Aloha and thank you for your interest in the Kakaako reserved housing eligibility requirements. Below is a set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) that we've gotten over the last few months. 

SIDE NOTE: Reserved Housing and Affordable Housing are two different programs that have different eligibility requirements. The next opportunity to purchase below market housing will be at Ulana Ward Village which will be developed by Howard Hughes. 

What is Reserved Housing for HCDA?

  • The Kakaako district in Honolulu is quickly becoming an attractive and convenient residential community that represents a unique housing opportunity for Hawaii residents trying to relocate closer to the Honolulu business district and Waikiki and substantially reduce their daily commute time to work. Reserved housing is designed to provide affordable housing in the Kakaako area for buyers earning less than 140% of Honolulu area median income (AMI) as established from time to time by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The 2021 AMI is $74,200 and 140% of that is $148,400 (for a family of four). All buyers will need to go through a qualifying process to ensure they meet the HCDA Reserved Housing requirements as well as lender requirements. 

What is the area median income for Honolulu in 2021?

The area median income for a single person in Honolulu in 2021 was $74,200. 140% of that income is $103,900. If your income is over $103,900 then eligibility for a reserved housing project is unlikely. If you're very close to that number eligibility is still possible, email our Reserved Housing Specialist, Jordyn at

View the complete income and asset limit charts here:
Asset Limits HCDA 2020 AMI 

What are the income requirements?

  • The Buyer's "adjusted household income" may not exceed 140% of the area median income. For a single person your income may not exceed $103,900.
  • The "adjusted household income" refers to the total income, before taxes and personal deductions. This includes anyone living in the primary borrower's household, including, but not limited to, wages, social security payments, retirement benefits, unemployment benefits, interest and dividend payments, but not including business deductions.
  • In addition, the buyer's assets (mutual funds, bank accounts) may not exceed 125% of the area median income.

What is shared equity?

With the reserved housing program, the state sets the price that which the developer can charge. These prices are considered by the state "below market" prices. You are able to purchase at these below market prices because the state is allowing you to do so, in exchange, you will give the state back some money (from future profits if/when you sell) so that the state can fund future development of reserved housing projects. These future profits that you must give back to the state is called shared equity. 

  • The share of the equity in the reserved housing unit shall be the higher of:
  1. An amount equivalent to the difference between the original fair market value of the unit and its original sales contract price, not to exceed the difference between the resale fair market value and the original sales contract price; or
  2. An amount equivalent to the authority’s percentage share of net appreciation calculated as the difference between the original fair market value of the unit and its original sales contract price, divided by the original fair market value of the unit. “Net appreciation” means resale fair market value less original sales contract price and actual sales costs incurred, if any.
  3. After the end of the regulated term, the owner may sell the unit or assign the property free from any transfer or price restrictions except for applicable equity sharing requirements set forth in 15-22-187 of the Mauka Rules, Chapter 22 document.

What documents do I need to present to my loan officer?

  • 2 years tax returns
  • W-2's
  • Pay stubs
  • Verification of assets
  • Gift letter with verification of funds (if receiving assistance with down payment)

Which buildings have reserved housing available?

    • Howard Hughes has just launched a new Reserved Housing project, Ulana Ward Village. Check out more details for Ulana Ward Village and register your interest to hear updates first.
    • The Park on Keeaumoku project near Ala Moana is not available under the reserved housing rules and will be available under a different set of eligibility requirements that are TBD.

What are the buying procedures?

There will be a published announcement in Newspaper outlining the following process:

  1. Application pickup period
  2. Lender qualification period
  3. Application submittal period
  4. Lottery drawing
  5. Unit selection

What are the occupancy guidelines?

Your household size will determine what type of unit you are able to purchase. For example, a family of four can purchase a 2 or 3 bedroom home but not a 1-bedroom home. A family of 2 can purchase a studio, 1-, or 2-bedroom home. A single person can purchase a studio or 1-bedroom. 

Please keep in mind that the reserved housing unit types will vary from building to building. 

How long am I required to live in the unit?

The regulated term for reserved housing units is established based on unit affordability and will range anywhere from 2-10 years. Reserved housing units available to qualified persons with adjusted household incomes:

  1. Less than one hundred percent of median income shall be regulated for ten (10) years;
  2. One hundred to one hundred nineteen percent of median income shall be regulated for five (5) years;
  3. One hundred twenty to one hundred forty percent of median income shall be regulated for two (2) years. HCDA may elect to extend the period on a case-by-case basis.

How much is the down payment?

The developer can require up to a 10% down payment. The buyer is allowed to put in a larger down payment if they choose to or if its recommended or required by the lender.