State’s hot housing market leaves many elderly tenants out in the cold
  • Thursday, April 25, 2019
  • 81°
Hawaii News

State’s hot housing market leaves many elderly tenants out in the cold


    “I don’t want to go back to any elderly care homes or foster homes. They were terrible. When I go there, I’m only allowed to keep $50 a month. That’s not enough freedom.”

    Thelma Suzuki

    The 90-year-old, pictured above in January, was sleeping on a Kuhio Beach park bench until IHS outreach workers convinced her to seek shelter. She has lived in the Iwilei shelter for a year and a half.


    At the Waikiki Community Center, senior assistance coordinator Suzie Garrett, right, helped Frances Suda search Craigslist for a suitable apartment in October. “I didn’t know that the rents would go up so much,” Suda said. “I came to the Waikiki Community Center out of desperation.” The center helped her find another affordable rental, but it was $200 more than she had been paying.


    Longtime Kapahulu-Diamond Head-St. Louis Neighborhood Board member Barbra Armentrout is one of many seniors challenged by the frenetic price rise in Oahu’s housing market. She is in the middle of packing up to leave the apartment she has rented for the past seven years.

Barbra Armentrout, 68, cries when she looks at the growing stack of cardboard boxes in her garage.


Elderly population is rising at the state’s largest homeless shelter


89 homeless people 62 years and over

6 percent of shelter total


115 homeless people 62 years and over

8 percent of shelter total


131 homeless people 62 years and over

9 percent of shelter total

2016 (year to date)

207 homeless people 62 years and over

12.3 percent of shelter total

source: Institute for Human Services

The disabled senior has been distraught since her landlord’s children decided to sell the St. Louis Heights home where she has rented a downstairs apartment for seven years. It took more than 25 calls and 12 on-site visits before she found a new rental that would pass the requirements for her Section 8 housing subsidy.

“One owner wanted $1,400 for a 168-square-foot room. I looked at another unit that didn’t have a sink in the kitchen; they said I could wash dishes in the bathroom. I really thought I was going to be homeless,” said Armentrout, who will have to resign from the Diamond Head-Kapahulu-St. Louis Neighborhood Board because she couldn’t find an affordable rental in her district, where home prices and rents have soared.

Armentrout is not alone.

The frenetic price rise in Honolulu’s residential real estate market is pushing limited- and low-income seniors out of their homes, and real estate analyst Stephany Sofos said rents have increased 10 to 20 percent in the last three years while home sales have increased 10 to 25 percent. Rising values and gentrification have led owners to charge higher rents and list more properties. More leasehold owners are taking their assets back.

With fewer affordable options available, couples and families are competing with seniors for smaller, lower-priced units.

“In the 40 years that I’ve been in the real estate business, this is the craziest market that I’ve been in and that includes the Japanese bubble,” Sofos said. “Prices for home sales and rentals are climbing ridiculous amounts. Time on the market is getting shorter and shorter.”

Jump in caseloads

Hawaii seniors who own property have benefited from the robust market, but seniors squeezed out of their rentals are taxing social service agencies — some of which have seen caseloads nearly quadruple.

Caroline Hayashi, executive director of the Waikiki Community Center, said senior case management clients have increased more than 270 percent over the past several years — rising to more than 700 last year from 187 in 2013. She estimates 50 percent of the center’s case management calls involve housing, and others concerning finances or food insecurities involve circumstances that put housing at risk.

Armentrout, who suffers from a degenerative spine disease, said forced relocation adds to aging’s difficulties. Seniors like her who lack access to a computer or have health, mobility or transportation challenges end up behind other rental applicants. She also was overwhelmed by packing and the expenses of moving, including paying application fees that sometimes ran $25 a unit.

“I was supposed to leave July 1, but I’m still packing. The landlady is taking a daily fee out of my security deposit. I’m worried that I’ll be going to the next place without much money,” Armentrout said.

Waikiki Community Center is expanding case services, but Hayashi said additional workers haven’t been able to keep up with senior demand.

