What do you think of monster homes?
At first, you might envision a monster home as one that is 8 bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms and a couple of guest bathrooms on each floor, approximately 10,000 sq.ft. complete with family room, theater, craft and hobby room, winery, photography studio, dining room, breakfast room, large kitchen, game room, man cave, yoga studio, office, maids quarters, in-law suite and guest rooms. But what about the 29 bedrooms, 17 bathroom home on a 9500 sq.ft. lot next to a humble 3 bedroom 1100 sq.ft. home on a 5100 sq.ft. lot neighbor?
The following KITV story is not a new one but is coming to light as more of these large homes are being constructed in already high-density neighborhoods with narrow streets.
I think examples of these monster homes in Kaimuki, Kalihi, Kamehameha Heights and the neighbor conflict will create a backlash in Honolulu…particularly against Chinese (from PRC) contractors, designers, and investors who are not sensitive to neighborhood character. The backlash can include lobbying for stricter building codes, enforcement, and more fines.
A friend asked me what my thoughts were on monster homes and what I thought the 29 bedroom home might sell for. Pricing is not a science. For example, you would think that the larger home with more bedrooms and bathrooms would have a higher price/sq.ft. But if the home is poorly designed and constructed or not very functional, it could be a white elephant. I’ve seen tastefully designed homes with large yards sell for more in terms of $ per sq.ft. because the aesthetic factor of landscaping contributes to value. A neighborhood location and its desirability factor are often determined by its design features. For example, are the homes nicely designed and maintained. Is there high density, wide or narrow streets, gardens noise, traffic, highly rated schools, low crime, and or low neighborhood disputes?
I think prices will soar unbelievably if communities were mindful and designed homes with more green lush lawns and landscaping as well as beautifully designed spaces. It is homes designed like this that drive prices up for the smaller homes on large lots. I wish people would buy A-2 apartment zoned properties and erect newer, better condition, high-quality structures. Right now, the property tax on A-2 zoned buildings is relatively low too even if the property is assessed more than 1 Million.
Do you think Honolulu is due for stricter building codes? Should Honolulu have more fines or penalties for violations? Do you think we need monster homes to address housing needs or to encourage investment?
I believe our leaders and community need to think deeply what our actions today will bring us tomorrow.
What kind of solutions do you think would work to create harmony amongst neighbors, develop beautiful neighborhoods and improve Honolulu?