SFR or Condo?

In 2015, 618 fee-simple condos were sold on the Big Island, with a median price of $288,750. In 2016, prices for fee-simple condos range from approx. $60,000 to over $10,000,000.


On the Big Island, use of the term SFR isn't commonplace, but, for buyers coming from some mainland markets, it is a term that identifies single-family residential listings that are stand-alone (detached) homes. In some areas, SFR may include townhomes or duplex properties if the owner owns the land as well as the improvements on it. For our purposes, we'll use SFR to reference properties that do not fall under Hawaii's CPR (Condominium Property Regime) laws. 

CPR: Hawaii's Condo Property Regime

In Hawaii, CPR (condo) ownership is described as ownership of a unit (this can be a traditional apartment-style dwelling, a townhouse or a detached unit) along with a percentage of undivided interest in the common elements.

Under this definition, it is not uncommon, especially in the Kona-Kohala resorts, to find large free-standing custom homes that fall into the condominium ownership category. These condominium projects typically offer desirable amenities packages, recreation opportunities, and well-maintained open spaces as common elements for owners to enjoy.

There are also a few CPR properties across the Big Island that appear to be SFR properties but are actually parcels of land that have been "CPR'ed" and may share only a driveway as a common element. The specifics for each condominium project will be spelled out in the Declaration of the Condominium Property Regime paperwork and your REALTOR® and lender will help you navigate the purchase of a CPR/condo property.

Advantages to Condo Ownership

1. Traditional condos allow greater flexibility for an owner who wants to "lock and go" at short notice or frequently throughout the year. If your Big Island property is a 2nd home or if you travel often, knowing that common area maintenance is covered and that someone is keeping an eye on the physical infrastructure of the project can bring significant piece of mind.

2. Traditional condos require less on-going exterior maintenance, freeing up more time for owners to enjoy an active, outdoor island lifestyle. Of course, some folks find great joy in gardening or perfecting the exterior of their home, but if you'd rather be on the water (or in a hammock reading a book) on Saturday morning instead of mowing a lawn or coordinating a landscaping crew, a condo can offer that option.

3. If you're set on owning an ocean view or oceanfront property, including condos in your search will give you more options to choose from, starting at around $100,000 for a small studio with an ocean view.

If you think a condo may be right for you, you can use these links to start your search:

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