Rent prices spiked over the first few months this year, with Maui seeing a 41% surge in asking prices compared with the same time last year, according to a new report from University of Hawaiʻi Economic Research Organization.
The report released today details UHERO’s second quarter forecast for 2022.
When it comes to housing, researchers said that Hawaiʻi rents have “increased significantly” in recent months. While rent hikes in Honolulu are more restrained than in the US overall, asking rents for Maui have surged 41% year over year.
In March 2021, the median-priced Craigslist posting for a rental unit on Maui was $1,850, while in March 2022 it had risen to $2,600, according to rental postings on Craigslist, which may not be representative of the overall market, UHERO said.
Wailuku resident and US military veteran Robert Ota, 71, said he has been looking for a rental for a long time.
He lamented over the high prices throughout Maui, saying that demand is fierce due to outsiders who are moving in.
“The reason why landlords are renting so high is not for the local people,” he said Wednesday. “It’s for the guys that are moving in, and they’re moving in by the droves. They like the beaches and the good weather. They don’t care about the history and the culture of Hawai’i.”
“If nothing is done, it’s going to get worse and worse,” he added.
Ota, who is from Hawaiʻi, said locals need to be prioritized for rentals and that more affordable housing for seniors should be built.
Julie Thomas, who has lived on Maui for 16 years, said she’s never seen rent prices this high. She, too, is looking for a spot but said she feels “distraught.”
“It’s like I’m grieving,” she said. “Realtors are buying up properties for people on the Mainland and just tripling the rental prices. I can’t imagine how the locals feel. I’m not even from here and I’m upset.”
Thomas said she’s from New York, which had regulations on leases where landlords could only charge 10% to 15% after each lease signing.
In one Maui living situation, rent went up from $1,000 a month to $1,450 a month in a short period of time, Thomas said.
“Here, anything goes,” she said.
UHERO’s report said inflationary pressure is evident in the rental market, even though rent increases in Hawaiʻi have been more restrained than in the US overall. Rents nationally have bumped up 18% over the past year, while rents in Honolulu have risen 11%.
“Rental data is more limited on the Neighbor Islands, potentially masking unique trends,” the report added.