In a 2019 study on housing demand in Hawaii, the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism determined that we need at least another 25,000 housing units over the next 10 years to meet demand, and as many as 47,000.
The Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corp. had SMS Research run the numbers, and after taking into account the existing shortage from previous years, it upped the urgency to 50,000 units over the next five years.
For a state that typically builds between 2,000 to 4,000 new units per year, 50,000 is a tall order. If we maintained the high end of that range, it would still take 12 to 13 years to reach 50,000 units.
That’s a long time to wait, and that’s assuming housing demand and general economic conditions don’t change, and the existing housing stock – much of which was built half a century ago – remains in functioning use.
This all sounds bad, and it is bad, but as out of reach as 50,000 new units in five years feels, it’s still an underestimation according to local economist Paul Brewbaker…