Day 5 Week 1 – The Housing Conundrum?

Rest day – no running.

When I was visiting Hawaii a couple of months ago, it was clearly pointed out to me that Hawaii has a shortage of houses to meet the demand.  Apparently, Hawaii is not alone.

Why don’t they build more houses? I asked.  Seemed like a logical solution.  The answer I got back was “too difficult” because of geography and politics.

Geography – Hawaii is made up of islands.  The physical limitations of the shorelines restrict available land for housing development.   At the same time, because of its geographical location, the tropical climate attracts foreign investors and others (which includes folks from the U.S. mainland) and further tilts the imbalance toward the demand for houses.

Check, got that.  It is the next reason that threw me for a loop.

Politics – the local homeowners don’t want more development.  As explained in the National Public Radio report, more housing development is perceived to devalue existing homes, disrupt local lifestyle and culture, segregate the have’s from the have-not’s, etc.  In fact while at Oahu’s North Shore I saw signs along the roadside that say “keep the country country.”

People need homes.  It is a key tenet in any communities.  Due to its political ramifications, the California’s Senate Bill 827 that would allow high-rise apartments near public transit was defeated.  Nobody wants the government to meddle in their backyard.  Meanwhile homelessness is rapidly becoming a challenge in urban areas like Honolulu, Los Angeles, San Francisco, etc. without an amicable solution.

What is your thought on the have’s versus the have-not’s?


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