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Census: Kauai sees growth in population in 2015

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CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM

An Island Air flight passed Nawiliwili Harbor on way to Lihue airport on March 15. The U.S. Census Bureau data says Kauai saw a 1.5 percent increase in population between 2014 and 2015. The island grew from 70,762 residents to 71,735 residents last year.

LIHUE » New census numbers show that Kauai’s population is growing, and those familiar with the real estate market say the growth has led to a property shortage on the island.

The U.S. Census Bureau data says Kauai saw a 1.5 percent increase in population between 2014 and 2015. The island grew from 70,762 residents to 71,735 residents last year.

Kelly Libertore with Coldwell Banker Makai Properties said newcomers are having difficulties finding housing and many people are choosing to room with friends until they can find somewhere to live, The Garden Island reported.

“There is definitely a problem,” she said. “There is pressure. We’re hearing things like, “Can you help my friend find a rental?” They will take anything from the Westside from Lihue. You find a lot of people that share housing or they share with a friend. ‘You can stay with me.’ Eventually something will be open.”

Phil Fudge, a real estate agent with Kauai Landmark, said he currently has vacancies to offer up, but that there’s “turnover all the time.”

“It allows you to be selective when you have that many people looking,” he said.

Kauai’s population growth doesn’t come as a surprise, Fudge said, considering how many people are moving to the island and looking for rentals.

“People come here first as visitors,” he said. “They come here and think, ‘Oh my gosh. This might be a great place to stay or visit. Then they get a condo and decide they may come back retire here. Others figure they can work and do everything on the Internet.”

Having more people on the island benefits all residents, said Diane Zachary, Kauai Planning & Action Alliance President and CEO.

“These people offer new talent and come with skills,” Zachary said. “It adds richness to the population. They may bring benefits. We want to diversify the economy. It will also be good for business.”

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