Tag Archives: Housing affordability

In It Together: Building a Duplex So Two Families Can Live the Dream

Share
This entry is part of 7 in the series Pinterest

 

If you’ve made it this far, no doubt you’ve noticed that there’s a serious housing crunch in Hawaii. The challenge of finding a nice, reasonably priced home in a convenient location is so difficult to be downright impossible. It’s no wonder so many people have decided to build ADUs and multi-unit homes. Of course, with the space for homes getting tighter and the cost involved with building a new one, even families who can see an answer may have difficulty reaching it.

The Thought of Sharing

But what about teaming up with another family? One thing many young people and extended families are doing is buying a home together either in groups who plan on sharing the space and the proceeds if they eventually sell. This practical theory can also be applied to new constructions as well. Rather than paying for the entire construction yourself, you have the option of splitting the costs with others who also want a new home in the neighborhood you’ve chosen and with a duplex, you don’t even have to share your personal residence.

Two Private Residences, One Set of Costs

The beauty of a duplex is that there are so many savings to be made in a construction by building two homes for the effort of one. Using efficient construction techniques, you can share one foundation pour, one roof, and one last-mile set of connections to the water, power, gas, sewer, and cable. That’s already thousands of dollars saved compared to building two separate houses. While a duplex construction may be more expensive than a single family home, together both families will save money by going in together.

Maintaining Your Privacy in a Duplex

One of the major concerns with duplex and, indeed, any shared living situation is that there won’t be enough privacy. Let us reassure you that your duplex can be as private as you want it to be. You can have a shared yard if you like that or put a privacy fence right down the middle. You can share a central garage or have them separate with a hedge down the middle of your driveways. The central wall will be insulated to protect you from sharing unwanted sounds and you can even select a design where the front doors don’t leave in the same direction of your lot is oddly shaped.  Of course, you can also go the other way and share as much as possible if you really enjoy the family you’re building with.

Who to Build With

Deciding to build a duplex with another family is the easy part but the key to residential bliss is finding someone who you’ll really enjoy splitting the bill and the lot with. One way to do it is to build with a close sibling or friend who is at the same point in their life, living as neighbors and raising your kids together, possibly even in an openly shared backyard. This is a great way to never be lonely and ensure that your children will have other kids about their age nearby without even having to cross the street for play dates.

Another way to go is to buy with your parents. Many Hawaiian parents are trying to help their children get into the housing market and building a duplex creates what one might consider the ultimate granny flat. This ensures that your parents will be amply repaid in a lovely new home for helping you financially, you can easily help them keep the place up as they get older, and you will most likely inherit the other half of the property in due time.

Finally, if you would rather not live with family or build a double-family with a close friend, you still have one very good option. Find another family either locally or online who is ready to buy or build and wants to live with just as much privacy as you do. In fact, you can even draw up a private contract between the two of you guaranteeing a mutual respect of privacy and ensuring that even if you become friends over the course of the construction project, your separate families maintain the right and ability to remain separate on opposite sides of the duplex.

Building a duplex is an incredibly astute financial decision whether you’re building with friends, family or a friendly stranger. But, of course, it’s also not your only option for efficiently using a single residential lot. For more information about building a custom duplex, designing an ADU, or embarking on a big DIY renovation project, contact us today!

Share

Why Are ADUs So Important in Hawaii?

Share
This entry is part 9 of 13 in the series Accessory Dwelling Unit

Housing affordability has long been an issue on Oahu. The challenge remains, according to the 2017 Housing Affordability Table compiled by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. According to the table, urban Honolulu is the 54th largest metro area in the country but has the most expensive single-family homes.

Honolulu Leads Top 100 Cities

In fact, only 19.6 percent of all households can afford the housing costs associated with the median selling price of $707,100. And, just 9.0 percent of renter households could afford to purchase a home at the median selling price. That is the lowest percentage of any of America’s top 100 metropolitan markets. Only greater Los Angeles and California’s Bay Area come close. Just 12.4 percent of Los Angeles renters would be able to afford the median selling price in that market. In the Bay Area, including San Francisco and Oakland, 13.6 percent of renters have the income to purchase a home at the median selling price.

Recession’s Impact

Following the recession of 2008, new construction dropped precipitously in Hawaii. One year later, only 6,000 housing units (including condos and single-family units) were sold in Honolulu County. Since then, sales have rebounded, but they are still nowhere near the boom years of 2003-2005.

Certainly, more work remains to be done. Today’s $700,000+ median selling price of a single-family residence is more than double the median selling price recorded for 2000.

Many people who cannot afford such prices will still need housing. In a report entitled “Measuring Housing Demand in Hawaii 2015-2025,” it is estimated that Hawaii will need another 64,700 to 66,000 housing units between 2015 and 2025. At the same time, the report states, “Wages and incomes have not been growing as fast as housing prices, making it harder to afford[amazon_textlink asin=’1544278330′ text=’ real estate’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’ownbuilddesig-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’30a5316c-9f03-11e7-9f80-0db11417ca82′] in Hawaii, especially for younger and lower-income households.”

Ohana Units Help Somewhat

In the late 1980s, the ohana unit first addressed some of the state’s affordable housing needs. However, the impact was somewhat muted because only relatives of those residing in the primary residence can occupy these units. Nonetheless, they are great for multi-generational households. Ohana units are often occupied by adult children of homeowners or seniors in the family, and they must be physically attached to the primary residence. The location is fairly flexible because they are possible in agricultural, country and residential districts, although they are prohibited in areas zoned R-3.5.

ADUs to the Rescue

In 2015, Honolulu introduced accessory dwelling units (ADUs) to further address the shortage of [amazon_textlink asin=’0874209773′ text=’affordable housing’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’ownbuilddesig-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’c503fae5-9f03-11e7-9946-a918f4e1af36′]. Given the statistics noted above, the future of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) appears bright. ADUs offer local governments some of the advantages of duplexes, but at a lower cost. Both types of dwellings increase housing density without putting an undue strain on infrastructures like sewer, water, and roads. In particular, these units tend to spread out across metro areas like Honolulu. And, governments can refuse an ADUpermit if the construction will unduly strain existing infrastructure.

ADUs are not just a Hawaiian phenomenon. According to Hawaii Appleseed, they have been used to address shortages of affordable housing in across the continental U.S. as well, from Lexington, Massachusetts on the East Coast to Portland, Oregon, and Santa Cruz, California, on the West Coast.

Qualifying homeowners renting out ADUs find they can generate a new and valuable revenue stream. ADUs can increase the overall value of the property, aiding asset accumulation in the process. If there is eventually a decision to sell the property, the seller may find that some prospective buyers value the ADU for the same reasons.

Owner Built Design LLC is your source for residential design, engineering and permit processing on the island of Oahu. I bring three decades of local experience to my work on behalf of homeowners and owner-builders. To better determine if the construction of an ADUis right for you, please contact me today.

Share