MReport January 2020

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M R EP O RT | 55 O R I G I NAT I O N S E R V I C I N G DATA G O V E R N M E N T S E C O N DA R Y M A R K E T THE LATEST DATA Trouble in Paradise? Infrastructure concerns could block development of homes in Hawaii. H awaii Public Radio reports that the state will need an addi- tional 65,000 housing units by 2025, but that will re- quire more public infrastructure. The report says that the most efficient way to do this is to increase density in areas linked by those services. Tim Houghton of the City and County of Honolulu's Department and Environmental Services says it could take years to achieve this goal. "These kind of large programs, large wastewater projects, they do take time. What we need to know is 'where is the development happening?'" he said. Hawaii Public Radio says housing developments, at times, can't get approved until increased sewer capacity is installed—with some projects taking a decade to complete. Homes still need water even when new sewer capacity is installed. Additionally, 40% of the state's housing need is on the island of Oahu, and the Board of Water Supply's Barry Usagawa noted there is plenty of water to meet demand. "You've got one million people on this island, using half the water. So there are enough resources, but not quite in the Honolulu area where we are pumping close to the sustainable yield," Usagawa said. The past year has been a turbulent one for the Hawaiian housing market. A report by LendingTree in November said 22.3% of its residents are searching for homes outside the state. Nevada is the No. 1 choice for people wanting to leave Hawaii. A report by Clever found that borrowers in Hawaii paid the most in average mortgage fees at $6,967.89. Hawaii County has a median home price of $403,625 and annual wages of $43,810. Bristol County, Massachusetts, came in at No. 2 with a median sales price of $300,000 and median wages of $50,973. "Hawaii has high housing and living costs, which might be driving some residents to pack up and leave. Nevada's bustling hospitality industry might be a draw for Hawaiian residents who currently work in the same field," the study said. Forbes revealed earlier this year that the average, non-retired, African American had $13,460 in wealth in 2016—just 9.5% of reported wealth of $142,180 for white Americans. The average wealth for African Americans in 2007 was 13.7% of the median- white wealth—$24,841. Gamble said one of the best things to happen to African- American homeowners over the past decade was President Barack Obama's HARP program. The HARP program allowed people the opportunity to refinance who were underwater. She also said the Mortgage Forgiveness Act was beneficial in not double penalizing people who may have lost their home. "It was just really, really unfortunate that a lot of the lenders in the beginning of the crisis were not as flexible as they are today and working with people," she said. Gamble, while noting current foreclosure rates are at historical lows, said that we're witnessing a "super inflated, insulated market." "It's all kinds of smoke and mirrors," she said. "I don't think too much will happen next year because we're in an election year—but I believe after the election we'll see some changes, and, unfortunately, I think we'll start to see interest rates rise again, and we'll really start to see affordability coming into play." In her book, she continues, takes a historical look at housing laws, and found that communities of color lacked financial literacy. "If all you had was the equity you were building in your home and then that disappears, there you go," Gamble said. "One of the biggest things I found was that there is such a lack of financial education." In her book, Gamble said her passion for real estate began nearly two decades ago when her grandmother, or as she called her, "Bigmama," passed away and left her land in Daphne, Alabama. However, Gamble was never able to enjoy that land as her grandmother forgot to pay the property taxes on it. An investor purchased it for just $1,000 during an auction. Gamble said she was "heartbroken." "I channeled my frustration into something positive," she said. "By June, I was taking my first real estate course at Professional Development Institute in Silver Spring, Maryland. By September, I was a licensed agent. "I knew if the loss of property could happen so easily to my family in Daphne, Alabama, it could likely happen just about anywhere to anyone." Gamble said that it has now become her "mission" to educate people about homeownership, and that REO has allowed her to be in the community and reach people still feeling the effects of the Great Recession. "I do my best to make sure that they have a dignified transition and that they don't feel any less than what they may already be feeling," she said. "Unfortunately, a lot of people of color purchased homes with loans that were later deemed to be predatory. Homes were appreciating at a rapid rate and purchasers were being told, don't worry, you can always refinance." —Melanie Gamble, Broker/Owner, 212 Degrees Realty

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