What You Should Know About Oahu Beachfront & Oceanfront Homes

Oahu beachfront houses have several very obvious upsides. They’re situated on some of the most pristine beaches on this planet. Wake up to the sounds of the surf washing up on the shore and have panoramic ocean views be the first thing that you see when you open your eyes every morning. There aren’t many places in the world that can match the beauty, peace, and tranquility of Oahu beachfront homes.

An oceanfront home on Oahu on a stretch of land that juts slightly out into the ocean

That’s what your experience of oceanfront vacation homes in Oahu will be for the most part. Much like moving into any of the other neighborhoods in Hawaii, there are some aspects that you should keep in mind before looking at Oahu beachfront houses for sale. A common misconception that many people who are not familiar with Honolulu Hawaii neighborhoods have is that oceanfront real estate would come with private beaches that nobody else has access to.

Hawaii Beachfront Homes Don’t Have Private Beaches

All beaches in Oahu are state-owned and thus provide public right of ways. Even if you own an Oahu beachfront house, you may still find people enjoying the beach in front of your property. The protection that the state provides the public concerning their access to the beach makes the beaches a gathering spot. It ensures that everyone has access to these incredible natural resources and that they're not just reserved for those who have the means to buy Oahu beachfront homes.

A picture of a public beach on Oahu, showing people along the beach and in the ocean

However, this can be a dealbreaker for some potential buyers, particularly those that have privacy in mind. The beach in front of their home won't be private and they won't have the exclusive rights to use it. Whether this becomes a dealbreaker due to security concerns or simply as a matter of preference, it’s one of the realities of oceanfront living in Hawaii.

There’s far more to consider and it’s overwhelmingly in favor of acquiring oceanfront vacation homes in Oahu, given how exclusive they are and that they’re becoming increasingly hard to come by. Furthermore, the kind of lifestyle that these properties can provide remains unmatched.

Upkeep Costs Are Often Higher On Beachfront Homes

Anybody looking at Oahu beachfront houses for sale also needs to be mindful of the many different maintenance and upkeep costs they'll have to bear. Given the proximity to the ocean, things corrode significantly faster in beachfront homes compared to properties that are more in land, particularly electronics. Expect to replace electronics like TVs, computers, appliances, and more sooner than you’d think.

A strip of land with condos near the shoreline along the southern shore of Oahu, shot from above

Weather conditions and aging properties are a match made in hell. Doing a major renovation on your beachfront property? Be mindful of the materials being used as they need to be durable enough to limit costly frequent repairs. Opt for materials like marine-grade stainless steel, for example, compared to conventional galvanized steel. Think about the screws and nails being used. They shouldn't bleed with rust and cause corrosion after a short period of time. This obviously increases the material and labor costs which is why remodeling projects on beachfront properties can often be quite expensive.

Insuring the property is also going to cost more the closer you are to the ocean. Not only will you be limited in your choice of insurance providers, since not many provide coverage for ocean flooding, but you may also require flood insurance if your property falls in a flood zone, which many parts of the oceanfront are. The costs can escalate further if the property is located in a tsunami evacuation zone. With natural disasters becoming more frequent, the cost of flood insurance is also rising and thus could lead to a higher monthly expense.

It’s common for some beachfront properties to have seawalls to protect against erosion. Permits and exemptions were awarded to hundreds of owners over the past two decades to protect their properties from rising sea levels and lashing waves. It’s an inequitable solution because while seawalls will protect the property, if the neighboring property doesn’t have a seawall, it will experience faster erosion.

The state's Department of Land and Natural Resources is now revising its rules on seawalls and has also ramped up enforcement of illegal seawalls. Always ensure that if the super exclusive Oahu beachfront home you choose has a seawall, it is legally permitted seawalll and thus won’t be subject to enforcement action by the authorities.

True Beachfront Homes Are Super Exclusive

You only truly realize the exclusivity of Oahu beachfront houses when you realize that few homes on Oahu are actually beachfront, the kind where you walk off your deck and feel pristine sand beneath your toes. Beachside and Kahala are among the Hawaii neighborhoods that have true beachfront houses but the supply remains extremely limited.

For context, there are only about 40 true Oahu beachfront houses in Kahala. Buyers do have a variety of options to choose from, such as unassuming quaint spaces that give off a beach shack vibe to palatial estates of five bedrooms or more.

Generic beach shack, location unknown, on a beautiful beach around sunset

Since there's no land reclamation, no more land is being added to the beachfront and that means there won't be any new supply of houses. The high global demand for beachfront homes in Hawaii further contributes to the exclusivity, since there are a lot of potential buyers but only so many homes to go around.

The Supply Of Beachfront Homes Is Unlikely To Increase

The supply of oceanfront vacation homes in Oahu isn’t just limited due to the no new land addition. There’s a very real possibility that even existing properties may eventually be out of circulation. Coastal erosion caused by global warming remains a major concern.

Paiko Beach in Hawaii Kai, Oahu

There's an ongoing discussion about expanding building restrictions to protect the coastline. It remains a possibility that homes in Oahu may be required to be built further from the shoreline. The existing shoreline setback is 40 feet and there's already a proposal to increase the setback to 60 and 130 feet.

