Monday, February 27, 2006

Neighbor Island Watch

Lawmakers on Maui are calling for 80% of future housing to be made designated as "affordable housing". Maui News has the scoop:

Four months ago, Tavares proposed that 80 percent of all housing projects be earmarked as affordable to families in a range of 50 percent to 160 percent of median income ($31,180 to $99,760 for a family of four). The county’s policy for affordable housing now is for households earning between 80 percent and 120 percent ($49,880 to $74,820) of median income.

That policy leaves out the very low income and the “gap group” of working families – those who make more than 120 percent of median but who still are not able to buy a house on the open market, where the median price of a single family house in 2005 ranged from $613,500 to $679,000.

Plans are being draw for a "New Age socialist republic in Hamakua" on the Big Island. Hawaii Reporter breaks it down here.

The Rising Cost of Living in Hawaii

The cost of living on Oahu was up 3.8% last year, the Advertiser reports.

O'ahu's energy prices rose 16 percent year over year, largely because of higher oil prices. A rapid rise in land prices helped push housing costs — meaning rent and mortgage expenses — up 5.6 percent last year.
My rent went up 12% last year, (and I'm still getting a great deal compared with other units in the area). My salary, however, only went up 2%. Among my friends and colleagues, these figures are average.

Beginning of the end?'s been a rough year for sellers on Oahu. The Advertiser reports that many sellers are surprised at how fast the market has slowed:

Alicia and Jon Sturnick of 'Ewa Beach dropped the asking price on their Ocean Pointe house by $15,000 and are starting to get the uneasy feeling that they missed the peak of O'ahu's latest housing boom.

"If we had put it on the market earlier, we would have definitely sold it already," Alicia Sturnick said. "I knew the market would slow down but I didn't know it would happen so soon."

Last month, they lowered their asking price from $590,000 to $575,000, which positioned it well below January's median sale price of $615,000 for a single-family home.

In my Oahu neighborhood, I'm noticing For Sale signs sticking around longer and longer. There's one house on the corner that has sold twice in the 3 years I've lived here - both times in under a week - that has now been on the market since Christmas.