Category: News

March 23, 2018

According to this recent study, over half of Hawaii’s 23,000 vacation rentals are owned by out-of-state residents. On Kaua’i, 1 in 8 homes is a vacation rental. On Maui- where non-residents dominate the housing market- it’s 1 in 7. (It’s a staggering 1 in 3 in Lahaina.) Many people I know own property in Hawai’i, yet reside elsewhere. The majority of them were not born and raised in Hawai’i. Their homes- condos, houses and even mansions- sit empty a good chunk of the year. They largely are, bless their hearts, both immune to and ignorant of the plight faced by so many of us who are born and raised here and can hardly afford to purchase land and dwelling.

I would like to see tax reform that severely curbs out-of-state vacation rental operators as well as non-resident home owners who speculate on property in Hawai’i for the sole purpose of investment. Too many people are using Hawai’i as a piggy bank. I would also like to see protection against rising property taxes for local families- especially native Hawaiians- who have owned and lived in their dwellings for long periods of time and do not plan to sell, but rather will pass their property onto family members. I have seen Hawaiian families lose their homes because their surrounding neighborhoods have been turned into luxurious gated communities, jacking their tax burden to levels no retiree can afford. It is a sad sight to witness, indeed.

This game of flipping is pricing too many out of this market. The development companies- Howard Hughes Corp, A&B, Kamehameha Schools, and others- are being managed by Wall Street mentality players who worship balance sheets without regard for the future of these islands. They have no issue transforming Hawai’i into an elite haven. There is demand from Asia, Russia, America and other places. Russians are coming to Kaua’i with $15-$20 million cash and buying huge tracts of the North Shore. The new condos fronting Ala Moana are going for upwards of $30 million, and my own friends are cheering this on as they experience profit from such sales in one way or another.

We cannot grow endlessly without understanding- and acknowledging- the severe consequences of unchecked development and under-regulated real estate. We are fast becoming a haven for the kind of rich who don’t even care to reside here: Hawai’i a week a year, hit some restaurants, watch a sunset, shop some luxury stores and off to the next “exotic” destination.

At some point we, the people of Hawai’i, will face a decision: will we continue down the path of American values, in which land is a mere commodity, or will we heed the wisdom of the ancient Hawaiian ways, in which land is a sacred source of water, food and our special and unique way of life? Because we have all been born into this game, it will take a great education and movement of mass mind to cocreate a long term solution. But first, we must recognize and acknowledge the problem:

Hawai’i is for sale and you and I can’t afford her.

– Makana


3 thoughts on “Hawai’i is not a Piggy Bank!

  1. You are so right. Everything you wrote makes sense. I will encourage others to look at your website. Hawaii is precious and must be preserved.

  2. Makana last night I heard you perform on Vashon Island. I would have listened all night. You inspire me. Your voice lifts me up.
    I am 83 y/o. I taught physics for 40+ years at the University, community college and high school level. All 40 years I worked in the summer doing research at National Labs and universities. The last 8 years I only taught 14 year olds (my favorite). They have so much energy and are the most devoted learners. I also built telescopes with them from scratch and did many wilderness expeditions with them each year all over the West.
    Right now I spend as much time as I have energy in political activity. Our country is very sick. I also try to find some light on our position in the universe. I wish you would read the first entry in my BLOG. It represents my best attempt at making sense of the universe but I am still very confused.
    I felt so close to you last night. Good luck in all you do my Brother. Sincerely, Lawrence

  3. I write as a non-resident property owner who cherishes the family residence that my parents purchased over 30 years ago on the Big Island, not for profit or speculation, but for our sheer love and enjoyment of the Hawaiian Islands. We spend as much time as we can and have immersed ourselves in the local community, making many friends and supporting local businesses. We have never rented our property for profit despite many inquiries over the years. Our ‘home away from home’ is just that, and we have much respect for the Hawaiian culture and its people.
    Similar problems exist in my native southern California. Housing is now viewed more as a commodity, and many are more concerned with the market value of their property than its value as the hub of family life.
    I have pretty much abandoned hope of things improving in California, but I am hopeful that the wisdom of the ancient Hawaiian ways will prevail in Hawai’i before it’s too late.
    Aloha =8>D

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