Experts address issue of affordable housing on Oahu

More affordable housing — it’s something most people agree with, but where do we start?

While there is a construction boom going on in Kakaako, most of the property isn’t affordable for the vast majority of us who live on Oahu.

So what steps can be taken to help? That’s what experts addressed at the Still Houseless in Honolulu conference Tuesday.

Gladys Quinto Marrone of the Building Industry of Hawaii said “people wait in line for hours until a developer releases new homes, and they’ll only release a few at a time. This is a symptom of the lack of supply that we have.”

“The building industry has shifted to the high end of the market,” said Robert Dietz of the National Association of Home Builders. “That’s due in part to rising regulatory costs, shortages of workers and shortages of lots. So we need to reduce regulatory costs to start building. We need to get more land in the pipeline, and we need to get more young people looking at the construction trade as a way to make a living.”

On the conference’s Facebook page, it stated that the median price of a home on Oahu reached $760,000 in June 2016.

Statistics from the Dept. of Business, Economic Development and Tourism reported that 25,847 new housing units are needed for Honolulu, 19,610 for Hawaii Island, 13,949 for Maui, and 5,287 for Kauai from 2015-2025.

Developers, as well as government officials, were at the panel discussion.

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