Rich outside investors are offering to pay in full, in cash to purchase real estate in Hawaii.
It’s something that’s made home-buying more difficult for the middle and working class.
Now some of these transactions have caught the attention of federal investigators, who believe they may be masking illegal activity. Tonight we’re getting answers on what realtors are being asked to look out for.
With home prices ever climbing in Hawaii and a median price on Oahu of $750,000, it’s not hard to find home worth a million bucks or more
But it’s luxury properties that federal investigators are keeping their eye on.
Honolulu is one of seven cities where the federal Financial Crimes Enforcement Network is ordering title insurance companies to identify buyers with big budgets.
Officials believe multimillion-dollar homes are being bought in Hawaii for the sole purpose of hiding illegal profits.
The agency says drug traffickers, corrupt officials, and money launderers seek to exploit real estate transactions, so it’s asking banks, title insurers, and realtors to be wary.
The big red flag they’re warning about is buyers who are not identified as a person but rather as a shell company or an entity offering to pay millions of dollars in cash to buy a property.
While the agency didn’t say if it had found any actual cases of criminal actions happening here recently, we do know luxury property sales have gone up.
According to a recent report, in the first half of 2017, sales increased 18 percent compared to the same time last year, with more than 200 properties sold for more than $1.5 million.