Oahu: where to invest beside Honolulu for Airbnb?

13 Replies

I am wondering where else to invest beside Oahu for short-term rental. Any advice is well appreciated. Thank you!

@Matt Smith

What we have found over the last 13 years is that it far more important WHAT you are renting that WHERE. We are helping developers build vacation rentals with unparalleled amenities across the nation, one of the most important features for cash flow potential is the home being larger that 6 bed/bath so that it can accommodate larger business and leisure groups for more than just the 90-120 vacation days. Having it in a legally zoned area also helps dramatically. Now, nowhere is going to give the same kind of season and returns as Hawaii, but our rentals in a little town outside St. George Utah are keeping a 50-60% occupancy for 3 bed/bath to 12 bed/bath homes.

I lived on Oahu for a few years.

I would recommend the North Shore for vacation rentals outside of the city. Kaaawa (1/2 mile from where they filed Jurassic park), Haliewa is super popular (famous for shave ice and artists studios). 

I'd steer clear of Ewa beach, kaneohe, wainani. 


@Natalie Kolodij Is it legally possible to do short-term rentals (7 days or less in Kaaawa or Haliewa)?

Thank you!

ko olina, lanikai, ewa (hoakalei), north shore 

Beach villas at ko olina allows legal less than 7 night rentals, is ocean front and has 3 bedroom units.  It runs high occupancy and can be done legally for less than 30 night rentals.  

@Andrew Olmstead

In which resort or apartment name is short-term (7 days or less) allowed? Thank you!

@Matt Smith Check out some data courtesy of @Revenue Cohen that might be helpful as you evaluate best cities/ZIPS to invest on Oahu 

from thread: https://www.biggerpockets.com/forums/311/topics/235257-airbnb-income-estimates---hawaii


It's Beach Villas at Ko Olina. You can see units for sale in the MLS. You have a Four Seasons, Disney and Marriott resorts next door so great area for vacation rentals

Originally posted by @Natalie Kolodij :

I'd steer clear of Ewa beach, kaneohe, wainani. 

 I think I know why but can you explain?  

Ewa Beach is a traffic disaster. It's incredibly isolated in terms of how you get get into and out of the area.  

Kaneohe is very commercialized. It's filled with everyday shopping and a military base. It doesn't feel any different than being in Florida. 

And Wainani- isn't a very safe area. It's not an area that is conducive to tourists especially. 

Waianae is safe and I lived there 10 years. The beaches are not crowded and the locals are friendly.

I own 1 and manage another vacation rental in Haleiwa. I would say North Shore is one of the best areas for VRs. North Shore lacks future development and is becoming increasing popular. However, keep in mind that any VR without a VR permit is a technically illegal operation in the eyes of the state. If you're caught which many operators are on the Windward side & North Shore you will be provided a warning followed by daily fines if continued. Permits are no longer issued and stopped back in 1989. 

To start you'll need a lot of capital/high loan Pre-Approval to get into the business. A ideal VR Single Family Homes will start around $1.1M if you want views or are close to the ocean. $700K is the start for a home in a local Haleiwa neighborhood away from the ocean. Condos starting $530K and are nearly non existent in Haleiwa but do come up every year or so. Turtle Bay is closer to Sunset and has Condos starting around $500K. I would avoid Waialua "cement city" for short term rentals since they're a bit farther from Haleiwa Town and any popular surf locations. Those units tend to sit on market for a lot longer than anything closer to Haleiwa 

As a owner myself if I would continue to acquire rentals in Haleiwa or Sunset. Being close to all of the restaurants, shops, iconc surf &, snorkel of Haleiwa town, Sharks Cove, and Sunset is very ideal for tourists. 

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