Hawaiian Homestead Leaders Authorize Tiny Home Product for ADU or Starter Home

August 29, 2017

Honolulu, Hawaii — Homestead Leaders from Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Molokai and Hawaii Island convened on August 25, 2017 and voted unanimously to finalize plans to make a tiny home product available starting on Kauai.

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“We completed a pilot project to assemble a 480-square foot, 1
bedroom, 1 bath home to test the complexity and costs of using prefabricated approach to affordable housing,” said Iwalani McBrayer, Vice Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of the nonprofit Homestead Housing Authority. “On average, the pilot home went up and was completed in 32 build days, with 4 laborers, a skilled carpenter and a project manager.”

The homestead leaders reviewed the results of the pilot home project, resulting in materials, labor and overhead under $85,000, with financing at $575 per month over 15 years. The data compares stick built material packages available on the market and contractor labor estimates totaling $125,000.

“It really comes down to complexity and financing risk,” said Robin Danner, the HHA Executive Director. “The prefab modular approach eliminates the need for exterior wall framing. We can enclose a house inside of 18 hours, and eliminate the need for construction financing with a single close loan process.”

The Homestead Housing Authority has experience in building stick homes, having assisted 22 families on Oahu and Kauai to build 22 four-bedroom, 2-bath homes for under $185,000 on Oahu and $160,000 on Kauai. It is also in the predevelopment phase of a potential 50-unit rental project on Oahu using conventional stick frame building methods.

“The tiny home product is a different goal, a different demographic, and therefore a different build method,” Danner remarked. “Families need a product that can be a one off, yet still affordable, meaning, the home is built one by one, depending on the size of their existing lot that already has a home or a vacant lot that isn’t a part of an entire subdivision of homes being built.”

The data from the pilot build revealed a prefab approach can lower risk to the lender, by reducing the complexity and time to enclose the home, with limited skilled carpentry labor required.

“It was well worth the effort over the last year to research options and actually assemble a pilot home,” Mcbrayer said. “Our nonprofit board has enthusiastically approved taking this product to the next step of making it available to our native Hawaiian people.”

The HHA tiny home product creates an excellent starter home for young adults, or as an addition to an existing home for elder family members to age in place. The Homestead Housing Authority is a 501c3 nonprofit founded in 2009 to address affordable housing and economic development on Hawaiian Home Lands.