Unlocking Affordable Housing: Exploring Honolulu’s Bill 7 Initiative

·October 16, 2023·Bill 7·3 min·

Discover the details of this game-changing ordinance called Bill 7 and how it’s reshaping the future of affordable housing in paradise.

In the bustling heart of Honolulu, where the vibrant culture meets the azure ocean, lies a groundbreaking solution to one of Oahu’s most pressing challenges: affordable housing. Enter Bill 7—a transformative initiative signed into law as City Ordinance 19-8 in 2019, later extended through May 19, 2031. Spearheaded by the City and County of Honolulu, this bold move aims to revolutionize the local real estate landscape, providing hope and tangible solutions for hardworking families struggling to secure affordable rental housing. Let’s delve into the details of this game-changing ordinance and how it’s reshaping the future of housing in paradise.

“The state estimates over 50,000 units are needed by 2025”

Hawaii’s breathtaking beauty often masks the harsh reality of its steep cost of living. For many families, the dream of calling this tropical paradise home is overshadowed by the daunting challenge of finding affordable housing. With exorbitant construction expenses and stringent zoning regulations further complicating the situation, property owners have faced little incentive to invest in upgrading or developing their properties, perpetuating the cycle of housing unaffordability.

The Solution:

Bill 7 emerges as a beacon of hope amidst these challenges. This initiative is not just about passing legislation; it’s about igniting a movement toward greater accessibility and equity in housing. At its core, Bill 7 incentivizes property owners to revitalize their parcels with higher-density, modern buildings, paving the way for a more diverse range of affordable rental options.

Incentives: What enables the private sector to build affordable rental housing

Under the umbrella of Bill 7, property owners embarking on new affordable rental housing projects unlock a treasure trove of incentives designed to expedite and streamline the development process.

  • Property tax exemption for 10 years

  • Permit application fee waived.

  • Utilities connection charges waived.

  • Expedited permitting process to same time and money.

  • Greater density opportunities such as height and set back.

  • Relief from parking stalls and bike rack requirement.

  • No requirement for elevator

Together these incentives present property owners an unique opportunity to build an apartment more quickly and cost effectively more than ever before.

Affordability: Realizing the Vision

Picture this: a once-aging single-family home transformed into a modern, multi-story apartment complex offering affordable rents—a tangible manifestation of Bill 7’s vision. By harnessing the power of these incentives, property owners can embark on their development journey with confidence, knowing that they’re not only contributing to the community but also reaping substantial benefits for themselves.


As Honolulu marches forward into a future where housing is not just a dream but a tangible reality for all, Bill 7 stands as a testament to the power of innovative policymaking. By fostering collaboration between government entities and private developers, this initiative is laying the groundwork for a more inclusive and sustainable housing landscape. With each newly constructed affordable unit, we move one step closer to realizing the vision of a Honolulu where every family has a place to call home.

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About Evan Amakata

Evan Amakata (R) is the principal broker at Oceans Real Estate and CEO of Oceans Capital LLC. As a developer himself, Evan's mission is to help people through all aspect of Real Estate, whether investing, buying/selling, renting, property managing or building more affordable housing.

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