HIRONO’S SIGNATURE LEGISLATION WILL DRIVE UP COSTS OF HAWAII HOUSING
News Release from www.Lingle2012.com
HONOLULU – Mazie Hirono introduced a bill earlier this year in Congress that will drive up Hawaii housing prices and reduce the number of houses available for local families, according to Linda Lingle for Senate Campaign Manager Bob Lee.
Hirono’s VISIT USA Bill would provide U.S. residential visas for foreigners buying a residential property worth at least $500,000 in the United States. For Hawaii, historically already a target for “second home” investments, this would add more incentive to foreigners to buy houses priced for younger and middle-income families.
“I don’t know if Congresswoman Hirono knew this provision was in her bill or not, but she should have known,” Lee added.
With this new incentive for foreigners, Hawaii would see further sharp increases in housing prices, making it even more unaffordable for local families who are struggling to find a home in one of the most expensive housing markets in the nation.  This could be a repeat of the foreign residential home buying spree, which took place in Hawaii in the 1980s that put homeownership out of the reach of many local families.
“The VISIT USA Bill may mean more foreign visitors to Hawaii. However, I question Hirono’s judgment of including an additional incentive for foreign buyers to compete with and price our local middle-income families out of housing,” Lee said.
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 Homeownership Markets, First Quarter 2012, Center for Housing Policy (available at: http://www.nhc.org/chp/p2p/).