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Diamond Head – Are All Slopes Equal?

Unless you live here you may not notice these things. Diamond Head is, geographically speaking, a small neighborhood, however, it offers wonderful amenities that can vary in pricing based on location. But one thing is certain, no matter if you are living on the ocean or 5 blocks away, Diamond Head is a great neighborhood to live.

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Majestic Diamond Head (Photo by Rob Otis)

I moved from an oceanfront home in Kaaawa to Diamond Head over 15 years ago, and as each year passes by, I come to love the location and lifestyle even more. So what’s the draw you ask? There are so many things to list!

The West Side Story (Waikiki Side)

If you like to be active and get outdoors, there are fabulous options right outside your front door. Kapiolani Park is a beautiful 500-acre green space that townies flock to everyday. It is the perfect place to walk or jog along the 3-mile paved perimeter, toss a frisbee, or kick around a soccer ball on the playing fields. The public tennis courts are very popular with a total of 14 courts available; 4 on the Makai (ocean) side facing Kalakaua Avenue and 10 on the Mauka (mountain) side facing Paki Avenue.

The park is a great place to relax with loved ones and have a picnic under the exceptional century-old trees. Who doesn’t love the beach? One of the best spots to swim and stand-up paddleboard is Kaimana Beach. Great sandy area and a gentle current make it suitable for kids and adults of all ages. Another great amenity within walking distance is Honolulu Zoo and Waikiki Aquarium. Both are landmarks of the area and are the perfect place to take out-of-town guests who come to visit.

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View of Diamond Head from Kapiolani Park

On the western slopes of Diamond Head, you are where the action is…Waikiki. If your thing is shopping, restaurants, hotel spas, or people watching, you are right where you need to be. Waikiki is crawling with people from all reaches of the world, and when it comes to eating, the choices are almost as plentiful – Japanese, Korean, Asian-fusion, fast food, steakhouses, casual dining, and more.

Do you like fine dining? My favorite is the Hau Tree Lanai, located in The New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel on the slopes of Diamond Head, which has been serving delicious pacific rim cuisine for decades. The restaurant is most noted for its dining under the hotel’s hau tree. In fact, the restaurant recently won Honolulu Magazine’s Hale Aina award for “Best Outdoor Dining.”

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Sunset enjoyed from Kaimana Beach

Perfect, right? Unfortunately, it is rather difficult to find a home here because the inventory is so low. In fact, when I did a search in MLS*, of the 15 single family homes with ocean views in the Diamond Head area, only 5 were available on this side.

One property is waterfront, another has tree-top views and the other 3 didn’t have photos that displayed the actual ocean view from the home. Hmm, makes you wonder if you have to climb onto the roof to see the ocean. Well, not to worry because the state of affairs on the other side of the mountain are significantly more abundant and promising.

Map of active listings in Diamond Head

Map of active listings in Diamond Head as of 3/20/15

The East Side Story (Kahala Side)

The grass may not necessarily be greener on the east side of Diamond Head (the few months that Diamond Head is actually green), but I believe the views sure are superior. On clear days, you’ll be treated to the silhouettes of Moloka`i, Lana`i, and Maui on the distant horizon.

When it comes to recreation, the beach tends to be the most popular destination. Luckily, most homes in this area are within walking distance to wonderful sandy beaches, so fun in the sun and water is easily within reach. The excitement of Waikiki is a short car ride away if you desire it. So is Kapiolani Park and Hau Tree Lanai.

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Diamond Head neighborhood, street view

Fortunately for prospective buyers, available inventory in this area is much more favorable. When I searched for ocean view single family property in Diamond Head, there were 15 listings on the market. Ten of those properties are located on the east side of Diamond Head!

Currently on the Market

As previously mentioned, prices of single family homes in the area can run the gamut. Of the 15 properties for sale, the lowest priced property is 251 Kaalawai Place (MLS# 201502942), which was built in 1950. It is a 3 bed, 3 bath home with 1,916 interior square feet on a 6,500 square foot lot and offered at $2,250,000 FS. Unfortunately, the only place to enjoy the ocean view is from the 2nd floor of the home.
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251 Kaalawai Place

On the opposite side of the spectrum, we have 3603 Diamond Head Road (MLS# 201418716) currently listed at $14,500,000 FS. This voluminous home consists of 4 beds, 4 baths, and an interior of 4,863 square feet. The home was built in 2001 on a 12,000+ square foot sloped lot commanding exquisite 180° ocean views and a private beach access.
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3603 Diamond Head Road

What Property is the Best Value?

Alas, not all of us are blessed enough to afford a $14,000,000 home. So what property is the best value? Of these 15 available Diamond Head properties, I think the best overall value is 656 Paikau Street (MLS# 201501196), which boasts over 3,600 interior square feet on a parcel just over 10,000 square feet.

656 Paikau Street – Street frontage

This 6 bed, 3.5 bath home has a nice flowing layout that wraps around the family-gathering swimming pool. The current list price is a tad ambitious and could use a price adjustment, however, for a home built in 1967 it is in great condition and in need of updating in just a few areas. Coincidentally, all three of these homes are on the east side of Diamond Head.

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656 Paikau Street – View from the front porch

So Which Side of Diamond Head Reigns Supreme?

East side or west side, it really makes no difference when we are all lucky enough to have views of the sparkling blue Pacific and the verdant slopes of Diamond Head in our backyard. To me, if you call Diamond Head your home, you are very fortunate indeed.

*MLS search was done on 3/20/2015. Search criteria included only single family homes with ocean views in the Diamond Head neighborhood.

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