Global Housing Crisis: Unaffordability a Major Factor in States Like Hawaii - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1412 Words
Date:  2023-05-22


In contemporary times, housing is a problem States, and Countries are struggling to solve globally. The primary factor leading to the housing crisis is the unaffordability. A report by BBC indicates that from 2010 to 2018, the average private rent rose by 40 percent for a one-bedroom house and 42 percent for a two-bedroom apartment and 46 percent for a three bedroomed house, globally (Aalbers, 50). States like Hawaii has not been left behind in this global housing crisis. The reason this crisis exists is the limited available properties for sale and rent. The cost of a unit is beyond the financial capability of many households, especially those in Oahu (Moore). Due to the market forces of demand and supply, the demand is significantly beyond supply leading to skyrocketing unit prices. This phenomenon has led to crowding and homelessness. Additionally, the high cost of living has led to a majority of the middle class migrating to other, more affordable states, leading to an erosion of the local culture. This paper will analyze the housing crisis in Hawaii, its social and economic impacts on the State, and how it can be solved.

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Reasons for the Housing Crisis in Hawaii

No one can contest the fact that Hawaii is experiencing an acute shortage of housing. There exist a severe shortage or lack of affordable housing. At the beginning of the housing crisis in Hawaii, every candidate who ran for a political office sought to solve the problem; however, several decades after, the problem is still a pressing one. Despite the government budgeting millions to upgrade the infrastructure, which aim to aid the construction of more house, the same is not being reflected on the ground since there exist too many government regulations and restrictions which bars the potential investors from attempting any construction project. Additionally, the permits required to initiate a construction project sometimes may take months to process. Furthermore, government land policy is strict. The policy requires that, only 5 percent of the open land statewide is zoned for development, leaving 95 percent of the land to agriculture and conservation (O'Regan). Hawaii does not have a large population to overwhelm the existing land; it is the limited land available for development. Thus, with 95 percent of the land left without any housing development and the existence of other strict government policies, regulations and restrictions, the housing crisis will be an issue in the future and will affect many locals and potential investors in the following ways.

Impacts of Housing Crisis in Hawaii

One of the most pronounced effects of unaffordable housing is poverty. Currently, a significant percentage of Hawaii residents are using half of their gross income on rent going beyond the recommended 30 percent (O'Regan). The households are therefore left with only half to cover all the other essentials like food, utility bills, and clothing. The leaves almost all of them with little to nothing to save. A majority of the residents can be termed as hand to mouth earners and are just an illness, accident, or a legal battle away from poverty.

The other effect of unaffordable housing is stability and education. It is common knowledge that housing instability resulting from constant movements can seriously jeopardize the children's academic performance leading to a long-lasting achievement gap. As the housing unaffordability rises, due to limited supply, a majority of the families are forced to move in search of better terms. Thus, when the children move during their elementary, their educational performance is affected negatively. A study of over 8,000 primarily low-income urban students in Tennessee found that for every movement before the second grade, the pupil's math and reading test scores dropped relative to their peers (Moorman). Moreover, The achievement gap could not be achieved over a considerable period.

The third impact is homelessness. As discussed, the housing crisis is a global issue, and its unaffordability leads to households spending high proportions of their incomes on housing. In some cases, individuals are forced to take drastic measures to cover other necessities forgoing houses. The net effect of this is severe health risks to the children and the old. Homeless children suffer developmental issues, emotional and behavioral difficulties, and other associated mental problems. A study done on homeless children in New York affirmed that one in every three homeless children suffered asthma between the years 1998 and 2002 (Moorman). Housing instability, including the skyrocketing prices in relation to the constant wage bill, overcrowding, and multiple moves, has severe implications for the child and the adult.

Unaffordable housing causes the labor force to move from one region to the next. The government, therefore, loses on income taxes that can be used for the development of sanitation and other government projects (O'Regan). Additionally, the high cost of housing resulting from shortages discourages investors from venturing in other businesses in the affected area leading to delayed growth, unemployment, and even loss of revenue. Housing is a crisis if not addressed, will harm the education, economic, health, and social lives of individuals. Besides affecting individuals, the crises will jeopardize the economy as a whole due to the movement of labor, reduced local investments leading to loss of revenue to the government. As such, the gross domestic product (GDP) will reduces, as well as per capita income. As such, fast and practical solutions should be advocated for soonest as possible.

How to Solve Housing Crisis Hawaii

Several policies can be adjusted to curb the current housing crisis-one of the policies is the land usage and zoning. Currently, only 5 percent of open land can be used for housing development in Hawaii (Schuetz). Conservation is critical in the current time, due to global warming and the ecosystem sustainability, at the same time, proper allocation and distribution of the vast land should be done to prevent a humanitarian crisis (Cherry and Lerman). It can be argued that the remaining area after housing and conservation is for agriculture to feed the people. But, feeding homeless people will not suffice since the majority of them will develop conditions, either psychological or physical, deterring them from enjoying the food surplus.

Secondly, both the State and the federal government can chip in by enhancing the low-income housing tax credit. Some progress has been attempted previously, but still, more need to be done if the State wants to rid the housing by 2030 (Schuetz). Thirdly, the government should reduce the tariffs and the construction regulations and subsidize the existing units' rents. Another factor that might greatly encourage investors is decreasing on the time required to process and acquire approvals. If these measures are put in place, more investors in the construction industries and other sectors will be encouraged to invest in Hawaii, leading to more units, and as the dictates of demand and supply, an increase in the supply of units will automatically bring the cost of housing down. As such, people's movement will reduce, and the local economy will reap big.


Housing is an issue that governments around the world are struggling with constantly. Houses have become extremely unaffordable owing to land use regulations, government policies on land, cost of land, and delayed approvals. As such, there is an acute shortage of housing units leading to high costs. According to studies, the majority of middle- and low-income earners are spending about half of their income on rental and mortgage expenses. This hurts the tenant consumers, some of whom are forced to take drastic measures like migrating and living in the streets. These affects the children and the vulnerable. The government should adjust some of the stringent measures to enable its citizens to have affordable housing to end the crisis by 2030

Works Cited

Aalbers, Manuel B. "The great moderation, the great excess and the global housing crisis." International Journal of Housing Policy 15.1 (2015): 43-60.

Cherry, Robert, and Robert Lerman. How the Government Can Solve the Housing Crisis.

Hobbes, Michael, and SALT LAKE CITY. "Why America Can't Solve Homelessness." Huffington Post (2019).

Moorman, Jay. Affordable, Sustainable, Essential Dwellings: A Hybrid Single-Family Home Solution to Hawai'i's Housing Crisis. Diss. University of Hawai'i at Manoa, 2019.

Moore, Colin D. "Hawaii: Priced Out of Paradise." California Journal of Politics and Policy 11.1 (2019).

O'Regan, Katherine M. "America's affordable housing crisis: Challenges and solutions." Katherine M. O'Regan, Professor of Public Policy and Planning, NYU's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School, Faculty Director, NYU Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, Before the Committee on Finance, United States Senate, Tuesday (2017).

Schuetz, Jenny. "How Can Government Make Housing More Affordable?" Brookings, 15 Oct. 2019, Accessed 17 Apr. 2020.

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Global Housing Crisis: Unaffordability a Major Factor in States Like Hawaii - Essay Sample. (2023, May 22). Retrieved from

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