Hawaii wants to block cash-rich, big-spending foreigners from scooping up land in the state.
Republican state Sen. Brenton Awa, who introduced the legislation, says he hopes it will address the state’s housing crisis.
“During the pandemic, right before I got into office here, we saw the home prices jump up $400,000 within a year, and that was because people outside were coming in,” Awa told ABC News outlet KHON-TV.
“When they’re coming in with cash and our salaries over here are less than those of the people who are ready to retire, we can’t compete.”
The bill would require “at the time of purchase” that a buyer “provide an affidavit signed under penalty of perjury attesting that the buyer is not a foreign principal” — someone who lives in a foreign country and is not a citizen or permanent U.S. resident, the outlet reported.
Hawaii residents have complained about the impact on housing accessibility of tourism, and luxury home and resort development — as well as the lack of affordable housing and rentals for residents.
The state’s housing costs are 2.5 times higher than the national average, according to the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization.
Exacerbating the problem were the August 2023 Maui wildfires that destroyed thousands of buildings — including some affordable housing units, ABC News has reported.
State Attorney General Anne Lopez, however, raised questions about the bill’s “constitutionality and legality,” the outlet reported.
Awa’s bill comes as state officials scramble to implement housing policy amid outrage and calls for action.
In January, Democrat Gov. Josh Green signed an emergency proclamation to work with federal and county agencies on measures to speed construction of tiny village communities that could offer shelter to homeless, the outlet noted.
Fran Beyer ✉
Fran Beyer is a writer with Newsmax and covers national politics.
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