If You Build It...
Living in Honolulu is expensive. Due to Oahu's housing shortage, many people are struggling to purchase their first home. Per the Honolulu Board of REALTORS®, the median single family home price for October 2016 was $742,000. For condos, it was $396,000. Both were increases from the same time last year.
According to The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE), developers are planning to build 39,000 new residential units from Kalihi to Ala Moana. Recently, the DOE proposed levying a fee ("impact fee") of $9,374 on each new housing unit along the rail line between this area. Knowing the population will increase in these neighborhoods, the DOE projects a need for six new elementary schools and one and half middle and high schools. The proposed fee will be used to build these new schools for roughly 8,500 additional public school students.
The creation of affordable housing has remained a hot topic for years. One could argue that this fee would makes it more difficult for first time home buyers to enter the market. In addition, don't forget that interest rates are expected to increase in the near future.
At the same time, the creation of new schools is a great thing. With our teachers overworked and with our classrooms beyond crowded, it is also important that we have enough schools to accommodate the projected population increase in these areas.