Squeezing In

Interesting piece at The Honolulu Advertiser on tiny condos hitting the real estate market in Honolulu—as small as 350 square feet.  Glad to see some affordable housing options open up in town. In one new building, the Holomua in Makiki, units about that size are listed for $245,000. You can compare that to other home prices around the island in our June cover story. Inspired by what our editorial team learned about Honolulu home values, I contributed an editor’s page describing how these values have appreciated so far above and beyond inflation that home ownership seems out of reach for the average person.

Of course, as the Advertiser relates, these tiny apartments are being snatched up by working couples with children. They all sound thrilled to be able to buy a home of their own, but my heart goes out to anyone trying to squeeze a full family life into apartments so small.  There is probably more of this going on than people realize. A couple weeks back, I went scouting for a one-bedroom apartment in town, just to see what the market was like. I didn’t take exact notes, but I must have seen about eight apartments in one day, and to my surprise, about half of them were clearly inhabited by families, with one or both parents in the bedroom, and one or more kids in the living room.

We measure homelessness as a sign of our economic and social well-being. Should we be measuring roomlessness, too?