Hawaii's Economy More Vulnerable from Oahu's Short Term Rental Ban
Hawaii is not in a recession, but a new economic report is forecasting a lot of headwinds for the state's already weak economy.
"It basically means no growth at all for 2019. 2020 not much better than that," said Carl Bonham, executive director of the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization (UHERO). "Most of that is because of hard data on the lack of job growth and income growth statewide that puts us at the bottom of the country."
In its quarterly economic update released today, UHERO also notes fewer international tourists are visiting the state, particularly from China, meaning less spending from a key market.
Also weighing down growth... the recent crackdown on Airbnb and short term vacation rentals and its impact on Oahu's tourism industry.
A law banning advertising of illegal rentals of less than 30 days on Oahu has led to the removal of nearly 9% of the island's inventory, some 3,500 listings since Aug 1, with more delistings likely.
Whether fewer accommodation options translates into less tourism dollars remains to be seen.
Civil Beat estimated a potential loss of $30 million a month as a result of the ordinance, but UH economists say their estimates aren't as dramatic.
"Our visitor spending forecast doesn't fall as much as the forecast for visitor arrivals and visitor days," Bonham says. "You could have people here statewide paying more money to be here. We don't get big changes in spending. There is a lot of uncertainty."
The one bright spot for the economy is construction spending.
And it seems to be what is keeping Hawaii out of recession territory.