Economists: Build more housing to tackle high cost of living

Updated: Mar. 8, 2017 at 1:05 PM HST
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Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) - Economists are telling state lawmakers why they believe Hawaii has such a high cost of living.

They said Wednesday a shortage of housing is driving up housing costs.

Economist Eugene Tiang says Hawaii has the second-highest consumer debt in the nation and most of the debt is from mortgages.

He says on Maui 44 percent of homes are sold to mainland residents and 49 percent are sold to local residents. About 7 percent go to foreign investors.

Tiang says on Kauai and the Big Island about 40 percent of homes are sold to mainland residents.

Economist Carl Bonham says the state should do everything it can to build more affordable housing. But he says Honolulu has the most burdensome regulations when it comes to building housing.

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