LIHU‘E — The county’s Homebuyer Program is looking to add more inventory with a purchase of property in Kapa‘a. With the Molo Street buy, the county will effectively be adding to the dwindling affordable housing market.
Housing Agency Director Adam Roversi said the county already has about 30 homes across the island with varying levels of application requirements based on what kind of funding was used to purchase the property.
Because this Kapa‘a property, which will not cost more than $600,000, is being purchased with Community Development Block Grant funds, the home will be available to those who make 80% of the area median income and below, which is about $57,100 for a single person and $81,550 for a family of four.
“Obviously we are looking for homes that we can afford,” Roversi told the Kaua‘i County Council earlier this month. “We don’t have the funds to buy million dollar plus homes, which is more and more a reality on Kaua‘i.”
In August, it was reported the county’s median home price reached $1.3 million in July, a new high. This has put a strain on where the county is seeking housing.
“Broadly speaking, we have shied away from any North Shore purchases just because prices have become unobtainable, even with federal funding,” Roveri said.
The program is dependent on acquiring existing homes in the private market, which, at some point could become infeasible.
“Then, our homebuyer program would then essentially fall back on to homes that we’re able to build ourselves, and realize and control,” Roversi said.
Roversi said the team typically targets homes built after 1978, sometimes ones that could use a little fixing-up.
“We that that’s broadly a benefit from the community to use some of these federal funds to fix-up homes, get them back in shape and put them back into an affordable housing pool.”
The last Homebuyer Program sale was a 1,722 square foot three-bedroom, three-bathroom home Lihu‘e on Hardy Street.
The county’s Homebuyer Program list is limited to first-time homebuyer Kaua‘i residents who have complete a homebuyer’s education course. The program is open to U.S. citizens who are 18 years or older. Essentially, the program gets prospective buyers ready for homeownership.
The homebuyer list, which was created in 2008, has around 930 people, Roversi said, but it is unclear how many are active. Of this list, 18 people submitted letters of interest on the Hardy Street home.
This homebuyer list will be utilized for the county’s Lima Ola project, which is building 38 single-family homes.
The council authorized the acquisition by the Housing Agency at its last meeting on Sept. 1