THE 2016 HAWAII STATE LEGISLATURE IS IN full swing and many priorities are being considered. Its top priority is housing and affordability, which aligns with the priorities of many Hawaii residents. BIA-Hawaii is working tirelessly on your behalf to ensure this issue is being addressed head on by our elected officials and that sensible solutions are being sought.
IN 2015, THE MEDIAN PRICE OF A SINGLE FAMILY HOME exceeded $700,000, continuing a trend that reflects restrictive housing policies and administrative guidelines. We are at a critical point. What needs to be done today to ensure that our children or grandchildren are able to live in Hawaii if they choose?
We need to build more homes at all price points NOW. The state reports that 66,000 new housing units are needed over the next 10 years, with 25,000 of those on Oahu alone just to keep up with current demand. Last year, only 804 permits were issued for new single-family homes on Oahu. At this rate, home prices will continue to shatter records and make living in Hawaii unaffordable for future generations.
So what are we asking the Legislature to do to help us build more houses at price points we all can afford?
One approach BIA-Hawaii is taking to help control costs is to oppose mandates that increase home prices. We are asking the Legislature to oppose a move to make fire sprinklers mandatory in new one- and two-family home construction. We are not against fire sprinklers per se, but rather against making them mandatory. Sprinklers will add $18,000 to more than $42,000 to the price of a new home.
Today’s homes are built safer, with fire-retardant materials and hard-wired smoke alarms. According to the National Fire Protection Association, a sprinkler system only increases the percentage of saving a life, compared to a home with a working smoke alarm, by 0.19 percent. If you want a fire sprinkler system in your new home, BIA-Hawaii member companies will be happy to install one for you. But we also want to make sure the option remains for the vast majority of buyers who would rather pay for a $20 smoke alarm instead of a $20,000+ fire sprinkler system.
If you agree, please join BIA in our effort to keep homes affordable by keeping sprinklers optional.
At this price, shouldn’t it be your choice to decide if it’s right for you? Visit us at:
biahawaii.org/?page=AdvocacyRegistration. Sign up for our Voter Voice project to make sure your senator and representative know how you feel.