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:

  • There are an estimated 33,000 homes being used as vacation rentals in the state.
  • 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

Read a PDF version of our report.