“We’ve grown from one part-time case worker to two. I’ve put another 32-hour-week case worker in the budget, but we will have to raise more funds to make that happen,” Hayashi said. “Demand for services is so great that our client load will grow with each case worker that we hire.”

It’s the same story at the Institute for Human Services, where the sheltered and unsheltered population of homeless clients age 62 and older has risen steadily, said Kimo Carvalho, IHS community relations director.

In 2013, 89 elderly homeless clients lived at the shelter, comprising 6 percent of its population, Carvalho said. So far in 2016, the number has grown to 207 elderly clients who made up 12.3 percent of the shelter’s population. Unsheltered elderly homeless populations are growing too, especially in places like Waikiki, where Carvalho said they have become the largest client group. Worse yet, lack of affordable housing means many middle-aged clients are on their way to becoming similar statistics.

“Without housing and support, many middle-aged clients will be homeless in their senior years when they have greater health concerns and typically fewer income sources,” Carvalho said.

Kent Miyasaki, housing information officer for the Hawaii Housing Finance & Development Corp., said the state has stepped up development of senior rental units, but there still are not enough to satisfy the projected affordable rental housing demand for elderly households. Miyasaki estimates that people over 60 will account for more than a quarter of the state’s population by 2030.

To keep up with this demand, Miyasaki said Honolulu alone would have to deliver 470 units annually for senior renters. Only 324 affordable senior rental units were delivered in Honolulu in 2014 and 76 in 2016, while 102 are scheduled for delivery by 2017, followed by another 387 in 2018.

Local developer Peter Savio said the elderly homeless population is proof that the government can’t “build its way out of the homeless crisis.”

Savio said affordable rentals are only stopgaps for the working class, who will encounter problems in retirement when their fixed income can’t keep up with rising rents and costs of living.

“Anyone who rents can’t afford to live in Hawaii when they retire unless they’ve really managed their money. Social Security may go up, but rents will go up more,” Savio said. “If you want stability, you have to own a piece of the pie. Rental housing only makes landlords richer and people poorer. The programs are all structured to build rental units, but they should require that the tenants get some of the value.”

Frances Suda, 85, regretted remaining a renter after getting a 45-day notice from her landlord last year.

“I preferred to rent so I could keep money in investments. But I didn’t know that the rents would go up so much,” Suda said. “I came to the Waikiki Community Center out of desperation.”

Suda said the center helped her locate another affordable rental — but it was $200 more than she had been paying. She has managed the expense, but knows many struggling seniors. “Some are sharing rooms to cut costs. I’ve met others who rely on tax refunds to get by,” she said.

Out on the streets

The most desperate cases are resulting in homelessness.

Thelma Suzuki, 90, was sleeping on a Kuhio Beach park bench until IHS outreach workers convinced her to seek shelter. Limited housing choices mean she will likely spend the rest of her life there.

Carvalho said older homeless seniors like Suzuki have fewer options because they are too fragile to live alone and lack support systems. Some housing programs offer limited stays, others require unpopular cost-sharing options.

Some seniors prefer the streets to adult foster and residential care homes that require them to relinquish most of their monthly income, Carvalho said. Those needing pain management sometimes choose to remain homeless and use illicit drugs, which are cheaper than doctor’s visits and prescriptions, he said.

“I don’t want to go back to any elderly care homes or foster homes. They were terrible,” said Suzuki, who has lived at the Iwilei shelter for a year and a half. “When I go there, I’m only allowed to keep $50 a month. That’s not enough freedom.”

Suzuki, who used to work as a seamstress at a shop near the old Waikiki Theater, remembers easier days when she lived with her family in Manoa Valley. Her living situation became precarious after her husband died and his children sold the home.

Homeless beach boy Clayton Gohier, 75, also remembers better days, when Waikiki was more affordable.

“On Sundays, Duke (Kahanamoku) used to buy us big cheeseburgers from the Outrigger Canoe Club,” Gohier said. “Waikiki is a very special place in my heart. I love people and I love teaching surfing and outrigger canoeing. If I hadn’t have gotten injured, I’d still be there.”

