5 Best Neighborhoods to Live in Oahu, HI

By 

Jamie Ayers

Updated 

March 5th, 2021

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Finding the best neighborhoods in Oahu is challenging without help from a local expert. Pairing with an experienced local agent can help you navigate the island. Follow our guide and talk to an agent who can get you a great deal on your dream home.

While Oahu’s population has been growing, the city of Honolulu’s population is shrinking as lifelong residents are leaving for the mainland. This means that there’s more real estate to be bought up as Oahu becomes a buyers market like no other time in recent years. With the help of an experienced local agent, you can navigate the variety of homes available on this island of 1.4 million people.

When you meet with an experienced local agent, ask them about these five highly rated areas to move to in Oahu.

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1. Kahala

On the southern shore of the island of Oahu is a small but upscale neighborhood called Kahala. The wide streets of this region and large lots allow home buyers to feel like they’ve got their own piece of paradise in the region. While there are some pricey homes up here, most of the homes fit within the median home value of around $700,000, according to Zillow data.

If you’re looking for a truly luxury home, there are lots of two-story estates that are on the white sand beaches here. One of the major pluses of this region is that it’s not a very popular tourist destination, meaning that you’ll be sharing this piece of paradise with the locals. It’s much more relaxed and easygoing than you’d find on more well-tread paths.

Amenities include the Kahala Mall which boasts its own Whole Foods Market, a multiplex, and every type of retailer that you’d need. Locals spend their weekends at Waialae Beach Park which is light on traffic but heavy on views.

2. Manoa

This lush valley region boasts residents that go back for dozens of generations. Even though it’s just 20 minutes from downtown Honolulu, it seems closer to the countryside than many other areas of the island. This tropical area has plenty of parks, hiking trails, and daily rainfall that keeps the area green all throughout the year.

Visitors love to spend the day hiking along the back of the valley which leads to the gorgeous Manoa Falls.

For residents, the Manoa Marketplace is the shopping center that meets all of their day-to-day needs. Manoa Elementary School holds a 10 rating from GreatSchools, making it just one of many high-quality public schools in the area. There’s even the nearby private Punahou K-12 school which boasts President Obama as a former student.

3. Hawaii Kai

This neighborhood on the eastern ridge of Oahu was planned by the real estate magnate Henry Kaiser in the 1960s. The neighborhood is surrounded by the Maunalua fishpond and nearby wetlands, giving it a powerful natural landscape. There are houses that face the marina, others with ocean views, and high-rise condos with access to the nearby golf course.

For nature lovers, there’s the Hanauma Crater for snorkeling and enjoying tide pools. Sandy Beach is the best place for an afternoon stroll and Koko Marina has access to all of the ocean sports you can handle. Koko Head has sports fields, picnic areas, and access to the Koko Head Crater.

With schools, shopping, and lots of recreation, this is a great place to move for those who can afford it. Homes here have a median value of more than $950,000. However, the market is currently cold, leaving lots of room for negotiation.


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4. The North Shore

The North Shore is comprised of several communities including Haleiwa, Laie, and Hauula. They’re much more remote than the southern side of the island and can be more challenging to traverse for out-of-towners. Many of the roadways in this region are local streets traversed by residents and surfers exclusively.

If you like the laid-back vibe of Southern California, you’ll feel right at home here. There’s plenty of delicious local food and lots of beautiful views.

Homes in Laie are in the $950,000 range, making them out of reach for most people but if you’ve always dreamed of the dramatic views the area offers, it could be the place for you.

5. The Leeward Side

Living in the southwest edge of Oahu gives you access to much more infrastructure than is on the North Shore. Ewa Beach is a nice area for residents to enjoy all the commercial needs of the mainland while being just a short drive away from the beach.

The region is mostly populated with current or retired military staff and has a strong sense of community. The walkways and paths around this area make it one of the best places to live for residents who want the feel of a small suburb. There’s a lot of new construction in the area and the median home value in Ewa Beach has gotten as low as $620,000, making it much more accessible than other Oahu regions.

Ewa Beach has lots of great schools that are highly rated by parents and locals. This, combined with all of the great nature walks you could take, makes the area a great place to raise a family.

How to Find the Best Neighborhoods to Live in Oahu

When considering where to live in Oahu, you need an experienced local agent to help you navigate the massive island. There’s so much variety in lifestyle, culture, and nature that there’s something for just about anyone who wants to find their forever home on the island. Getting matched with a Clever Partner Agent can qualify you for Clever Cash Back.

»FIND: Top Real Estate Agents in Hawaii

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