Your Guide to What, Where, Why, & Do You Qualify?

Affordable Housing in Honolulu the Honolulu real estate market is a hot, and often controversial topic in a state with short housing supply, and some of the highest home prices in the nation. Most are aware of the new residential condo towers popping up in the Kakaako and Ala Moana Skylines, however, most aren’t aware that developers are actually required by state law to offer a certain number of units for sale under Affordable Housing guidelines. With a few hundred affordable units offered for sale and sometimes thousands of applicants, the supply never meets the demand.  The Ala Moana neighborhood is seeing the greatest influx in new condo projects and may offer as many as 5 residential towers, a condotel, and rentals. Affordable Housing will be offered by each project in some capacity; but whether it’s for sale or for rent is to be determined.

Considering affordable housing? See the FAQ’s below to determine if you’re eligible.

What is HHFDC?

The Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation(HHFDC) operates as the overseeing agency of all affordable housing in Hawaii. The development and financing of the affordable housing units is operated by the agency as well.

What advantages does HHFDC's Affordable Housing provide?

  • Qualified and eligible applicants of the program are given an opportunity to purchase below market prices.
  • Opportunity to live and own in a new construction project in Metro Honolulu.

Are you eligible for Affordable Housing?

Eligibility for the program is ultimately determined by HHFDC’s review of the information provided on buyers’ applications. 

The most notable requirements for the program are as follows: 

  • Applicant must be 18 years or older
  • Must live in the unit 
  • US Citizen or permanent resident alien 
  • Resident of the State of Hawaii; currently resides in the State of Hawaii. State ID or Drivers License is typically requested as proof.
  • Applicant must not own a majority interest (more than 50%) anywhere. Yes, anywhere.
  • On top of being eligible for Affordable Housing, buyers must also qualify by showing they have gross income(s) that satisfy a mortgage lender’s guidelines to purchasing a home.

Are there income limits for Affordable Housing?

Yes. Buyers’ eligibility is determined by their household income being no greater than 140% of the area median income(AMI). Take a look at the chart below for the 2018 AMI; note your household size at the top of the chart. 


What is the buyback program?

Buyers wishing to purchase Affordable Housing unit must know that they are required to own and occupy their unit for 10 years. Should they look to sell or transfer ownership of the home prior to the 10 year buyback period, HHFDC is given first right of refusal to purchase the unit. Once the 10 years buyback period expires, the restriction no longer applies.

Is a deposit required?

Yes. Buyers are required to make a $500 good faith deposit upon signing a contract for a unit. A total deposit of 5% of the purchase price, less the $500 good faith deposit is due after 30 days. 

Shared Equity Program — What is it?

One of the caveats to the HHFDC allowing buyers to purchase at below market prices, is the Shared Appreciation. In turn when you sell your unit you will share some of the net appreciation back with the HHFDC to help fund future projects. The SAE is determined prior to closing and once determined, will never change. 

What’s the next Affordable Housing opportunity if I’m ready to buy?

Those looking to purchase the Metro Honolulu area should look to The Central Ala Moana, and Ohana Hale which could start sales as early as this year, or early 2019. It’s an exciting project and floorpans are more generous in size than most we’re used to seeing. Those looking at homeownership in West Oahu should look to the Hoopili project, centered between Ewa and Kapolei. Hoopili frequently offers affordable housing opportunities as new phases are released. Last not but not least, the highly anticipated Koa Ridge project in Central Oahu will also be offering Affordable Housing units.