Posted on February 9, 2024

New Hawaii Bill Would Ban Foreigners From Buying Land on the Islands

Kiara Alfonseca, ABC, February 7, 2024

A new bill in Hawaii aims to ban foreigners from purchasing land in the Aloha State.

State Sen. Brenton Awa, who introduced the bill, says it could address concerns about the ongoing housing crisis in the state.

“During the pandemic, right before I got into office here, we saw the home prices jump up $400,000 within a year, and that was because people outside were coming in,” Awa told local news outlet KHON-TV. “When they’re coming in with cash and our salaries over here are less than those of the people who are ready to retire, we can’t compete.”

The legislation reads: “At the time of purchase, a buyer of real property or an interest in real property shall provide an affidavit signed under penalty of perjury attesting that the buyer is not a foreign principal.” The legislation defines a “foreign principal” in part as “any person who is domiciled in a foreign country and is not a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States.”

Residents have long complained about the impact of tourism and luxury home and resort development on housing accessibility, as well as the lack of affordable housing and rentals for residents. Hawaii residents have some of the highest housing costs in the nation — 2.5 times higher than the national average — according to the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization.


A bill with similar language was passed by the Florida Legislature and signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, but it has been partially blocked amid a legal challenge against the state. {snip}


Federal appeals judge Nancy Abudu, in her decision, called the law “a blanket ban against Chinese noncitizens from purchasing land within the state” and said it “blatantly violates the 14th Amendment’s protection against discrimination” in her decision.