One consequence of pushing construction further up the beachline will be that some lots will become unbuildable. If this proposal gets passed, homeowners will be unable to go back to the current setback line should their home be partially or fully damaged due to floods or any other adverse weather event.

These considerations add to the surge in demand as buyers who want a true beachfront property are looking to snag one as quickly as possible.

Living The Oceanfront Lifestyle On Oahu Can't Be Beat

There's simply no replicating the kind of lifestyle that Oahu beachfront living can provide. It's genuinely one of the most beautiful places in the world and owning a beachfront property is not unlike having your own personal slice of heaven on earth.

The serenity and tranquility here are unmatched. You'll feel that the days seem more effortless and life moves at just the right pace. The memories that you create here as a family will be richer because of the connection to nature. This is a playground and you have the best access to all of the sights and sounds of nature in its extreme form.

Surfers on a wave

Catch the waves when your heart desires or spend your evenings playing beach volleyball and frisbee with your family. The beach and all that it offers are literally at your doorstep and the views, sounds, and fragrances carry into your home.

Wake up to the sounds of the waves crashing on the rocks. Lean back in your favorite chair on the deck and watch the waves washing up. Relax and rejuvenate your mind and soul in an environment that's transcendent and spiritual. There’s nothing quite like it and that’s precisely why the Oahu oceanfront lifestyle is second to none.

Ready To Reach Out?

To sum it up - oceanfront and beachfront living in Hawaii is ultra exclusive, but comes with very real costs. Whether they're worth paying depends on your particular wants and needs. Ready to take the next step and find your ideal oceanfront or beachfront home? Fill out the contact form below to request a consultation!

Request An Oceanfront Or Beachfront Home Consultation

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62 Properties
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$7,775,000
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3
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3F11/2
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3,362
Sq.Ft.
1958
Year Built
2
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202301224
MLS
PHOTOS COMING SOON! Rarely will you find a home that evokes quintessential Hawaiian living at its finest. This charming single level oceanfront home is located on a large lot in the prestigious...
$10,000,000
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6
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4F11/2
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4,098
Sq.Ft.
2001
Year Built
4
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BEST! WIDEST! WHITE SANDY BEACHFRONT! LANIKAI! Picture yourself enjoying the sites and sounds of the ocean lapping onto the sandy shoreline from the comfortable interior of this 2022 remodeled...
$3,400,000
Neighborhood: Laie
7
Beds
5
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2,400
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1972
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11
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Rarely available 2 beachfront homes on the highly coveted Hukilau - Temple Beach in Laie! Both homes have been completely and beautifully renovated...essentially, two brand new homes. This property...
$7,000,000
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5
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5F11/2
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4,705
Sq.Ft.
1988
Year Built
12
Days on Site
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RARE 100+ linear feet of SPECTACULAR, SANDY BEACH FRONTAGE! Immaculate, modern, home with FOREVER OCEAN VIEWS and resort design. XXL lot smart home, with PRIVACY & ELEGANCE, with understated front...
$7,499,999
Neighborhood: Kawailoa-North Shore
3
Beds
1
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1,311
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1961
Year Built
12
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Truly one of a kind 17,430 sq ft beach front lot, with about 100 ft of pristine white sandy beach frontage, ready to build your dream home. Arguably the very best North Shore location, on a superb...
$8,950,000
Neighborhood: Portlock
5
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6F21/2
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6,720
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1989
Year Built
15
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202300758
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A rarely available double-sized ocean lot provides the ultimate privacy and accommodations. Oceanfront estate with 2-separate tax map keys is an excellent property with a combined 20,886 sq. ft of...
$2,088,000
Neighborhood: Waikalua
4
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2018
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16
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202300060
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RARE OCEANFRONT PROPERTY! SELLER'S CREDIT TO CLOSING of $20, 000 at close of escrow. Opportunity to live in an oceanfront home with expansive and spectacular views of the ocean and Koolau Mountains...
$12,850,000
Neighborhood: Kahala Area
6
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6
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5,981
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1935
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17
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202224173
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Island Living by the Sea... Welcome home to this wonderful sprawling oceanfront residence situated on a private parcel that runs from street to ocean offering 19,442 square feet of level land....
$1,149,900
Neighborhood: Hauula
3
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3
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1,641
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2005
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22
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Very Rare opportunity to purchase a spacious beachfront lot in Hauula! These do not come up for sale often....so move quickly.
Within close distance to BYU, shopping and PCC.
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Neighborhood: Ewa Beach
6
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1979
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23
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Neighborhood: Hauula
4
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3
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2,080
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1951
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29
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Oceanfront Beach property!! Enjoy serene and beautiful ocean views on the Windward coast in this 3 bedroom, 3 bath single-story, single or multi-family home with garage and 3 separate entrances....
$16,500,000
Neighborhood: Kahala Area
5
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5F21/2
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9,896
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1988
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29
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MLS
A FIRST CLASS ADDRESS... Location is more than cross streets. It's the entire neighborhood and the opportunities it provides. Welcome to Kahala, one of the most coveted and sought after locations...

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