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Trouble Ahead for a Housing Market in Paradise

Hawaii Public Radio reports that the state will need an additional 65,000 housing units by 2025, but that will require more public infrastructure. 

The report says that the most efficient way to do this is to increase density in areas linked by those services. 

Tim Houghton of the City and County of Honolulu’s Department and Environmental Services says it could take years to achieve this goal. 

“These kind of large programs, large wastewater projects, they do take time. What we need to know is ‘where is the development happening?” he said. 

Hawaii Public Radio says housing developments, at times, can’t get approved until increased sewer capacity is installed—with some projects taking a decade to complete. 

Home still need water even when new sewer capacity is installed. Additionally, 40% of the state’s housing need is on the island of Oahu, and the Board of Water Supply’s Barry Usagawa noted there is plenty of water to meet demand. 

“You’ve got one million people on this island, using half the water. So there are enough resources, but not quite in the Honolulu are where we are pumping close to the sustainable yield,” Usagawa said.

The past year has been a turbulent one for the Hawaiin housing market. A report by LendingTree in November said 22.3% of its residents are searching for homes outside the state. Nevada is the No. 1 choice for people wanting to leave Hawaii. 

A report by Clever found that borrowers in Hawaii paid the most in average mortgage fees at $6,967.89. Hawaii County has a median home price of $403,625 and annual wages of $43,810. Bristol County, Massachusetts, came in at No. 2 with a median sales price of $300,000 and median wages of $50,973. 

“Hawaii has high housing and living costs, which might be driving some residents to pack up and leave. Nevada’s bustling hospitality industry might be a draw for Hawaiian residents who currently work in the same field,” the study says. 

About Author: Mike Albanese

A graduate of the University of Alabama, Mike Albanese has worked for news publications since 2011 in Texas and Colorado. He has built a portfolio of more than 1,000 articles, covering city government, police and crime, business, sports, and is experienced in crafting engaging features and enterprise pieces. He spent time as the sports editor for the "Pilot Point Post-Signal," and has covered the DFW Metroplex for several years. He has also assisted with sports coverage and editing duties with the "Dallas Morning News" and "Denton Record-Chronicle" over the past several years.

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