Gohier said he became homeless after cancer and a leg infection kept him from working seven-day weeks.

“If you miss one rental payment in Waikiki, it’s hard to catch up,” he said.

Gohier and his wife, Verina, became one of IHS’ success stories in January when they moved into the Hale Mauliola homeless shelter on Sand Island. More than six months later the couple are still in temporary quarters; however, IHS said it has a lead on a permanent apartment for the couple.

“I’m hoping for a brand-new start,” Gohier said. “When you are younger, you can fly to the moon and back. Getting older isn’t easy. If you don’t have a place to stay, it’s not comfortable when the sun goes down.”

Comments (96)

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines.

Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.

Leave a Reply

  • Build several more 801 South St type developments and maybe can put a dent in the problem. If people live in town where they can work and shop within walking distance or short driving distance, it will reduce congestion since people will spend less time driving and clogging the streets.

    Sorry, Honolulu has got to become a concrete jungle in order to save the other parts of Hawaii from the same.

    • None of the fools name the cause: Overpopulation as the main reason which destroys our lives through dam’ traffic, dam overcrowding , dam housing prices . Immigration is at fault and the very kupunas who often have over 20 grandchildren.

      • Well, yes, over population is probably at the heart of the matter. But are you really advocating preventing new people from moving here or being like China and have only 1 child?

        • Lets make it simple, only 2 successful pregnancies unless the first one has more than one child. I really don’t like it as a Law but more of responsibility to Mother Earth and it humans inhabitants.

        • Silly to construct the case of triplets, of course intelligent 2 kids laws could provide for such cases. Without the law of 2 kids per person the world will become a hellhole like Pakistan, Bangladesh, China, and the likes.

        • I advocate stop prostituting our island to foreign ownership. The very countries that it is illegal for foreigners (US Citizens) owning private real estate is buying the islands. That there in lies one of the biggest problems.

      • You’re exactly correct. On the neighbor islands we used to see all local folks. Now there’re choke new haole faces and plenty cars at the harbor with out-of-state license plates. Can’t restrict immigration from the mainland but can limits be placed on foreign investment of property?

        • Thats a smart thing. Limit foreign investors. They are the ones forcing prices up. Charge them 2 – 3 times property tax.

        • If Hawaii’s independence from U.S. rule was restored, we could control migration from the mainland, COFA nations and others countries. There is no other way to prevent being crowded out and Hawaiian culture and lifestyle being competely lost.

        • What’s interesting about Numilalocal and DannoBoy’s point of view is that it mirrors the only talking point that unites Trump supporters, Nationalism. The old argument that “they” keep coming here and changing things. I’m not going to dispute the validity of your points of view. However “we” either the USA or an independent Hawaii, can’t exist in isolation (or singularly) in a modern world either now, 2016 or in the future. Take a look around your home, it’s a far cry from an American or Hawaii only lifestyle you live. How would you feed yourself or put clothes on your back. There’s only so many coconuts and pili grass to go around. The strongest part of our economy is our trade. Let “them’ make it for us cheap, and “they’ will buy what they can’t produce from here. As far as immigration goes, take it from an American businessman, no immigrants, no workforce period! Oh and I know, not illegals, but they don’t want to be illegals either.

        • IRT @ Dannoboy ” Hawaiian culture and lifestyle being completely lost.” Best line from spoken word of Bruddah IZ on a live album he did…” You can not stop progress, you can only hope to incorporate Hawaiianness into progress” Are you living by those words Dannoboy? Yes you and you alone can be the change you want to see. Aloha

        • >> “How would you feed yourself or put clothes on your back. There’s only so many coconuts and pili grass to go around.”

          Have you ever been to independent Atearoa (New Zealand), Dave?

          An independent Hawaii will be just fine.

  • If you want to be able to afford to retire in Honolulu, you have to buy, not rent. Pay the mortgage off by the time you retire so that you only have property taxes and the maintenance fee, and you have a chance live on your retirement income.

