UHERO BRIEFS ARE CIRCULATED TO STIMULATE DISCUSSION AND CRITICAL COMMENT. THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ARE THOSE OF THE INDIVIDUAL AUTHORS. WHILE BRIEFS BENEFIT FROM ACTIVE UHERO DISCUSSION, THEY HAVE NOT UNDERGONE FORMAL ACADEMIC PEER REVIEW.
By Rachel Inafuku, Justin Tyndall, and Carl Bonham
Home prices in Hawaii are among the highest in the nation: in 2021 the median single-family home resale price was about two and a half times the national median. One of the factors that may explain Hawaii’s high home prices are government regulations that limit the ability of the housing market to create the units necessary to meet demand.
While clearly important to the production of new housing, regulatory barriers are difficult to measure. To study the impact of regulation on housing markets across the country, researchers have often relied on the Wharton Residential Land Use Regulatory Index (Wharton Index). The methodology relies on surveying public officials to quantify the stringency of local regulation surrounding new home production. Unfortunately, the Wharton Index excludes the state’s housing markets, resulting in the elimination of Hawaii from many national studies on the burden of housing regulation. To fill this gap, UHERO administered the Wharton Index survey across Hawaii counties in 2021. This brief presents the first results from the survey findings.
Executive Director Carl Bonham explains in the first episode of our new video series “UHERO Focus”