Hawaii’s high costs of living are pretty obvious but there’s another less talked about cost that has earned Hawaii an equally dubious distinction: according to a recent study, Hawaii homeowners’ association fees are among the nation’s highest and second only to New York.
It’s been stated that the average HOA fee in Hawaii statewide in 2021 was $762 a month. That’s compared to the overall U.S. average of $286. A study showed that the current association fees can be almost as high as mortgages.
One of the major factors that contribute to the high fee cost would be the huge inventory of aging condominiums in Hawaii. We live in a tropical climate which means there is a significant plus ongoing need for repairs and maintenance. When a major repair comes up, there will most likely be an increase in the fees. But it’s not just maintenance that drives up HOA fees, it’s also the cost of employees, hurricane and flood insurance, due to being at higher risk, which in turn contributes to higher premiums.
Hawaii has two types of homeowners’ associations. Planned Community Associations generally govern subdivisions and neighborhoods of single-family homes and are established under one statute. As well as the, far more complex statute known as the Condominium Property Act governs the condo high rises and smaller condo complexes.
Hawaii law mandates that condo boards impose fees to stay out in front of costs. Although the general rule under the law is that condo boards are self-governing, the condo statute also requires boards to establish reserve funds to cover anticipated maintenance costs. Required by law, the condo boards have to conduct regular studies to determine how much money is needed in the reserve fund.
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Sean Ahearn & Jim Karlovsky