    • Average locals need to buy as soon as they can and never sell their home on Oahu. Rich outsiders and investors are buying up the limited real estate and driving home prices out the reach. They are also charging whatever the market will bear which is unaffordable for average locals and squeezing them out of living here. Make sure your home stays in the family by passing it to your children who can’t afford on their own. Once you give up your home, you will lose your hedge against housing inflation and be at the mercy of greedy landlords or out on the street homeless. Don’t ever sell and “temporarily” move to the mainland because the cost of housing will be too high to come back.

      • Easier said than done. Problem is acquiring wealth in this day and age. Not easy from scratch and unless you have received some inheritance, may be near impossible for the average person.

        • Acquiring wealth has to be instilled in your children from age 3 on. Some occupations are not capable of home ownership. The bar is too high in Hawaii, you have to move to Texas where you can wait tables and buy a house. The key here is not everyone deserves home ownership as a birth rite.

        • No such thing as affordable housing unless taxpayers are footing the difference. And not going to get any better because property tax, water/sewer, insurance costs always going up. Not top mention the cost of repairs now hit the ceiling because of contractors and handymen taking advantage.

        • Hoopili will have a lot of affordable housing. Why else do you think that the whole island seems to be moving out to the west side.

    • Seniors who can’t afford to live in Hawaii need to move to the mainland where prices are much cheaper, or even to a foreign country. Prices are much cheaper in low-wage countries like the Philippines, Panama, Belize or Mexico. Only the rich can retire comfortably in Hawaii.

      • So you’re saying people born and raised here and only know Hawaii as their home should be forced to move to the mainland or (laughing) a foreign country???

      • Civil Beat did a bit about a “born and raised Hawaii” moved to Panama and lives like a king. One of the highlights I remember is not only his beautiful home for a fraction of Hawaii prices, but that he buys a bag of oranges a week for about 50 cents.

  • Very very sad that the families of the elderly don’t step up and help them. No matter what the situation is you take care of family. 90 years old living on the street.

    • Sad and Shameful…. 90 years old, living on the street and the step children are where??? And husband didn’t make provisions for her? He could have set up his will giving her life interest in the house and the home reverts to his children after her death. Shame. Shame. Shame. I hope they are reading this article and step up and go get her from the shelter.
      Barbra Armentrout, you too have a sad situation. but the upside is that you found a place to land. May I suggest, STRONGLY, that you get rid of some of your belongings. Sell it or donate it. Many people can benefit from your donations. Not to mention, you’re losing money because you’re still packing.

      • Yes, shame on the husband but I wonder how horrible a stepmother she was that the kids sold the house from under her. Or was it just greed and selfishness?
        Hope there is a follow up to this story. So sad that she was living on the street.

  • if these people bought a house when they were younger, they could have bought a house for less than $30000 and would be sitting on a gold mine now. if you don’t buy a house by the time you’re 40, you’re really setting yourself up for failure.

  • The comments I’m reading make perfect sense. Buy a home rather than renting. Sounds easy, Yeah ? Now, try going to the bank to borrow say 200 grand for a studio ? [ This is on the very low end of the scale ] Your income is 27 grand a year. You need to come up with 10 grand for a down payment and will have a note of 850 a month for 30 years. [4.75 interest]. That’s 850 a month out of a 1600 take home pay. Still doable yeah ? When you ad the maintenance fees it gets more tricky but still doable. Now, I don’t know about the rest of you, but saving up 10 thousand for the down payment is probably the most daunting task. Now ,believe it or not some people do not have family or friends that are in a position to assist financially. Why doesn’t the State and County have a elderly home down payment assistance program for folks over 50 ? They can boondoggle a rail system that will end up well above 10 billion dollars, yet don’t even take care of our Kupuna ? Think about how many elderly people could be assisted with housing for only 1 of those 10 Billion ? I know, wishful thinking.

