Odds Stacked Against Millennials for Home Ownership in Hawai‘i

June 22, 2019, 2:00 PM HST (Updated July 2, 2019, 12:43 PM)

In the last month, monthly mortgage payments increased twice as fast as incomes. Median home prices rose 6% nationwide from 2018 to 2019.

It will take the average millennial on the median income a total of 14 years to save for a 20% down payment on a median-priced home meaning the younger generation is unlikely to afford a home till their 40s, according to the 2019 Home Affordability Report by Unison.

Student debt is the primary reason (83%) cited for holding off on buying a home.

As of 2019, millennials, who are now the largest generation, surpassing the baby boomers, are unlikely to become homeowners in Hawai‘i any time soon, according to the report.


Hawai‘i’s housing affordability and homeownership rates among millennials are abnormally low, scoring a zero nationwide.

In Honolulu, it would require the average millennial 40 years to save for a 20% down payment. From 2013 to 2018, monthly payments for urban Honolulu homeowners increased from $2,235 to $3,514.

The median household income in urban Honolulu is $71,236. The required income to meet that payment is $140,555, making it one of the least affordable cities in the nation.


In 2018, a down payment for the average home in Honolulu was $143.513.

The median home price in Honolulu is $717,564. Home values increased by 48% in Honolulu from 2013 to 2018.

For these reasons, an increasing number of prospective homebuyers are looking into home co-investments, in which an investor assists in the downpayment in exchange for a share in the change of home value when the home sells.

Meanwhile, in Singapore, 90% of residents own their homes because supply is in balance with demand. In order for a housing model like this to be successful in Hawai‘i, the stigma around public housing needs to be eliminated.

Sierra Hägg
Sierra is a recent graduate of William S. Richardson School of Law. She grew up in Puna and attended Christian Liberty Academy. She went on to get a major in psychology and minor in political science from the University of California, Davis.


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