Main Content


When you’re asked to imagine the idyllic Hawaiian lifestyle, pictures of lush nature, turquoise water beaches, and charming houses with plenty of fresh air and natural lighting will most likely come to mind. Images like these precisely define what living in Kailua is like.

Discover Kailua and take a closer look at what it has to offer. All you need to do is take a short drive from Honolulu (just 20 minutes via Pali Highway) and you’ll be right in the middle of a community that will charm you enough to consider calling it home.

Overview of Kailua, HI

Kailua is a town located 12 miles northeast of Honolulu on the windward side of Oahu. “Windward” refers to the side of Oahu that faces the wind, which in this case means the eastern part of the island. Kailua is “two seas” or “two currents” in Hawaiian, and comes from either the two currents running through Kailua Bay or to the two lagoons in the district, namely, Kawainui and Ka’elepulu.

A brief history

Kailua was once the residential seat of the Oahu rulers and was frequently visited by Hawaiian royalty. The area was inhabited as early as 1,500 years ago, and up until the early twentieth century, fishing and agriculture were the dominant economic activities.

Modern Kailua came into being around 1917, when Harold Kainalu Long Castle acquired large tracts of land in the area for the ranching activities of Kaneohe Ranch Company. The company ended its cattle operations in 1942, and the lands it held were opened to residential development.

Efforts to attract residents to Kailua proved fruitful as more residential communities and commercial establishments sprang up, and Kailua’s population bloomed from under 8,000 in 1950 to more than 25,000 in 1960, helped along by post-war development and demand in the area.

Today, Kailua is beloved for its well-preserved natural beauty, tight-knit community, and quality of life. The town spans a total area of 10.589 square miles and is home to more than 40,500 people as of the 2020 census. Its laid-back atmosphere and stunning beaches have earned it the accolade “The Ultimate Beach Town,” as declared by various travel publications and visitors alike.

Homes for sale in Kailua, HI

Single Fish Reflected in Ocean Surface from Underwater Abstract with Reef

Given the desirability of living in the town, Kailua houses for sale have been in high demand, with property prices consistently riding an upward trend especially in recent years. With stiff competition for properties, it’s absolutely essential for you to commission the expertise of Kailua, HI Realtors.

Local real estate specialists can comb the Kailua real estate market to find the best properties for you. Your Realtor will help you narrow down your choices and help you set your priorities. What does your budget look like? Are you fine with looking at older properties or do you have your heart set on newer construction? How big is your family and what are your future plans? These factors and more will help you get a clearer picture of which home would best suit your needs.

Property types and architecture

An interesting characteristic of the Kailua real estate market is how diversified the housing mix is, both in terms of style and age. You’ll find condos in older, more established communities, as well as newer units in more recently built developments. Some of these condos are fully furnished, while you’ll also find ones that are total blank canvases, ready for you to apply your personal touch and truly make it your own. Condos that offer sweeping views of the water and the mountains are particularly in demand.

Townhouses are also popular in Kailua. You’ll find townhome communities located near shops, restaurants, and beaches, many coming with exclusive courtyards to give you unparalleled privacy and comfort.

Looking for a lot more room to expand? Single-family properties are among the popular Kailua homes for sale. They come in a variety of styles so you’ll be sure to find something that’s right for your taste. The most popular architectural styles are ranch, mid-century modern, and plantation, which is probably the most iconic architectural style in all of Hawaii. A good number of homes in the town were built from the 1940s to the 1970s, so you can expect a classic look that’s quintessentially Hawaii.

A popular getaway for celebrities and prominent personalities, the Kailua real estate scene also includes expansive luxury estates, nestled on expansive lots with lush vegetation and tropical landscaping. Solar panels that take advantage of the abundant sunshine in the area, saltwater heated pools, smart home systems, and other luxurious amenities characterize these homes, ensuring utmost comfort, convenience, and privacy.

Regardless of the style, you’ll find that one feature ties most Kailua homes for sale: glass is a typical feature, the better to let in natural light, making the houses feel more spacious and airy while showcasing the beauty of the surroundings.

Popular neighborhoods in Kailua, HI

The growth of Kailua as a residential community has not ceased since new residents started pouring in in the 1940s, and the continuous demand for housing has given rise to a number of desirable neighborhoods. The top enclaves include:

  • Lanikai. Lanikai provides the best access to the beach. This exclusive community consists of around 500 upscale homes that offer the utmost in luxury.

  • Coconut Grove. One of the oldest neighborhoods in the town, residential construction here began in the 1940s on what was once a coconut grove. Homes include cottages, plantation homes, and bungalows. The neighborhood is close to Lanikai Beach and provides many opportunities for kayaking, swimming, and other water activities, as well as simply walking and cycling on its quiet streets.

  • Norfolk. Located off Kalanianaole Highway in south Kailua, Norfolk has about 30 homes, many of which were built in the 1980s and 1990s. The neighborhood has a bit of a country vibe, and some small farming activities are allowed.

  • Maunawili. With its lush greenery, trails, parks, and sloping terrain, Maunawili feels like a tropical getaway. There are no commercial establishments in the neighborhood, but this presents no problem to residents because of the proximity to Kailua Town. Many of the homes here are large single-family properties built in the 1960s and 1970s, though some are slightly newer, built only in the 2000s or later.

  • Hillcrest. A small, affluent neighborhood nestled between Keolu Hills and Kailua Bluffs, Hillcrest features terraced homes, most of which were built in the 1970s. Properties here epitomize true luxury, boasting expansive floor areas and equally expansive lots.

