Construction industry booms in effort to satisfy housing marketUPDATED 6:00 PM HST Feb 20, 2014Video Transcript
Hawaii's building boom has created thousands of new jobs ... but now there's a new concern! Good evening, I'm Paula Akana. A new report shows our construction industry has left the doldrums behind, but when it comes to housing, there's just not enough to go round. KITV4's Andrew Pereira has tonight's top story at 5... Andrew? Paula, it's simple supply and demand, not enough new homes means higher prices. It could be the newest pastime in Kakaako... counting cranes. Hawaii's construction industry is booming! REP. DELLA AU BELATTI: "YOU KNOW WHAT COMES TO MY MIND IS THAT HONOLULU'S LANDSCAPE IS CHANGING AND WE HAVE TO ACCEPT THAT." The transformation of Kakaako's skyline is just one result of the building bonanza. The other... a lot more people back to work since the recession first hit in late 2007. EUGENE TIAN: "WE USED TO HAVE ABOUT 40,000 CONSTRUCTION WORKERS, AND BY THE END OF 2012 WE HAD 30,000 CONSTRUCTION WORKERS, WE LOST 10,000. AND LAST YEAR WE GAINED ABOUT 2,500 JOBS BACK." A new state report predicts the construction surge will continue. 12.4 percent growth in 2014. 8.3 percent the following year. JOHN WHITE: "IT MEANS THAT OUR MEMBERS ARE GOING BACK TO WORK AFTER ONE OF THE WORST RECESSIONS IN THE HISTORY OF THE U.S. BUT, IT ALSO MEANS THAT WE'RE BEGINNING TO BUILD HOMES THAT FAMILIES DESPERATELY NEED." Desperate may be an understatement... when looking at the state's housing needs. 5,500 new units per year are required to keep up with demand. But only 3,400 units have been built each year since 2009 That shortage contributes to high housing prices in Hawaii. That's why Pacific Resource Partnership supports transforming farmland into developments like Hoopili and Koa Ridge. PRP is highlighting the housing shortage in a new 60 second ad. PRP AD: "MIDDLE CLASS FAMILIES NEED HOMES THEY CAN AFFORD. THAT'S WHY BUILDING HERE MEANS KEEPING OUR OPEN SPACES OUT THERE." JOHN WHITE: "WHAT WE WANTED TO DO IS TO SHOW HOW THIS TYPE OF REDEVELOPMEN T CAN ACTUALLY CREATE GREAT COMMUNITIES WHERE YOU CAN LIVE AND WORK AND PLAY." But all of this can also create backlash. A handful of bills seeks to slow down the project approval process by the Hawaii Community Development Authority. REP. DELLA AU BELATTI: "I THINK IT'S CONCERNS ABOUT SEWER CAPACITY, SCHOOL AVAILABILITY, TRAFFIC CONCERNS, OPEN SPACE CONCERNS. YOU KNOW, ALL THE TYPICAL CONCERNS THAT RESIDENTS HAVE ABOUT THE LIVING CONDITIONS OF A COMMUNITY." PRP estimates Oahu alone will need 104,500 new homes by the year 2050.