Buying Options for Military Families
When it comes to military assignments, being sent to Hawaii probably tops the list for preferred destinations. Who doesn’t want to live in paradise? There is a downside, though, as Hawaiian real estate is much pricier than that found near mainland assignments. Depending on your grade and Basic Housing Allowance (BHA), you can find a suitable dwelling to buy, not rent, and potentially make a sizable profit when you sell upon your next assignment.
A military family with a member whose grade is at least E08 has a $3,465 monthly non-taxable BHA in Honolulu County for 2019. The current highest BHA for a military family is $4,202 for a O07, but the BHA rate for those whose grades are between an E08 and a O07 differs by just a few hundred dollars. You could spend that money renting a home during your assignment, but your BHA is put to much better use if you purchase a home. Once you pay rent, that money is gone. When you purchase a home, you build equity. For many military families, building equity isn’t a great consideration, since they may not stay in the home long enough to amass substantial equity. However, even if a family is here for just a few years, a rising market can mean they will sell their home for much more than they paid for it, and selling a condo in Hawaii can leave them with enough capital to buy a huge home and pay cash on their next assignment.
One of the perks of serving in the military is VA mortgage eligibility. In 2019, the VA loan limit for Hawaii is $726,525, an increase of nearly 7 percent over 2018. In many cases, such loans require no money down. You have plenty of comfortable single-family home options at this price. If you do have money to make a large down payment – approximately $70,000 – a VA loan allows you to purchase a million dollar property.
Where to Live
There are approximately 120,000 members of the various U.S. armed forces stationed in Hawaii, a number comprising about 10 percent of all residents. Those stationed at Tripler Army Medical Center are at a particular advantage, as the location allows them to live virtually anywhere on the island without a daunting commute. If stationed at Schofield Barracks, new development at Ewa Beach is 30 minutes away, and Miliani and Royal Kunia are also good choices. Navy personnel at Pearl Harbor often prefer Kaneohe for the easy commute, and that’s also true of Marine families assigned to Kaneohe Bay Marine Corp. Air Force personnel at Hickam Air Force Base are close to Honolulu, but the traffic is tough. For these families, Kaneohe is a top choice.
If you’re in the military and looking to buy or rent a home, you need a knowledgeable, experienced realtor familiar with all aspects of the Hawaiian real estate market. Contact Island Realty Group LLC at 808-689-7407 or IslandRealtyGroup@irghi.com.