Should We Build It?
COVID-19 decimated Hawaii's economy. Since people are fearful of traveling, tourism slowed down. Since tourism slowed down, there was a lack of spending and economic growth. Since there was a lack of spending, there was a shortfall in tax revenue.
As we made our way through 2020, it was apparent that construction and real estate were two essential industries. Despite high rates of unemployment, our housing market was firing on all cylinders. In certain neighborhoods, like Kapolei and Mililani Mauka, sellers are receiving over 10+, over-asking offers. Greg, Robin, and I are seeing this first hand since we are representing a buyer who wants to purchase a home in these neighborhoods.
With congress handing out stimulus checks, some people are barely making ends meet. What is a long term solution?
Rick Blangiardi is our new mayor. With that will come a new director of the Department of Planning of Permitting. For those who work in the construction industry, many will saw how tedious the permitting process can be. With change on the horizon and with a grim economic environment, I could see Mayor Blangiardi and our state legislators finding a way streamline and or push through projects. That is, maybe we will build our way out of our down economy.
Infrastructure fuels housing and housing can build the economy. Due to the pandemic, there is a new form of urbanism. When people were selling their homes and flocking to Kaka'ako, the reverse will probably happen now. Some people will probably want out of high-rise condos because of their concerns of COVID-19.
Companies like DR Horton (Ho'opili) and Castle & Cooke (Koa Ridge) cannot build homes fast enough. With employers allowing their employees to work from home, some buyers are no longer concerned about living outside the urban corridor. This notion holds true since certain neighborhoods are seeing a boom in detached, single-family home prices.
Housing, especially affordable housing, is a critical part of our local economy. 2021 could be the start of a new chapter to finally get it right.