With the increasing numbers of visitors to the island and low vacancy rates in hotels, there is a healthy demand for short-term rentals on Oahu. A short-term rental is a property which is being rented for less than 30 days. Visitors who use vacation rental hosting platforms such as Airbnb, Homeaway, or VRBO are looking for cheaper rates or a more local experience when vacationing on the island.
Recently Bill 89 was passed unanimously (9-0) by the Honolulu City Council which will allow permitting for an approximately 1,715 additional owner-occupied bed-and-breakfast rentals on Oahu. This number adds to the current 816 legal short-term rentals on Oahu, but is a mere fraction of the 8,000 short-term rentals which are presumed to exist in the county at a given time. An additional measure, Bill 85, was also passed (7-2) imposing a fine of $1,000 for a first time offense and a $10,000 for a repeat offender for illegal short-term rental operators. Most of all legal short-term rentals exist within resort zoned areas such as Waikiki or Ko’Olina. The other transient vacation properties outside of resort zoned areas have non-confirming use certificates which owners will have to reapply for every two years.
Hosting platforms such as Airbnb, Homeaway, or VRBO are also required to register and report on a monthly basis the names of the responsible persons for each listing, the address of each listing, the transient vacation tax number of the owner or operator and the length of stay for each listing.
Prior to the passing of these Bills the City had been in discussions with online vacation rental platforms to come up with a solution that allows legal short-term rentals to operate. The problem is that most of the units being offered are illegal because they are operating in residential areas where short-term rentals are not permitted. Though a prior proposal was to have an online rental platform such as Airbnb be a tax collection agent for the State, these platforms were not willing to identify who their hosts are, citing issues with privacy.
Similar to Oahu, Maui county has also created a list of condominiums which do not include resort zoned properties, who are already short-term in nature, and it provides information on those properties who can legally operate short-term rentals. This Maui County Short-Term Rental List can include those properties which may be grandfathered.
Though there is no easy solution to determine how to allow all owners of short-term rentals to operate, there is clearly a demand for vacation properties. As an investor of real estate, it would be wise to consider using a rental option that is legal, so that you can remain profitable regardless of which direction the lawmakers take. Should you require more information on how to invest in Oahu real estate please contact us.
Studio Gang’s newest high rise mixed use community, Kō‘ula will be located in the heart of Ward Village. Designed by architectural firm Studio Gang and interior design team Yabu Pushelberg, Kō‘ula is comprised of a “41-story mixed-use tower inspired by the island’s native red sugar cane, from which it gets its name – Kō‘ula.” Its architectural designs welcome the outdoors inside with floor-to-ceiling windows and the building’s gentle bend ensures Mauka to Makai views.
Similar to the Aalli project, Kō‘ula will consist of two buildings one low rise (the, “Podium”) and one high rise (the, “Tower”). This development is designed to feature 565 residences, 498 Tower residences and 67 podium residences, Kō‘ula offers a wide range of floor plans that provide a sense of comfortability to call home. Units will have the option of one- to three-bedrooms with living space from 300 to 1,500 square feet and a private lanai terrace.
Interior design team refined the word modernization from its beautifully designed materials, color, and textures selected in furnishing your new residence. Furnishings designed by Yabu Pushelbergl include the master bed with built-in side tables, lamps, dresser, guest bed with built-in side tables, living room sofa, lounge chair, ottoman, coffee & side tables, rug, credenza, dining table & chairs, bar cart, patio table & chairs, and counter stools.
It’s resort-style features include a 25-yard inset lap pool, poolside cabana, two oversized spas, and a fitness center with treatment room. If that wasn’t resort enough, there are private dining areas, BBQ pavilions, a chef’s and catering kitchen adjacent to grand dining room, and a sunset bar for those days who’d love to kick back and relax without the drive.
For more information regarding Kō‘ula Ward Village or any other condominiums in the Ward Village area please contact us.
Like many real estate investors, we want to invest our hard-earned money into a property which we can rent out in order to take advantage of appreciation and rental income. However, if you are an offshore investor, you may wish to enjoy your property and occupy it from time-to-time. After all, it is your piece of paradise! Condo-hotels are fantastic options when considering the foregoing scenario. The following will provide a summary of the advantages and disadvantages to owning a condo-hotel and some notable condo-hotels in and around Waikiki.
Condo-Hotels Are Easier To Manage:
Condo-hotels are a “hands-off” investment. As an investor in a condo-hotel, you have the option of not needing to involve yourself in the exhausting management of a short-term vacation rental. Hotel pool programs not only manage your property for short-term rentals, but will also maintain the property. For example, hotel cleaning services will change out linens, vacuum, make repairs, provide income statements, file your general excise tax and transient accommodation tax and more.
You Can Stay In Your Unit:
If you decide that you want a vacation and wish to stay in your property, the hotel pool will ensure that the unit is vacant during your stay. As long as sufficient notice has been provided to the hotel staff, management will ensure that the unit is prepared and ready to accommodate you.
Of course, you will have full access to enjoy the hotel’s amenities. In addition, depending on the program, some hotels may offer discounts to owners who wish to stay in a separate room while their unit is rented. If you decide that you wish to keep your unit rented, this scenario can be convenient for you.
Rental Yields Are Volatile:
Since profitability of your rental property largely depends on how frequently you can rent out your property, fluctuations in tourism largely affect your success. Because there are busier seasons, some months may show a positive cash flow while other months are negative. In many cases, a long-term rental may provide a long-term profit and higher yield than short-term rental properties. Always be sure to review the income statements before making a decision to buy. Remember, because your prospective investment is also a hotel, having the best view may significantly improve your income.
It is not uncommon for a multitude of fees to be deducted from your rental income. Hotels will require that the owner split approximately half of the proceeds with the hotel program. In addition, hotel and resort zoned properties are charged a significantly higher property tax rate than a typical residential property tax. Many times, resort zoned properties are more than double what residential zone properties are charged. In addition, the State of Hawaii requires owners to pay a Transient Accommodation Tax and General Excise Tax.
Condo-hotels are not prevalent outside of Waikiki. In this regard, condo-hotels are not a one-size-fits-all investment. Due to hotel policies and lifestyle, condo-hotels usually attract a certain demographic of investor. This is, in part, one reason why appreciation rates for some condo-hotels are not as high as other types of properties on the island.
HOW CAN YOU EVALUATE?
There are a number of different actions you can take to evaluate whether or not a condo-hotel is for you. Here are some considerations you can make:
Review the hotel pool agreement: If you decide that you want to place your property in a hotel pool, you will want to know exactly what is required and what policies are enforced;
Review the subject property’s income statements: It is helpful to know how often the unit you are interested was occupied for the year, and what the gross and net amounts are. This will give you an idea if you will have a positive or negative cash flow;
Review the building’s sales history: Has there been appreciation over time? Was there a significant dip in the sales price? Why? These questions are important as they may provide some indication of how your values may perform in the future;
Inquire about the most occupied units: If possible, it is helpful to know which units are in highest demand. This may ensure that your unit is occupied more frequently which will result in more income.
CONDO-HOTELS TO CONSIDER:
With the numerous condo-hotels in Waikiki, it is difficult to know which one best fits your needs. Please refer to the following list of different properties worth considering: