Affordable Housing for all

The median price of a Hawai’i home is $700,000, and we have the highest median gross rent in the nation. Homelessness increased by 30% between 2009-13.

Many factors lead to the housing crisis, but one is the rise of illegal vacation rentals and the website that advertise them, like Airbnb. They destroy local hotel jobs and the affordable rental market.

  • Property owners may find renting units short-term to tourists to be a lucrative alternative to renting long-term. In Honolulu, the average rent for a two-bedroom unit between 2012 and 2014 was $1,939 per month,4 but the average listing of a two-bedroom unit on Airbnb is $372 per night.5 At 80% occupancy, that would generate $9,055 per month – over four times as much revenue.
  • While it is unclear how many vacation rental units could have been used as housing instead, on Oahu, 79.6% of AirBnB listings are categorized as “entire place,” meaning an entire housing unit is being rented out to visitors.
  • A lack of enforcement of existing laws is a significant part of the problem. According to research conducted by Civil Beat in 2010, 749 investigations were launched that year in response to complaints about illegal short-term rentals units, but only 24 violations were found. Only 18 of the violating property owners were reprimanded, and only 2 of the violators were fined, with fines adding up to just $4,433.9

Read a PDF version of our report.