    • Where was your savings plan that your parents taught you to start when they brought you to the bank for the first time and you sat down at the desk with that nice lady at fHB. You gave her your $25.00 in Christmas money and she came back with a savings account book. Your parents told you to put half of your money in the bank and you can spend some on yourself! What happened Shotzy??? Folks…did you think these words of wisdom didn’t apply to you? Did the democrats and liberals teach you that you could just lean back and watch your flat screen tv’s and wait for uncle Sam to rescue you? We are now witnessing the fallout from bad behavior over decades of peoples lives and I don’t want to bail you out. If you have a legitimate health catastrophe, there are resources for you but they won’t include being on the neighborhood board complaining about other people in expensive St. Louis Heights!

      • You’re not playing along right. See, it always has to be someone else’s fault. In my 20’s, my wife and I brown bagged our lunches to work. How many of these whiners can say the same? We forfeited vacations while watching others take all. We put in “more” than the required efforts at work. Didn’t run for the timeclock at quitting time. 30 years later, and you can count the number of sick days we’ve used on both hands while others used ’em as fast as they “earned” them. Result= We were kept on as “reliable” employees while others were laid off. See how that works? Own 3 houses now. One here. Go to Dave and Busters on the weekend and look around at the “caliber” of people running around with their kids there. Says it all.

        • Agree, and a lot of folks feel that everyone else owes these people a crackerbox. You live where you can afford. 1500 a month might get you a lot more house in another state or country.

      • marcus – my folks made me do this, too! And throughout the year, no matter how I earned the money half had to get socked away.
        They also instilled HOME LUNCH when I started to work and never live above my means or try to keep up with someone (vanity). It all helped because at 30, I was able to buy my own studio. Folks did help by buying me a new washer/dryer and paid for new flooring, painted the unit while I was at work.
        So grateful to their strong parenting (and corporal punishment!).

    • Shotzy: Disagree…the comments that you’re reading doesn’t make perfect sense because in a nutshell, read what you’ve just said. That is the perfect scenario and reality that faces the young and seniors. I’m sure that thousands of locals dream is to purchase a home in Hawaii but are unable to qualify. These comments that mentioned to buy instead of renting are people that don’t know or understand the financial situation of all that want to purchase but simply can’t qualify especially when the median price of a home is $700,000 plus. It’s easy to say buy a home rather than renting but when all the elements about purchasing a home are against the buyer, buying becomes impossible. One must face the reality about purchasing a home…not that simple as buying a car or renting.

  • It is obvious, that many local senior citizens, don’t have enough money, to survive living in Hawaii anymore.

    The home & condo sales, keep on climbing. The rental fees, keep on climbing. Their retirement financial options, have not kept up.

    It is time for Rent Control in Hawaii. The infamous NYC has it. It was the only way, to have lower income people, live & work in NYC.

    This option, has to come on the political table.

    • Agree, however we do not have smart or effective leadership in this state. Just look around everything is falling apart and needs repair but NOTHING gets done.

      • You confuse extreme left views, for helping senior citizens. Even the current USA economy, is not pure capitalism.

        Social Security (a little socialism & capitalism), Medicare & Medicaid (a little socialism), federal oversight over banks (a little socialism & capitalism), etc…

        You financial philosophical beliefs, does not address senior citizens being unable to pay their rent.

  • Try searching Supreme Court case “Kelo vs New London decision”.

    “Takings clause” thing.

    My condo ground lease expires in four years when I will be age 78. I expect to become “housless”. I’ll be OK.

    • I believe she was in a care/foster home based on the comments she made:
      “I don’t want to go back to any elderly care homes or foster homes. They were terrible,” said Suzuki, who has lived at the Iwilei shelter for a year and a half. “When I go there, I’m only allowed to keep $50 a month. That’s not enough freedom.”

      However, I agree. They could have just waited it out and hubby could have made better provisions for her. Let this be a lesson to everyone who lets their husband or wife make all of the financial decisions. It has to be a partnership where you each look out for eachother,

  • It is a problem and I think we should have our Congressional Delegation–if you can wake them up–and have them adjust the housing allowance for the military. And, yes, I am a combat retired veteran–but an E-1 getting $1,800 tax free for housing in addition to his regular pay??????? $15/hour isn’t going to make a difference against that. Military housing is available–let them use it–I certainly did.

