Who pays for Maui’s Affordable Housing?
This may surprise many, but Maui’s vacation rentals are in fact the largest contributor to Maui’s affordable housing fund. Since 2018, Maui’s vacation rentals have contributed $18.9 million towards affordable housing, more than all the hotels, all the homeowners and all other businesses COMBINED! In the same time period timeshares, hotels, and homeowner properties together have contributed $16 million. Vacation Rentals include legal permitted short term rental homes, condos, and Bed and Breakfast operations. By law at least 3% of real property tax goes toward the affordable housing fund, and this year the county council voted to have 6% of real property tax appropriated to the fund. Maui’s number one supporter of affordable housing by far is vacation rentals. While much has been said about the impact of vacation rentals, without them there would be dramatically less money available for the County budget and specifically for affordable housing.
This year alone, short-term rentals will supply Maui County with $142.4 million in real property tax revenue. That is more than 1/3 of all the real property tax revenue collected County wide! As such vacation rentals are the largest source of funding for the Affordable Housing Fund raising $8.6 million this year alone, and have been the biggest source of funding for the last 3 years. The second highest contributor is non-owner occupied properties with $5.8 Million, this tax classification includes long term renters.
Compared to other visitor related accommodations, vacation rentals are the only segment to have increased their tax contributions this year. Timeshares saw a 7% decrease in their assessed value, and will contribute $2.2 million less than last year. Hotel and Resort classification saw a 19% decrease in assessed value this year resulting in a $3.7 million decrease in funding from last year. Meanwhile, vacation rentals will generate $28.6 million more in property tax revenue this year, a staggering 25% increase from last year!
The council and administration depend on short-term rental properties to fund our county. Likewise, vacation rentals support Maui’s homeowners as well, by subsidizing lower taxes for residents. Right now Maui homeowners generate $33 million in real property taxes. Without the $142.4 million in taxes generated by vacation rentals, homeowners would have to more than quadruple their taxes to keep the same county budget. Plus, Maui’s vacation rentals also generate local jobs, supporting a network of small businesses like accountants, contractors, landscaping, cleaning, restaurants, shops, and interior design professionals, all of whom in turn spend money sustaining the economic circle.
While vacation rentals are often criticized, and seldom praised, it’s worth considering the value vacation rentals bring to the table as a whole to fully understand the context of the situation.
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To see this article in the Maui News go to https://www.mauinews.com/opinion/columns/2021/06/vacation-rentals-contribute-the-most-to-affordable-housing-fund/