Measuring the Burden of Housing Regulation in Hawaii

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”

Facebook
Twitter

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

The University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization (UHERO) welcomes online comments to stories that are posted on our website or social media pages. Comments are intended to be a forum for open, respectful, and family-friendly discussion. UHERO reserves the right to remove anything posted on our website or social media pages that is deemed inappropriate. All comments are moderated and will therefore have a delayed post time.
Some guidelines (not an exhaustive list) we use when moderating/approving comments include:

  • Do not bully, intimidate, or harass any user.
  • Do not post content that is hateful, threatening or wildly off-topic; or do anything unlawful, malicious, discriminatory or defamatory.
  • Observe confidentiality laws at all times.
  • Do not post spam or advertisements.
  • Observe fair use, copyright and disclosure laws.
  • Do not use vulgar language or profanity.

UHERO may amend this policy from time to time.