How to Invest in Hawaii Land?

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How to Invest in Hawaii Land?

Bart Waldon

Boasting prime beachfront and inland acreages blanketed by rainforests or hugging volcanic peaks spanning its six major islands, Hawaii offers unique real estate investments beyond obvious resort developments associated with its world famous shores. In fact, over 40% of the archipelago’s lands remain entirely undeveloped presenting opportunities. Though prices exceed national averages, strategic plots still deliver appreciating growth from tourism revenues and tight communal restrictions prevent overbuilding safeguarding future gains.

Start By Understanding Hawaii's Diverse Microclimates

Possessing only a single land mass taller than 10,000 feet in elevation despite immense total area, Hawaii’s islands feature drastically differing terrain just miles apart with unique investment pros/cons. Examine key distinctions:

Windward Forests 

Wet mountain slopes averaging 300+ inches of annual rainfall thrive growing valuable hardwood koa/kona trees or supporting coveted specialty coffee plantations. Plots allowing cultivation near Hilo or Volcano demand premium pricing for natural bounty potentials.

Leeward Grasslands 

Oppositely, the rain shadow desolation of kona coasts nearer Kona/Kohala rely on cattle grazing leasable lands. Although cheaper initially, carrying capacities dictate useful lot sizes 40 acres+.

Coastal Strands 

Beachfront parcels clearly command seven figure listing prices from developers aiming to subdivide or construct luxury compounds along scarce sand fringes occupied already. But County ordinances tightly restrict what building permits issue protecting limited public coastal accesses.

While obviously no universal metric underscores smarter buys, study microclimate patterns aligning investments to local conditions best leveraging natural attributes differently across the archipelago.

Survey Where Growth Trajectories Expect Upsides

Beyond gauging sustainable agriculture fertility that reliable rainfall and rich volcanic soil nourishes which defined plantation legacy economies originally, modern opportunities hinge on population migrations within Hawaii's own boundaries. Notice prime appreciation zones emerging:

West Hawaii 

As the Big Island's premier resort district flanking historic Kailua Village, Kohala Coast properties once reserved for Hawaiian royalty now cater to elite celebrities and affluent retirees from across Asia/North America basing inside striking distance of iconic volcanoes and black sand beaches along weather idealized shores. Thus vacant inland parcels offering residential zoning or subdivision entitlements draw investor interest betting on long term development schemes 20-30 years out.

Central/North Oahu 

Above congested Honolulu, dynamic Windward towns like Kailua and Haleiwa nurtured by world-famous North Shore surf breaks mature rapidly as professionals willing to commute farther crave roomier neighborhoods. Resulting sprawl produces retail/commercial building booms as communities densify.

Maui's Upcountry 

Tracing Haleakala's fertile volcanic flanks, towns like cool weathered Kula supply produce sustaining the entire island yet maintain charming small town appeal amidst gardens Mainland transplants adore. Expect continued creep climbing verdant slopes.

Identifying Hawaii’s distinct microclimate patterns and ongoing population migrations focus investments where visitor numbers and values rise long term.

Scrutinize Permits Required Realizing Any Land Potential

However when evaluating vacant acreages anywhere across Hawaii for purchase, investigate carefully through zoning code research what building improvements or agricultural endeavors county officials allow prior to closing deals involving big capital outlays.

  • Residential Construction – Subdividing pristine pastures fronting beaches to erect million dollar mansions seems profitable but frequently officials preserve unblemished shorelines restricting much beyond minor accessory structures protecting environmental fragility along wave battered Waikiki panoramas or palm framed lagoons. Beware assuming otherwise.
  • Commercial Enterprise - While every community desires the convenience stores bring, adequately accessed two acre minimum-sized parcels often delineate what determined use applications expect before variances reachable approve neighborhood buildings marring community aesthetics. Recognize wishes verses realities.
  • Agricultural Attempts - Farming tropical richness sustains island families tediously for generations across modest leased public/crown lands holdings. But lacking sufficient acreage acquiring durable water rights attached, even steep rainforest plots sit fallow defying backbreaking cultivation attempts by underfunded newcomers naively expecting nourishing bounties flowing freely from lush settings where in actuality stringent servicing prerequisites still apply gumming progress.

While Hawaii inspires big visions pursuing paradise possibilities, pragmatically tempering ambitions to what scrutinized conditions realistically support leads to smartest buys.

Benefits of Investing in Hawaii Land

Beyond enjoying idyllic sandy acreage yourself, strategic investment selections yield appreciating assets from Hawaii’s tourism, development restrictions and microclimate variances.

Appreciation from Tourism Revenue

Despite covering only 10,931 total square miles, Hawaii welcomes over 10 million visitors annually focused primarily on its secured beaches, secluded resorts and activities showcasing its rare endemic wildlife found nowhere else on earth. This feeds massive island economies without influence from broader US stability.

Tight Development Restrictions

Given sensitive ecosystems and large swaths of public areas, Hawaii counties severely restrict private buildings through zoning limitations and stringent permitting ensuring luxury neighborhoods maintain exclusivity that supports prices. Few regions enjoy these controls preventing overbuilding.

Microclimate Variety

From rain soaked windward hills to sunny leeward plains to rich volcanic slopes nurturing agriculture, Hawaii’s land features drastically differing profiles just miles apart sustaining distinct niches spanning ranching, farming and residential usage that stabilize markets across industries. Variety brings stability.

While high by national standards, strategic Hawaii land investments poised to meet islander community needs while respecting ecologies produce rewarding returns over long-term holds for patient investors.

Final Thoughts

Despite immense tourist appeal fueling economic prosperity, Hawaii maintains uniquely tight-knit islander populations guiding land-use priorities for generations preserving ecological gems blessing their island homelands. Savvy investors therefore respect sustainable partnerships with revered area stewards already realizing specialty yield potentials from quality soils blessed by ample rainfall delivered in seasonal abundance off ocean breezes reaching croplands judiciously elevated beyond vulnerable sea levels but close enough still for ease of market distribution. Land matches every application. Seek locals first understanding attributes.

Freuqently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What paperwork shows I legally own purchased Hawaii land?

Following full sales transaction payments, registered warranty deeds with recorded plat maps/parcel numbers convey deeded acreage rights. Transfer tax certificates also evidence exchanges registered by state.

What is the best way to survey land before purchasing in Hawaii?

Beyond visual walkthroughs, licensed surveyors can legally codify boundary markers, topography and easements revealing any impediments affecting valuations. Surveys cost around $5,000 but protect against disputes.

Are harvesting/water rights appurtenant when buying agricultural land in Hawaii?

No necessarily. Water rights attach separately requiring deed conveyance or easement permissions from controlling state agencies or neighboring land owners surrounding streams/watersheds. Valuable timber also requires permits.

Can private beaches exist on Hawaii coastal land purchases? 

Littoral laws frequently stipulate below the high tide lines are public property allowing unfettered access benefiting wider islander populations. Few exceptions exist like secured military base shorelines prohibiting crossing inland to seafronts fronting private holdings.

What are property taxes like on Hawaii vacant lands? 

Typical property tax rates reach just 0.27% of assessed valuations but spike significantly once improved plots service luxury structures/sensitive environments. Expect fees between $500 to $5000+ annually per land acre depending on assessed development viability.

About The Author

Bart Waldon

Bart, co-founder of Land Boss with wife Dallas Waldon, boasts over half a decade in real estate. With 100+ successful land transactions nationwide, his expertise and hands-on approach solidify Land Boss as a leading player in land investment.


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