Many young adults in Hawai’i’s Millennial Generation, ages 22 to 37, are living at home with their parents or leaving for the mainland to buy a home. But there are some Millennials who have figured it out.
Nicole Fujiuchi bought her own condominium in Kaka’ako this year. Her salary is in the 60-70 percent area median income range or AMI. She started working as a nurse 5 years ago and is now 29 years old.
“I was saving a lot of money because I live with my mom and she doesn’t charge me rent. So, when I started maybe around 40-thousand in my savings and then, maybe about 90-thousand right now.”
Fujiuchi has a financial advisor and investment account. Mike Manago is a senior loan officer. He takes out his calculator to figure out how much a person earning 70 percent AMI without debt can borrow for a single family home.
“Hundred dollars for insurance and say, 150 for property tax, so that’s 2125, let’s see, four-and-a-quarter. So you can afford a 430-thousand loan amount with 57-thousand. It’s definitely doable. It’s just that people get hung up on the down payment as to how much they can put down.”
That 20-percent down payment is a problem for many homebuyers in Hawai’i. Jennifer Freas is a millennial and full-time real estate agent. She says saving, knowing how much you can afford and what financial assistance programs are available to you, are key.
“There’s a lot of different loan programs they can take advantage of like first-time buyer. If it’s in the rural areas they can do USDA. So there’s different options that they have. They just shouldn’t rule out the possibility of being able to buy.”
The Hawai’i Homeownership Center is a nonprofit that provides information, training and personalized savings plans for first time buyers. Executive Director, Dennis Oshiro, says, based on their data Millennials are getting educated and buying first homes.
“We went back 3 years, 5 years, and we actually found that of all the hundreds that come to us annually, we average almost half of our students that go on to homeownership were in the Millennial group. So there is hope with early preparation.”
Meanwhile, Fujiuchi is scheduled to move into her new Kaka’ako condo when it’s completed next summer. Her mother, Cheryl, is proud of what her daughter accomplished.
“She’s starting young and she’s responsible. She has good credit. She likes to save money, you know, and she’s gonna own her own place. She has a good head on her shoulders. She’s doing way better than me when I was her age.”
For HPR News, I’m Wayne Yoshioka.