Sep 14, 2010

Community Land Trusts in Honolulu?

I've just enrolled in a Community Land Trust distance learning course titled: "Preserving Affordable Homeownership". I'm very interested and cautiously optimistic that Land Trusts can be successfully implemented in Honolulu.

The course begins 9/23/10 and is avail in an online format. You can watch the presentation live or pre-recorded. Learn more at the CLTnetwork.org website

This is what motivates me:
Nationwide, Hawaii ranks #1 as the Most Expensive Jurisdiction, with the highest housing wage required to pay for a 2-bedroom unit at fair market rent (nlihc.org). Demographia ranks Honolulu as the 5th Most Severely Unaffordable Housing Market (the median house price is 8.2 times greater than the gross annual median household income)

As an Architect in Honolulu, HI, I recognize this struggle to make a living in my personal life. Professionally, it's also a challenge to keep up with all the new codes and regulatory barriers. It’s no wonder there’s a housing crisis.

We have updated Building Codes, Zoning Codes and most recently Energy Codes. All of these are constantly being upgraded to assure better safety and energy efficiency. But each of these measures increase housing and construction costs (ie. solar water heaters and insulation required for ALL new residential construction and soon fire sprinklers too).

So I’m here to learn something to turn back that tide and improve our housing affordability. “Affordability” is commonly defined as having total housing expenses (utilities incld) less than 30% of gross household income. Can you imagine what you could do (or how much surplus we’d have as a nation) if you could cut your housing expenses to that level and pocket the savings? Now that’s an economic stimulus.

I believe housing affordability is key to improving our economy and quality of life.