    • Bingo.

      Hawaii’s 200,000 active duty with dependents take up an awful lot of bedrooms (and public school space, and add to rush hour traffic). To top it off, our tax dollars are used to supplement their income with outrageous housing allowances. Locals can’t compete with that, but their taxes support it.

      The heavy military presence in our islands is the #1 cause of our shortage in affordable rental housing. Leaders should consider limiting subsidized military housing to being on-base and not in our neighborhoods.

    • I would hope an E-1 would be living in the squad bay. But the new feel good military has so many E-1s and 2s with wife and three kids that even with their salary, they’re on food stamps!

      • Yeah, better to go back with the draft, eh? Then we won’t have to attract young men and women to join the military with better pay and benefits. Sounds good?

  • Is it a coincident that there is a survey about the record number of tourist coming to Hawaii and this article? The airbnb/etc. illegal vacation rental industry has clearly impacted our islands.

    • NO. Leaders of this state have Power own land/etc and want More Money so the problems are NOT getting fixed. It is ILLEGAL to rent for less than 30 days but happens 100’s of times a week in Hawaii and NOTHING is ever done. This does take away from supporting LOCALS. Greed has destroyed this state !

    • There are many diifferent contributors to Hawaii’s housing-shortage and you’re spot-on in recognizing illegal vacation rentals is one of them. Stopping the proliferation of illegal vacation rentals and Airbnb units could be an quick and easy fix if the City Council passed the DPP’s requested enforcement bill that makes advertising illegal vacation rentals enforceable. It’s estimated over 5000 units could be shut down as illegal hotel operations. Many of these units would become available as long-term rentals. It’s definitely worth trying!

      • Funny that once again you avoid the #1 cause of the shortage on affordable housing – the heavy U.S. military presence here (ovet 200,000 active duty and dependents, and their outrageous tax-free housing subsidies that locals pay for with our federal taxes.

        By the numbers, eliminating vacation rentals (which you orevoiusly claimed were a little over 2000 on Oahu, many of which would not qualify for long-term housing anyway) won’t do much. It may actually make it harder for some locals to keep their homes without some extra cash from AirBnB.

        • Yeah, better to go back with the draft, eh? Then we won’t have to attract young men and women to join the military with better pay and benefits. Sounds good?

  • It is a tough situation with no easy solution. But it comes down to more development or not. The number of new housing units just to meet demand from divorce is something I found amazing. Add to that new families and people moving to Hawaii, and is it any wonder why housing is in the crisis it is in? Solving this is a very complex problem with no easy solution.

  • Very sad state of affairs for our island. Wondering where the kids or family members are for these people and others like them. Don’t have much hope for this state since we are wasting BILLIONS on a useless train to a shopping mall. Oh boy

  • LOL!! Shame on Neighborhood Board member, Barbara Armentrout for utilizing the unused USPS boxes for packing of her household goods. Although it’s free to the public, it’s purpose is to be used for mailing and not for personal packing. Abuse of government property at its best. Geez, next time don’t take a picture of all those boxes. LOL!

    • Maybe she saved them when someone sent her something? From the looks of “…the growing stack of cardboard boxes in her garage.” it doesn’t appear as if she parts ways with very many things. It looks a little hoardish .

  • I don’t know if landlords get richer even in this market. If I was to rent a house I’d have to cover the mortgage and incidental costs associated with wear and tear. The purchase price of housing determines the rental rates and in a so-called free economy, shouldn’t the property owner be able to make a fair and reasonable profit on their investment? Renters cite greed on the part of landlords. But greed is shared by all: sellers, buyers and speculators who all want to profit from a thriving market.

    • As a general rule, I think landlords do get richer if for no other reason, property appreciation. But being a landlord has its own challenges and is not simply sitting back and collecting rent checks. Rents are probably lower than what they should be. I mean houses can now easily be valued at well over a million dollars and rents for them are under $5000? Doesn’t seem much of a return when you have to cover depreciation, insurance, etc with that.