  • Enchanted Lake. This neighborhood gets its name from the lake within its borders, which is also known as Ka’elepulu Pond, “Ka’elepulu” meaning “moist blackness.” Many of Enchanted Lake’s homes were built in the 1960s and come in a variety of styles. You’ll find hillside properties and waterfront homes, each boasting breathtaking views.

A few other neighborhoods in Kailua are also garnering attention, such as Kawailoa, located near Kailua town and featuring hillside homes that offer great views. Kuulei Tract offers spacious homes and lots that typically span 10,000 square feet; and Pohakupu features some of the more affordable Kailua homes for sale, making them ideal for younger families.

Whichever neighborhood you end up choosing, you’ll never be too far from all the amenities, activities, establishments, and attractions that make Kailua an exceptional place to live in.

Life in Kailua, HI

Woman standing on pillbox near Kailua

Kailua’s beauty and vibrancy is enough reason for anyone to consider moving here, but other factors also contribute to its appeal.

Cost of living

While higher than the United States index, the cost of living in Kailua is lower than in much of Hawaii, making the town an attractive option for buyers looking to move to the Aloha state. The average household income in the town is about 18% more than the national average, and residents are willing to pay a premium for the many perks and conveniences that come with living in Kailua.


Growing families will be pleased to find that Kailua has a vast selection of schools.

  • Aikahi Elementary, which is under the Hawaii Department of Education, is known for its excellent programs, including art, foreign languages, and music, and picturesque setting.

  • Established in 1958, Maunawili Elementary School is considered one of the best schools in Hawaii.

  • Kailua High School is one of the top-rated high schools in the state and is known for its science, technology, math, and engineering programs.

  • Kalaheo High School is recognized for its comprehensive academic programs, athletics, and community service.

  • Le Jardin Academy is a private school that offers PK-12 education, and is the only International Baccalaureate (IB) school in Hawaii.

Attractions and amenities

Kailua is a popular bedroom community for people who work in Honolulu, preferred for its lower prices and arguably much more relaxed vibe. But it is much more than just a residential area. The town offers many attractions and activities that make it a destination on its own.

  • The beaches
    Kailua has Oahu’s longest white sand beaches. It is home to renowned beaches such as Lanikai Beach and Kailua Beach Park, which has consistently been named among the best beaches in the US. Aside from boasting pristine sands and the sparkling Kailua Bay, the beaches in Kailua are less crowded, quieter, and offer more natural beauty unimpeded by high-rise buildings and hectic streets.

    The waters of Kailua Bay provide plenty of opportunities to go swimming, kayaking, diving, and parasailing, as well as stand-up paddle boarding, snorkeling, and more. Make it a point to see the Mokolua Islands as well. The islands are home to seabirds and are also a great place to spot some monk seals and sea turtles. You can take a kayak from Kailua Beach to Moko Nui and end your trip with a dip in the swimming hole here.

  • Trails and wildlife areas
    Once you’ve had your fill of the beach, you can go off on adventures elsewhere in Kailua. Go on the Lanikai Pillbox Hike along the Kaiwa Ridge Trail. The hike takes 60 to 90 minutes and rewards you with incredible views of windward Oahu. Discover the local wildlife and head out to Kawainui Marsh bright and early. The marsh trail spans 2.9 miles and brings you within the mountainside area of this part of Oahu.

  • Shopping
    Kailua has many surf shops and specialty boutiques where you can get everything from unique handmade accessories, fashion items from local brands, and even home decor and artwork.

  • Dining
    Discover Kailua’s diverse dining options and savor classic Hawaiian flavors or indulge in creative gastronomic offerings. Check out Boots & Kimo Homestyle Kitchen and get a taste of their popular banana pancakes, drizzled with macadamia nut sauce. Visit a Kailua icon, Buzz’s Original Steakhouse. Buzz’s has been around since 1967 and is still serving up mouthwatering steaks, burgers, cocktails, and, of course, seafood. And don’t forget to grab shave ice, that quintessential Hawaiian favorite, at Island Snow.
  • Festivals and events
    There’s always something to do in Kailua, from regular workshops and classes to farmers markets and musical events and shows. Kailua also hosts a Fourth of July parade every year, and the Kailua Makai Festival is a fairly new event that celebrates the oceans and encourages people to do their part in protecting them. This festival also features screenings of ocean-related documentaries, as well as beach cleanups.

    The most popular event in town is the “I Love Kailua” Town Party, which has been held by the Lani-Kailua Outdoor Circle (LKOC) since 1993. This event is an all-day street party that also functions as a fundraiser for LKOC, with the money going toward beautification projects in Kailua. Expect to see handmade and locally crafted products from Kailua artisans, tons of food from the town’s restaurants and cafes, live music, and more. It’s a great way to discover the best of Kailua’s local gems, letting you know what to expect once you’ve moved into town.

Find the perfect Kailua homes for sale with Taniguchi & Associates

The Kailua real estate market might seem daunting to explore, but it doesn’t have to be. Finding the right Kailua houses for sale can be as simple and easy as the way life is in Kailua, and we at Taniguchi & Associates are well prepared to make that happen for you.

Our team has decades of collective experience matching people with the right property. Our clientele encompasses all backgrounds, giving us unparalleled knowledge that we apply to every transaction.

Get in touch with us at 808.596.2888 or at this email address and let’s get started on finding the perfect Kailua home that you’ll love for years to come.

Sorry we are experiencing system issues. Please try again.
Skip to content