Attended a luncheon seminar put on by Thinktech Hawaii. The topic was on housing in Hawaii, and how to keep up with demand. Thinktech assembled a panel of speakers consisting of major condomomiium and home construction developers, HCDA and PRP (carpenter union) representatives, and economist Paul Brewbaker, who set the stage for the talk with a quick snapshot of where Hawaii's housing market is today, where it is going, and what needs to be done to meet demands.
According to Brewbaker, Hawaii's housing recovery is not around the corner. It is here. We are poised to experience housing demands that will very quickly outpace supply, leading to price increases that could end up in median home prices of a shocking $1,000,000 by 2018. Oahu houses are already priced at the same price they were at the peak of the last housing boom. On the cusp of Hawaii's last housing boom, Hawaii had about a year's worth of inventory on the market. Now, we have two months. Based upon current demand, the market could bear 20-30-40k in new housing. Even if all of the currently planned condominium developments come to fruition, we are looking at about 5k in additional housing. Without available housing our economy will suffer, because businesses cannot relocate or sustain themselves without available housing for talented employees.
Against this backdrop of statistics, four major developers, the HCDA, and PRP, offered their perspective on Hawaii housing and what must be done to meet the ever growing need of Hawaii's residents. The major consensus was that the only think holding up developers from building more homes was the difficulty of working in Hawaii. Construction costs, labor pools, state and county regulations, and litigation, are all potential roadblocks, sset against existing and expected demand. High-rise construction in Kakaako, within the urban core, encouraging walking communities, has long been a plan of the HCDA and it appears it may finally be coming to fruition.
In the meantime, however, Kakaako residents are not excited about planned new construction within their neighborhood. They met with lawmakers to express their concerns and see what can be done. This conflict will likely grow as more projects come online.