Monthly Archives: January 2017

The Tiny House Movement Gains Ground With Hawai’i Homeowners

tiny homes
Tiny homes are built with space saving features like lofts and staircases that double as dresser drawers.

If you’ve tuned into HGTV recently, you’ve likely noticed that tiny houses are on the rise. Shows like, Tiny House Builders or Tiny House, Big Living are featuring 160 to 500 square feet homes. These Lilliputian homes are built with space saving features like pull down Murphy Beds and staircases with risers that double as dresser drawers. While not for everyone, homeowners who have embraced the trend say they enjoy the time and cost savings a home with a tiny footprint delivers.

“While not for everyone, homeowners who have embraced the trend say they enjoy the time and cost savings a home with a tiny footprint delivers.”

The tiny house movement is gaining ground in Hawaii, an area known for it’s limited land availability. The island’s high cost of land and restrictive building codes have proved to be an obstacle for many residential developers. But Brandon Hardin, owner of Tiny Pacific Houses of Honolulu, has brought a solution to prospective island homeowners.

The company’s philosophy is “Big Aloha. Tiny Living”, and their homes are giving residents a chance to buy residential property on an island known for it’s limited development space. The company offers quite a few tiny home models, as well as personalized customization. But most importantly, the homes can be classified as RV’s, allowing them a little leeway when it comes to the island’s building codes.

KHON2 News recently reached out to George Atta, Director of Honolulu’s Department of Planning and Permitting to talk about tiny houses. Atta stated that the Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed a new accessory dwelling unit bill (ADU) with the goal of fostering creative solutions, like tiny homes, to address Hawai’i’s housing shortage.

Hawaii rental property owners are also embracing the tiny house movement as it allows them to offer affordable rental homes to tourists with attractions like a 10 minute walk to the ocean. The popular rental site Airbnb is filled with tiny house listings in Hawai’i. Including the tiny house Kristie Wolf of Boisie, Idaho built for just $11,000.

Some islanders are using the tiny house trend as a way to combat the island’s growing homeless crisis. Businessman Duane Kurisu launched a public-private partnership to build a plantation-style affordable housing community near Ke‘ehi Lagoon. The 200 plus units will be owned by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources and leased to the city for $1 a year.

Median Sales Prices Up in Hawai’i

The median sales price in homes across Hawai’i were up year-over-year in 2016. Single-family homes were up nearly 5% and condominiums were up over 7%.

In terms of single-family homes, Maui had the largest spike in 2016 – a nearly 10% increase compared to 2015. In contrast, Hawai’i’s increase was just under 1%.

Across the state, condos were up as well. The biggest increases were in Hawai’i and Kaua’i with each growing by nearly 11%.

Single- Family Homes Median Sales Prices

County 2016 2015 %Change
Hawai‘i $331,400 $329,000 0.73%
Kaua‘i $625,500 $612,000 2.21%
Maui $636,750 $580,000 9.78%
O‘ahu $735,000 $700,000 5.00%
Total  $582,163 $555,250 4.85%

Condominium Median Sales Price

County 2016 2015 %Change
Hawai‘i $305,000 $275,000 10.91%
Kaua‘i $399,500 $360,000 10.97%
Maui $415,000 $410,000 1.22%
O‘ahu $390,000 $360,000 8.33%
Total  $377,375 $351,250 7.44%

It’s All About the Babies: Williamsburg REALTORS® Help The Area’s Smallest Citizens

Photo of donated supplies to the Williamsburg House of Mercy.

Williamsburg REALTORS® work with local families every day and understand how much baby supplies can impact a household budget. They are also aware of the fact that not all families have the means to keep up with the added expenses babies bring. Which is why when they heard that the Williamsburg House of Mercy, a prayer-centered ministry that has evolved into a strong community support system, was in need of baby products they were quick to step up.

Because one thing that babies can’t do without is a seemingly never-ending supply of diapers, they were one of biggest needs for the House of Mercy. Diapers are expensive and are very much a luxury item for families in need. Because of this, Williamsburg REALTORS® decided to focus their efforts on a diaper drive.

The Williamsburg Area Association of REALTORS® Community Outreach Committee spearheaded the drive. They put the call out to their REALTOR® members in the association newsletter and invited them to bring baby items into their offices or to affiliate member locations. Volunteers then picked these up, and delivered them to the House of Mercy, where the items distributed through their food pantry and clothing distribution center.

