Living in Kailua: 3 Reasons Locals Love To Hate It

As one of the most picturesque towns on the island of O’ahu, Kailua residents feel they have ample reason to grumble about it, but not for the reasons you may imagine. It is not a high crime rate area, nor is it a highly polluted town with failing schools systems. In fact, from the outside looking in, you may struggle to come up with what you may consider a “reasonable” explanation for such discontent.

However, the actual reason some locals love to complain about living in Kailua is far more perplexing: Kailua is simply too desirable. Many long-time residents have watched this gem transform from a sleepy “country” town to a charming beachside enclave loaded with boutique shops, restaurants, and water-sport rental outlets. Residents and tourists alike flock to this area whether it is for the ocean-side steakhouse, the beautiful beaches, or the one-of-a-kind bikini shop.

Why, then, do locals love to hate it?

1. Inventory

The term inventory in real-estate lingo refers to the number of homes available on the market. In the case of Kailua town, there is a lack of availability. Over the past decades Kailua has grown considerably. With roadway improvements, national news recognition (this is where President Obama spends his winter holidays), and close proximity to Kaneohe Airforce Base and Pearl Harbor, people from all over the world have bought land here.

With so many interested buyers and fewer people looking to sell, properties have increased significantly in value. This sounds like a good thing if you are an owner, however, for many people once they sell, they may be priced out for good.

For those looking to buy in this area, the expectation should be that this “inventory” will move quickly – if you see something you would like to buy, be prepared to move quickly rather than taking a “wait and see” approach to avoid a frustrating home-buying experience. It is best to speak to a real estate agent who can prepare you for the process.

2. Vacation Rentals

Who loves a little R&R in a gorgeous beach community? A lot of people do. Despite the City’s efforts to crack down on un-permitted vacation rentals, Kailua still has plenty of them. Although neighbors may never see any trouble from these short-term tenants, many locals feel they are a source of soaring long-term rental rates and listing prices – essentially pricing Hawai’i’s own residents out of homes. Add this to increased transient traffic and commercial activity and people start voicing their support for City sanctions.

3. Lots of People

Once upon a time, you could lay out on one of the most amazing beaches in the world with few people on either side of you. Clear, warm water washes up on the soft sand as you view palm trees and distant un-inhabited islands. Lanikai and Kailua Beach have always been favorites for local residents.

Today you can still enjoy these amazing locations, you just share the enjoyment with others. For more social people, this is an enhancement – finding friends to sit with and sparking up a game of Frisbee, but for others, the once sparsely occupied beach is a thing of the past. Parking at these beaches is also at a premium as spots fill up early in the day for beachgoers and locals often find any incoming guests may not have nearby parking on the streets during daylight hours.

When you live in an area so special, it is often hard to contain. Unfortunately, one of the side effects of living in a beautiful town like Kailua is that other people want to share in its enjoyment. Although some locals love to hate the drawbacks, many of them wouldn’t give it up for the world and still consider it, what we say in Hawaii, “no ka oi” or “the best.”

Tia K. Murray, (RA) 59868

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