Veteran Real Estate Brokers: Kauai’s Housing Endgame – One Way Out

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The average home price in Kauai has risen more than 40% over the past year. According to Locations Hawaii, the average selling price in May was about $ 2.4 million. When it comes to providing affordable housing to the local population, at least one seasoned real estate broker says it’s too late.

Jim Edmonds and his wife Harvest moved to Kauai in 1985. Then in 1990 he became a real estate broker and founded Emerald Isle Properties.

“Basically I’m telling you that an ordinary person who has lived here for several generations can no longer live here. They are being expelled from the island, ”he said.

Edmonds says a recent audit found the cheapest house on the north shore of Kauai was $ 1,230,000.

“He is old, in poor condition, he has no privacy. It sits on 7,000 square feet of land, which looks like a postage stamp. “

Edmonds said yesterday that there were only 45 homes on the island, worth less than $ 1.5 million.

“As a broker, I know that more people are working in this price range, but it is of lower and lower quality,” he said. “These are people who never dreamed of selling their house for a million five. So we actually see people who are selling their homes, who cannot afford to stay here because they sold their home, and they are looking around and they may not be buying anything. And they can’t even rent anything because the rent does the same. “

Edmonds says he focused his company’s focus on community housing about five years ago.

“It’s a very sad joke: five years ago, it took us about 20 minutes to realize that there was nothing we could do to help the locals because the prices had already left them in the dust.”

Since we spoke a week ago, Edmonds has said that 18 more homes have been sold in Kauai, worth $ 1.5 million.

“So, if you work for Foodland and make $ 12.50 an hour, you can’t even rent anything because of these multimillionaires and billionaires who are moving to the island. And they have no idea. They do not understand what they are doing, but they bring their retinue with them. “

Edmonds says 30 billionaires now live within a 20-minute radius of his Kilauea home. And the wealthy residents bring their doctors, lawyers, teachers, massage therapists, friends and relatives – although this is true, not all of them stay.

“They’re coming, wait a minute, this is an island! Where is the opera, where are all the theaters, we do not have any theaters except Waimea, and this is an hour and a half drive from here, ”he said. “After all, some of them sell and leave pretty quickly.”

“So when I say that 8,500 people left the island last year, I would say that probably 75% of them are locals who have been here for generations and have gone somewhere in search of work,” – said Edmonds. “It’s heartbreaking for us and we’re really trying our best to do something about it, but it’s such a long, slow process.”

Edmonds formed Permanently available accommodation, a non-profit organization dedicated to housing, utilities, food, transportation and other factors that affect the cost of living. They will build about 30 houses next year.

Three years ago, Kauai County identified a need for 5,000 affordable housing units over five years.

“So when you ask this question,“ What does it take? “I only see one thing that can solve this problem. If you know any of our super-rich new friends, our new neighbors, please tell them to reach out and help us. “

“They could solve this problem with lunch money,” he told Hawaii Public Radio. “If we had 30 billionaires here and they invested $ 30 million, $ 50 million each, we could solve this problem on this island.”

“We did research to do this so that people not only have a more comfortable life, but also have a life of pleasure rather than hard work. Most of the people on this island have three jobs, ”he said.

Jim Edmonds writes a monthly column for the Garden Island newspaper and hosts a program on KKCR radio. Find out more about the always-on life in Kauai on the website their site



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