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Hawaii home prices, rent surge

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(The Center Square) – Twenty-eight percent of Hawaii residents spend more than 50% of their income on rent, and only 1-in-5 households can afford a median-priced home mortgage, according to a report released by the Economic Research Organization at the University of Hawaii.

The Hawaii Housing Factbook 2024 shows the median price for a home is $875,000, the same as 2022. Hawaii County has the lowest median single-family home price, at $447,000. The average cost for a single-family home in Maui and Honolulu counties is more than $1 million.

“In 2023, a household needed to earn 183% of the median household income in order to afford the median single-family home, where ‘afford’ means to spend less than 30% of income on mortgage payments,” the authors said in the report. “Only one in five households in Hawaii met this criteria, a significant decrease from our previous report. Over the past three years, the share of households who can afford the median single-family home has continuously declined, falling from 44% to 30% and now 20%.”

The average price of a condominium is up 3% to $600,000.

Fewer people are buying homes. Transactions in 2023 are half of what they were in 2021 and at the lowest levels in 25 years, according to the report.

Rental costs are also increasing. The average rent went from $1,868 in 2022 to $2,000 in 2023, the highest in the U.S. Fifty-six percent of renters spend more than 30% of their income, and 28% spend more than 50%, according to the report.

“Since the fires on Maui, the availability of rentals have plummeted and rents have surged higher,” the report said.

The Maui fires destroyed about 3,000 and exacerbated the state’s housing problems, according to the report’s authors.

“Efforts to address the disaster’s consequences have run up against familiar roadblocks including rigid regulatory barriers, slow permitting, and infrastructure bottlenecks,” the authors said. “High interest rates, high prices, and low supply have continued to make housing extremely unaffordable.”

Gov. Josh Green has issued six emergency proclamations regarding the affordable housing crisis, including his sixth in April, which expires June 18.

“However these efforts will take time to show progress, and data continues to paint a picture of a market experiencing an extreme affordability crisis,” the authors said.

The Maui disaster brought a renewed focus on short-term rentals. Six percent of the state’s housing inventory is short-term rentals, according to the report. Green threatened a moratorium on short-term rentals in Maui as fire victims looked for places to stay besides hotels.

The report shows that 32% of Maui property owners live in the continental U.S. or abroad. More than half of the residential properties in Lahaina and Koloa are owned by non-residents, according to the report.

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