State to change re-sale rules for Kakaako workforce units to keep them affordable

Published: Jul. 7, 2016 at 10:30 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 7, 2016 at 10:58 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Workforce housing projects like 801 South Street were built to increase the inventory of affordable housing in Honolulu's urban core.

But a year later, units are being flipped for up to $100,000 more than their original price.

Now, the Kakaako development authority is looking to partner with a nonprofit housing trust that would have the right to buy back affordable units built in future development projects and resell them to working-class buyers.

"We are proposing that there be continuous affordability over the long-term by having a buy-back provision for all the units," said John Whalen, chairman of the Hawaii Community Development Authority.

Whalen said the state would partner with a nonprofit, which would buy back affordable units put on the market. That nonprofit, in turn, would be responsible for re-selling the unit to future working class-buyers.

Whalen said these types of partnerships with housing trusts have worked in several states.

The HCDA said it hopes to hold public hearings on new rules governing workplace housing by September.

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