Are you serious about housing solutions?

Apply to our delegation by July 1 for an intensive study of the world’s best housing systems!

 

Hawaii’s housing shortage is more serious than ever.  Record high sales prices and record low inventory has made housing more inaccessible than ever before.  Even though Hawaii was the state hardest hit by the pandemic, and even though housing demand from vacation rentals and overseas investors crashed during the pandemic, all four counties of Hawaii have achieved record high sales prices every month in 2021.  Because local people are unable to afford housing, they are moving elsewhere.  Hawaii’s population has now declined for three straight years, at the third fastest rate in the nation.

 

The same trends are happening nationwide.  The national Case-Shiller home price index recorded an annual increase of 13.3 percent in March.  This year, California recorded its first population decline in modern history.  Lawmakers around the country have proposed solutions from upzoning single family neighborhoods to requiring below-market units in new housing developments, but none have successfully reversed these trends.

 

But that’s not true everywhere.  At least four major cities around the world have solved aspects of the housing shortage that Hawaii, California, and other jurisdictions face.  Let’s see how each of them do it.

SINGAPORE

In Singapore, over 80 percent of the population lives in inexpensive, high density public housing condos they’ve purchased, which are well maintained and convenient to public transportation.  Every citizen takes for granted that the government will build a low cost condo for them, and every citizen is required to save for housing.

HONG KONG

Hong Kong is the world’s most expensive housing market.  But today, public housing is available to all eligible applicants with about a 5 year waitlist, and rents average only 8 percent of tenant incomes.  Hong Kong has maximized its highly limited land by building at the highest density levels of any city in the world and has “seamlessly integrated” transportation, work, and housing.

VIENNA

Since 1920, Vienna has been building large scale public rental housing projects, which today house over 60 percent of the population.  Architects are chosen through competition over amenities, quality of life, and beauty, rather than simply cost.  Tenants in both public and private housing enjoy rent control that ensures their housing costs remain stable.

HOUSTON

Unlike the previous three cities, where the public sector builds most of the housing, laissez-faire Houston gives great freedom to developers.  Because Houston has no zoning, landowners can essentially build anything, anywhere, anytime.  Unconstrained by regulation, developers have built a metro area that is now larger than the state of Massachusetts, and a single family home averages just $290,000.

Our delegation will examine each of these four cities to understand how they created housing systems that meet the needs of their residents.  We will conduct 2-3 meetings with housing sector professionals that will help participants broaden their perspectives on what does and doesn’t work in housing.

 

There will be approximately 2-3 scheduled delegation events per month from August through November, 2021.  Due to the different time zones of each city, we will attempt to schedule events at the optimal time for maximum participation.  These events will be panels and presentations by housing experts from the four jurisdictions and will include question and answer.  All events will take place via Zoom or other online platforms.

 

How to Apply

  • Joining our delegation will be a competitive process.  We are seeking people from every facet of the housing sector, including government agencies and lawmakers, developers, labor union representatives, architects, and more.

  • We will admit applicants from Hawaii, the United States, and around the world.

  • Applicants must submit their contact information, resume, and a 500 word statement on why they would like to participate in this delegation.  They will also be required to certify that they intend to attend all scheduled delegation events.

  • The deadline to apply is July 15, 2021.  Applicants will be notified of their acceptance by late July.


Please contact Lynn Robinson-Onderko at 808-586-8420 or l.robinson-onderko@capitol.hawaii.gov with questions.