Using Disparate Impact to Restore Housing Affordability and Property Rights

Hawaii has the least affordable housing in the nation. Median home prices are close to seven times median family incomes, whereas in many states they are only twice family incomes. Hawaii’s high housing prices are not due to a shortage of land: more than 90 percent of the state is rural, and even Oahu, the most developed island, is more than 60 percent rural. Instead, they are a result of land-use restrictions that have created artificial housing shortages. This is due to Hawaii’s 1961 land-use law, and subsequent amendments, that placed most of the state off limits to development.

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