is strong especially for “smaller” units as studios and 1-bedrooms made up 60-percent of sales over the past year. This is also a reflection of the type of units commonly found in Waikiki.

Demand is greatest at the lower price points as days on market is about 30 days with studios and 1-bedrooms condos selling about 25=percent faster than last year.

In the 1960s, the surf culture became popular. That made Waikiki more desirable.

Something more iconic than the Diamond Head backdrop is the story of surf and how it helped shape the view of Waikiki.

Realtor Associate and member of the famous Paskowitz surf family Moses shared that and invited the public to Surfing Heals, a community event.

Even though Waikiki is known to be a tourist destination, there are many things for locals to do as well.

We caught up with Locations Realtor Associates Doug and Jan Weber in front of The Waikiki Aquarium who shared some other options and relief for what some may find intimidating about Waikiki.

We also learned that The Waikiki Aquarium opened in 1904, making it the second-oldest aquarium in the country.

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