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Data book reveals challenges of affording housing in Maui County

Maui’s housing wage second only to Oahu in state

Maui County Data Book 2018 was recently released. Hawaii Small Business Development Center photo

Residents in Maui County had to earn $31.13 an hour to afford a two-bedroom rental last year at federally calculated fair market rent, a recent report shows.

The data from the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Out of Reach 2018 report, along with an array of other significant statistics and figures, was included in the recently published Maui County Data Book for 2018.

Maui County’s housing wage for a two-bedroom at fair market rent was the second highest in the state, with Honolulu County at $39.06; Kauai County, $29.06; and Hawaii County, $25.42.

Fair market rent (FMR) values are used to determine low-income, affordable rental voucher amounts for U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development subsidy programs such as Section 8.

Last year, a two bedroom FMR was $1,619 for the county. An annual income of $64,760 was needed to afford that rental, and 3.1 full-time jobs at minimum wage were required to pay for rent, the data book said.

Within Maui County, rental households were 42 percent of the total households last year, numbering 22,488. The estimated mean renter hourly wage was $15.07 and rent affordable at mean wage was $784. Overall, 2.1 full-time jobs at mean renter wage were needed to afford a two-bedroom home at FMR.

Meanwhile, the mean annual wage for the top five most common jobs in Maui County in 2017, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2018 report in the county data book, had the following occupations, estimated amount of employees, annual mean wage and statewide annual wage:

Waiters and waitresses were the No. 1 most common occupation with 3,400 estimated employees in Maui earning $48,940 (state annual wage was $45,680). Retail salespersons came in second with 3,360 employees earning $29,860 annually (state, $26,220). Maids and housekeeping cleaners were third at 3,000 employees earning $36,590 (state, $37,130). Cashiers were fourth at 2,140 earning $27,100 (state, $24,900). Restaurant cooks were fifth at 1,990 employees earning $41,360 (state, $39,280).

The 2018 edition of the Maui County Data Book includes the “most comprehensive statistical book” about Maui, including Molokai and Lanai. More than 200 pages cover a range of stats in topics such as population, education, labor, energy, business enterprises, government, tourism and transportation.

“For people who want to do business in Maui or just want to know Maui, the Data Book is the recommended source of information,” Han Montambault, research librarian at the Hawaii Business Research Library, said in a release. “It has a wealth of information collected from numerous public and private sources on all aspects of the County.”

The books can be purchased via mail for $25 or in-person at the Maui County Business Resource Center at Maui Mall and Hawaii Business Research Library in Kihei. The latest edition, along with earlier versions, are available online. For information, visit https://hisbdc.org/BusinessResearchLibrary.aspx or call the library at 875-5990.

* Kehaulani Cerizo can be reached at kcerizo@mauinews.com.