Rental prices are soaring in Hawaii as economy rebounds

On Maui, residents are seeing their rents soar.
Published: Jun. 1, 2022 at 6:16 PM HST|Updated: Jun. 1, 2022 at 7:12 PM HST
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WAILUKU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Rents are rising to record-breaking numbers across the country.

On Maui, residents also see their rent soar.

New owners of a Wailuku building said due to much needed renovations, rents are going up substantially.

“Where am I going to go?” said 77-year-old Robert Medeiros. “Everybody here is all social security.”

The Maui native has been living in a one-bedroom apartment off Lower Main Street for almost three years, paying nearly $975 a month.

“We came home and find letters pinned to our door,” Medeiros said.

A recent letter said his monthly rent will increase to $1,927 beginning next month.

“When I read the letter I said, ‘Oh my God, where am I going to go?’ Everybody here is looking for places,” Medeiros said.

“Nobody can find. Nobody.”

According to a recent report, median rental prices rose statewide from 2019 to 2022.

It reported:

  • Honolulu saw an 11% increase
  • Hilo saw a 15% jump
  • And Kahului, Wailuku and Lahaina saw nearly 16% hikes.

“Rent on Maui has been ridiculous,” said Kupaa Consulting owner Rhonda Alexander Monkres. “You see a lot of people who are struggling to either find rentals or who are being caught in a place where their rents are increasing unexpectedly.”

Two buildings at 1371 Lower Main Street in Wailuku include eight commercial spaces and 27 residential units.

The property manager said rents were artificially low for years because the previous owner didn’t have a mortgage to pay.

Monkres also said the new owners are must renovate to keep the units safe and are being effected by rising costs as well.

The letter to tenants provided contacts for rental assistance.

For Medeiros, he is not sure what is next. He will 78 years old this year. Despite having health issues, he is trying to find a job.

In the meantime, he is hoping to work something out with his new landlord.

“I have no choice,” Medeiros said.

“Sir, if you’re watching this, please think about the people who are living here.”

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