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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, February 13, 2006

A home of my own? Here? Not ever likely

By Peter Boylan
Advertiser Columnist

Every morning for the past several months, I have awakened to the dull, soft pounding of drills and hammers.

I have the privilege of living right next to the lot where the 352-unit Keola Lai condominium is rising from the ground. The floor plans are spacious and modern. The planned exterior will blend well with the smoked-glass theme that dominates Honolulu waterfront developments.

And the view will be amazing. I know because most evenings I sit in my 19th-story window and watch the planes take off and land at Honolulu International Airport. It's a view that will disappear once Keola Lai is done just like my dream of ever being able to buy a decent home in my own hometown.

There is nothing I would like more then to be able to buy a spacious, modern, two-bedroom condominium with a ridiculous view of the downtown skyline, Aloha Tower, Honolulu Harbor and the airport. But with two-bedroom condos downtown going for at least $425,000, I like most members of the under-30 workforce born and raised in the Islands am priced out of my own homeland.

We either pour money into the black hole that is a rental agreement or we sacrifice all independence and continue to live with our parents until the day arrives that we can afford a down payment. Whether that day will come before our parents begin collecting Social Security is anyone's guess.

Keola Lai is hardly the only new development I can't afford.

There is no way I can buy into Alexander & Baldwin Inc.'s Hokua project, KC Rainbow Development's 706-unit, twin-tower project two blocks 'ewa of the Ke'eaumoku Street Wal-Mart, Kamehameha Schools' planned Ala Moana development or A&B's three towers near Kaka'ako Waterfront Park.

And I don't personally know any other local people my age or any other age, for that matter who can swing both the down payment and monthly mortgage on any of the new condos in town.

Those from my generation who have been fortunate enough to own their own homes either live in Mililani and sit in traffic for a good third of their life or have wealthy parents.

Most of us envision living here for most of our lives and know that we're going to have to work very hard to earn enough to live in our hometown. And that's fine, because our parents pinched pennies and did it for us.

In the meantime, I look forward to welcoming all of my new neighbors to the state of Hawai'i.

Reach Peter Boylan at pboylan@honoluluadvertiser.com.