Affordable Housing in Hawaii: Types, Programs and Requirements

Affordable housing is a great way for eligible and qualified applicants to buy at below-market prices. The purchase prices are based on revenue and revenue limits, which vary depending on the project. Income limits are a percentage of the Area Median Income (AMI) established by the U. S.

Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). For example, in the Kapiolani residence, the buyer's total household income cannot exceed 120% of the AMI. Subsidized apartments are also available through HUD, which helps apartment owners offer reduced rents to low-income tenants. To apply, contact or visit the management office of each apartment building you are interested in.

An inventory of affordable housing projects in Hawaii County can be found on an interactive map and list. These facilities include affordable housing projects owned by private, non-profit, or government entities, developed with funding or support from federal, state, or county resources. Affordable housing in Honolulu has been a hot topic for some time now, as the island remains plagued by housing shortages and the high cost of living in Hawaii. Many are aware of the new condo towers emerging on the Kakaako and Ala Moana skylines, but few know that state law requires developers to offer a certain number of units for sale under Oahu's affordable housing guidelines.

Finding affordable housing for sale on Oahu is difficult, as is finding affordable apartments in Hawaii to rent. With only a few hundred affordable units for sale and sometimes thousands of applicants, supply never meets demand. The Ala Moana neighborhood is experiencing the highest influx of new condo projects and can offer up to 5 residential towers, a condo-tel, and rentals. Each project will offer affordable housing in some way; but each developer will decide if the condos are for sale or for rent.

It's important to note that not all Honolulu affordable housing programs are created equal and there may be different income limits on different projects. The repurchase program requires landlords to live in the newly purchased affordable housing unit as their primary residence for 10 years or for the duration of the program, if different. The City's Affordable Housing Requirement requires affordable housing in residential developments for sale of 10 or more units, with some exceptions. The Affordable Housing Program allows eligible and qualified applicants to buy below market price, meaning you can own and live in a new condo in trendy neighborhoods like Kakaako or Ala Moana even if you're not a millionaire. Affordable housing requirements in Honolulu are ultimately determined by the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation's (HHFDC) review of information provided in purchaser applications. Public Housing and Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8) are also available through your local Public Housing Agency (PHA). Chapter 32 of the ROH provides relaxed development standards and financial incentives for Affordable Rental Housing (ARH) projects, as long as a minimum of 80% of housing units are rented to those who earn no more than 100% of the Honolulu Area Median Income (AMI) for a minimum of 15 years. The DPP Multifamily Rental Housing Program will issue tax-exempt private activity bonds (PAB) to facilitate an increase and preservation of the supply of affordable rental housing, maintain a quality living environment, leverage private sector funds to the fullest extent possible, and promote the city's affordable housing goals. Be sure to consult your real estate agent for a full perspective on what you can and can't do as an affordable homeowner, and how that may affect your future real estate future.

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