State lawmakers look for solutions for local residents in hot Hawaii housing market

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Bidding wars and low inventory continue to make it a hard playing field for local buyers.

The shortage of homes are also raising a big concern for local families living in the islands and those wanting to move back from the mainland.

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“It’s like we can’t even buy a home next to our parents or anything like that and it’s crazy for the younger generations that are trying to make a living,” said Kelci Quinabo, a former Pearl City resident living in California. “We can’t even go back to where we came from or even give back to our own local community.”

On top of record prices, the Honolulu Board of Realtors also saw single-family homes sell faster than ever before in May with some homes listed for just eight days. Now, buyers are turning to the leeward coast for deals.

“If you want $500- to $600,000 homes, you’re looking at smaller, maybe 800 square feet, older, and built in the 1950s or 1970s,” said Shannon Heaven, president of the Honolulu Board of Realtors.

State lawmakers are trying to find solutions for kama’aina. A proposal to cut certain taxes for local home buyers by 50% while raising taxes for out-of-state buyers on second home purchases is moving through the legislature.

“Conveyance tax is one of those important things, because if we increase the amount that these houses are being taxed for second homes, it will discourage some foreign investments as well,” said Rep. Cedric Gates. “Then on top of that, it will give the locals better advantage.”

HB58 awaits Gov. David Ige’s signature.

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