The outreach has been a success, with many REALTORS® also volunteering to work at the House of Mercy. Since the program started, the 450-plus Williamsburg Area REALTORS® have delivered hundreds of boxes of diapers throughout the area and because of the generosity of the community, REALTORS® were also able to fulfill other items the House of Mercy needed. These included adult diapers, feminine hygiene products, and gift cards for homeless clients to purchase necessary supplies.

Video: Next Generation Home Ownership

For as long as most of us can recall, the American Dream, the ability of every U.S. citizen to achieve success and prosperity through hard work and determination, has involved homeownership. But homeownership is more than just an individual goal, it benefits us as communities and, indeed, as a nation.

Test your knowledge about home ownership. Take The Quiz

The Next Generation of Homebuyers

The Next Generation

Millennials and gen-Xers are definitely the product of different times and life experiences.

However, when it comes to real estate, millennials are actually following in the footsteps of their generational predecessors.

A 2016 report by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) shows that not only are millennials the fastest-growing demographic in purchasing homes, but that they are also buying single family homes in the suburbs like the gen-Xers for the past 15 years.

“Some millennials may not want to admit it, but they are aging,” said Jessica Lautz, managing director of Survey Research and Communication for NAR’s research division. “A lot of them are in their 30s now and are either looking to start a family, or already have, and they have young children and they need a bigger home or want a specific school district.”

While 67% of millennial homebuyers still purchased their first home in 2015 – down only slightly from 68% in 2014 – that means that one-third of the millennial home-buying population is onto at least a second home.

And those homes tend to be older, suburban homes – a far cry from the concept of buying new construction or residing in trendy urban areas.

Affordability Matters

According to the 2016 survey, only 11% of millennials purchased a new home in the last year – a historical low. As for buying in the ‘burbs? It comes down to that wily veteran decision-maker that previous generations have leaned on heavily in these instances – cost efficiency.

“The suburbs are a little cheaper than the city. Millennials are buying the same type of home they likely grew up in and then tried to move away from when they were fresh out of college.”

“Affordability is the key,” Lautz said. “The suburbs are a little cheaper than the city. Millennials are buying the same type of home they likely grew up in and then tried to move away from when they were fresh out of college.”

Student debt is one of many hurdles younger homebuyers are seeking more affordable housing options, but data shows that it’s not the millennials who are feeling the pinch on the housing market as much as it is the gen-Xers.

Gen-Xers Are Staying Put

Gen-Xers were most likely to buy their first home during the housing boom, and therefore most likely to be hit during the housing crisis. This has led to gen-Xers having longer tenures in their first homes than the baby boomers before them.

Data research shows that home tenure has grown to about 10 years on average compared to arrange of six-to-seven years at the turn of the century.

Gen-Xers are more likely to be struggling financially than their millennial counterparts.

Additionally, Lautz said that 31% of people who purchased a home in the past 10 years said they would have liked to have sold their house sooner, but couldn’t because the house was still underwater.

Combined with the fact that they likely still have student loan debt, credit card debt and child care costs, gen-Xers are more likely to be struggling financially than their millennial counterparts.

The “20% Down” Myth

However, regardless of generation, the struggle to find a down payment for a home – whether it’s a first home or an upgrade, is often clouded by the misnomer that 20% of the cost of the home is needed to buy a house.

Not so.

“This is why it’s really important to talk to a REALTOR or other real estate expert,” Lautz said. “There is certainly a fear of reaching out among the younger generation. Instead, they’d rather start their real estate research online. That doesn’t surprise us. But if you talk to someone who is trained in this market, you can find there are programs that allow you to purchase a home with as little as five percent down.”

As we enter 2017, NAR is continuing to track trends in the market. More targeted data within specific demographics can help identify the needs of certain individuals to try to make buying a home – whether for the first time or the fifth time – a lot less anxious.

“There is a rise in single female homebuyers because the rate of marriage has dropped,” Lautz said. “We’re tracking veteran home buying and active military home buying. We never looked at them before but they are proving to be a significant share of the homebuying population. And we are starting to track LGBT home buying as well.

“All of these changing demographics are shifting the home buying process and changing what the home buyers are looking for as well.”

Watch the video on the next generation of homebuyers