  • People need to MOVE to WHERE housing is more affordable. I can’t afford Beverly Hills or living in Manhattan. Maybe Oahu is a lesser degree of that and that just needs to be acknowledged by many.

      • That’s just silly!! Research the density in NYC compared to Honolulu and consider we live on different subterranean material. We can not build subways.

        • compare the traffic flow through pearl City with available land and you will see that The numbers are the same. The surveys of studies of 30 years all say the same thing.

  • Seniors should be a priority over the homeless. Senior villages should be built all over this State to accommodate them. They don’t need or want anything fancy. Just a clean place to live, with their own bathroom, simple kitchen, access to public transportation and security! Use those tiny homes concepts. I don’t see why they cost 109K to build here and only 30 – 40m to build elsewhere but just give them a safe place with fresh air!

    • I keep explaining to you that you are not a kupuna. Why keep insisting that you belong to this group? You are just an old guy insistent on rail that will rape the land and hurt others with O&M of this rail.

  • Homelessness is definitely a problem and I blame that on rent control, or lack of it and the soaring cost of homes. Owners have gotten greedy and charge a horrendous amount and it doesn’t matter if you are looking for an affordable unit. Worse yet, the home or apartment owners are probably screaming the loudest to fix this homelessness problem. Not everyone can afford to buy, especially now.

  • When every thing is said and done, it’s the lack of planning and available aina. Left the islands in 1951 and never looked back. Before buying my 1,100 square feet 2 bedroom/bathroom condo in a 3 story structure with underground parking in a retirement community, owned 3 other homes on the mainland. The condo was purchased cash for $150,000 in 1992 and worth anyways over $350,000 now. Back in 1992 the monthly maintenance was $280.00, currently at $680. My investments are mostly muni/mutuals and short-term CD cash. Always drove middle/high-end autos.

  • A good percentage of section 8 are cheating the system. no one checks up on them .they hide money and pay extra to land lords . The people in charge do nothing about it . Which really hurts the people who need it

  • Does government have to provide more “senior rental units” now? Is there no end to people living off the taxpayers? A lot of these elderly made all the wrong choices when they were young – instead of looking forward to their future, they played on the beaches.

    Lots of people, even today, don’t think about securing their future life. The young ones living with their parents and living day to day without getting a good education and spending all their money on the latest expensive cars and trucks and electronics are going to end up the same way in the future.

    If government continues to spend more and more money providing for those who didn’t take responsibility for themselves, everyone will be taxed relentlessly and also end up in poverty.

  • whew – there are many reasons for this current economic phenomenon involving some kupuna, most of it shameful, and most of it filial. however, shades of personal values abound to the extent of what was learned, (or from the other view, what was taught) so the root causes cannot be attributed to only the children but also to the parents. i know that this may sound harsh but it cannot be denied in ALL cases. of course the exceptions will exist to refute my contention but by and large my premise is valid to the greater extent. the exceptions will have had been taught the the lessons of filial responsibility where there were parents to teach the values. if not, then the result will be obvious. another factor is the market of pure economics – where there is anyone who will pay the price, there will always be someone to sell at that price. prices will never go higher if NO ONE AGREES TO THE HIGHER ASKING PRICE. simple! now, guess where most of the buying power is coming from, causing the upward pressure! be honest, now.

  • When I was a young lad working in construction someone told me the building trade unions got the legislators to ban mobile homes and motor homes. Is this true? I’ve never seen these anywhere in Hawaii. Anybody ever consider using leftover shipping containers as compact homes that can be easily moved? Just hook up water, sewer, and electricity. Great for planting onto the new lands now being created on the Big Island. If a new flow occurs just move to another location. Cute little Hobbit houses are now popular.

  • As more properties fall into the Residential A classification, more landlords will increase rent and more renters will put downward pressure on the marketplace thereby squeezing out those with lower incomes. At the very least, the minimum level for Residential A classification should be increased — $1 million these days is simply too low.

Scroll Up