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Rent prices continue to rise sharply across the state

Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources

It’s no secret that housing prices in Hawaiʻi have soared in recent years. But rental costs have also been rising sharply since just before the pandemic began.

The median price of renting a place to live in Hawaiʻi has climbed nearly 13% between 2019 and 2022, according to Stessa, an online property management platform that analyzed federal government data.

Combining houses and apartments for rent, the statewide median monthly tab is now a little more than $2,500.

Of course, that hasn’t played out uniformly. The Kahului metro area of Maui saw an increase of nearly 16%. In Hilo, it was 15%.

For urban Honolulu, the median rent is now $2,700 — up 11%.

For a local perspective on these numbers, PBN spoke with Cheryl Kunimoto, president of Marie Hansen Properties, a Honolulu-based property management company.

She says that while rents began to rise in 2020, the biggest spike occurred in late 2021 amid a “very tight market.”

Rents continue to go up, but the pace has mellowed.

One thing she observed in the market was increased interest — and consequently, rising prices — in West Oʻahu, driven in part by the Red Hill fuel storage situation, which seems to have prompted some people to move further away from the problem.

Demand alone isn’t the only factor contributing to higher rents.

According to Kunimoto, between inflation, fuel prices and supply chain issues, every expense a property owner faces has gone up. That includes utility prices and materials for maintenance and renovations.

A. Kam Napier is the editor-in-chief of Pacific Business News.
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