Why Are HOA Fees So Much Higher in West Hawaii Than They Are on the Mainland?

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LUVA Real Estate recently asked a group of people who are considering a move to West Hawaii what were some of their biggest challenges they felt they faced in moving to the island. A majority stated, in doing online research of single family homes and condos that the HOA fees for most condo complexes, compared to the mainland, were very high. HOA fees will vary in price by location and size of the complex. You can find fees as low as $350 for a one bedroom and as high as over $1000 for a two/three bedroom unit. But yes, Hawaii’s HOA (Homeowner Association) fees DO seem very high.

You may be looking at condos for two reasons, they are less expensive than single family homes and  the predictability of having most of the maintenance expenses included in one monthly bill. Freedom is a benefit as you can travel and know that the property is being well taken care of. Less manual labor as you can enjoy using a pool without having to clean it and a enjoy a nice manicured lawn without having to mow it and you can share the cost of the water bill to keep it green.

Many times you also have the advantage of having an on site property manager who ensures your safety and makes sure if you lose your key, you have someone helping you into your home. Condos also get their roofs, lanai’s and public areas renovated and replaced which saves you, the owner, from spending time and energy going out and getting a bid, overseeing the contractors and dealing with any litigation that may arise if someone hurts themselves on property.

Expenses that are included in most condo HOA fees:

Insurance

Landscape Maintenance

Pools

Roofs

Substructure -Plumbing/electrical

Property Management

Garbage

Cable (sometimes)

Why do these items cost more in Hawaii?

In a nutshell, everything costs more in Hawaii compared to the mainland due to a variety of factors:

Proximity to the ocean which corrodes infrastructure of property quickly, including rebar, roofing, paint, and even plumbing.

Hawaii has the most expensive electricity prices in the United States. (In 2016, the average cost of electricity was $0.24 per kilowatt-hour, with the next highest state being Alaska at $0.19. The U.S. average was $0.10 per kilowatt-hour across all sectors.)  Even the water in the pools costs more than on the mainland as the water needs to be pumped up from underground wells which takes energy in the form of fuel that has to be shipped in from the mainland!

Natural disasters including hurricanes, tsunamis, flooding, lava flows, and earthquakes, affect property insurance  with some of the highest premiums in the nation.

Labor costs-because prices are elevated including food and housing, having a full time property manager on site, hiring landscape maintenance crews and having professional help in the form of roofers, electricians, plumbers, contractors, etc adds up, and since we are on an island, we can’t find people who are able to live far away who can drive in to fulfill the labor needs.

Many of the items on this list which are essential in keeping a condo complex running, are many of the same expenses you would expect to pay to own and maintain a single family home, as well. When you add up what it takes to have a pool, a nice yard, home maintenance, insurance, etc, you will sometimes find that the two are not that far apart.

We encourage you to contact one of our LUVA Real Estate agents to review the true cost of owning a home in Hawaii to ensure you have as much knowledge as possible before making your ultimate decision to purchase property here.  We, of course, want to help you fulfill your dream of owning a piece of paradise, but making a sound financial decision up front is the best course of action to ensure years of happy Hawaii homeownership!

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