Remote workers are flocking to Hawaii. But is that good for the islands? | Hawaii | The Guardian

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Although the influx is a boon for some people, it has also exacerbated the unaffordable real estate market and brought back painful memories.

The last modification time is Wednesday, January 27, 2021, 10.07 Eastern Time

Mike McConnell didn't dare to go out even if he went for a walk.

After surviving a near-fatal sepsis infection, he tried a healthier lifestyle, but it turned out that with the coronavirus spreading in his home in San Diego, California, it was difficult to achieve.

The 53-year-old financial adviser said: "It's like the walking dead just trying to avoid everyone."

So McConnell called

, This is the place he has only been to, and began to browse properties through FaceTime. In October last year, he bought a $1.2 million house on the north shore of dear Kauai, without even seeing it in person.

McConnell said: "When I landed at the airport, it was like,'What did I really buy?'." "But when I walked into this house for the first time, I was set on fire."

McConnell is not alone. The newly discovered freedom of remote work has prompted people to flock to the Hawaiian Islands and flee the continental United States. Although the total number of immigrants is unknown, there are signs of a large influx of immigrants. Real estate agents say demand has reached a climax. One

With the support of local business owners, remote workers were sponsored flights to Honolulu in exchange for community services, and more than 50,000 applications were received with just 50 slots.

Some newcomers have achieved success in a long-term dream, while others act spontaneously, not knowing how long they will stay. They came for the climate, scenery, and plenty of outdoor activities throughout the year. Many people are fleeing virus hotspots. Throughout the pandemic, Hawaii has been the region with the lowest Covid infection rate in the United States.

These include tech workers from Silicon Valley, couples forced to retire early due to the pandemic, and parents who seized the opportunity to enroll their children in private schools that offer face-to-face courses. There are also some famous new Hawaii residents. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is popular in Kauai, where he owns a

. Larry Ellison, the founder of the software giant Oracle, owns 98% of Lanai, the smallest inhabited island in Hawaii, and he announced that he now lives in Hawaii full-time.

Although the influx is a boon for some people, it has also increased tensions-exacerbating a real estate market that many locals cannot afford. And, for some, it brings back painful historical memories of outsiders developing the Hawaiian lifestyle without considering the consequences.

State Land Use Commission Chairman Jonathan Leek Shure said: "Since Captain Cook, people have been jumping off the boat and staying in Hawaii." "Some people will go back, some will stay. If you really only Planning to survive this pandemic here, please try to minimize possible losses."

Over the years, Hawaii has lost more residents than gained. Many people, especially young people, have been driven out due to lack of job prospects, lack of affordable housing, and the lowest average wage in Hawaii after adjusting for the high cost of living.

Although it is not clear whether the new wave of pandemic residents has completely reversed this trend, signs of this change are clearly visible in the real estate market, and real estate agents say demand is soaring.

According to Hawaiian real estate agents, in the second half of 2020, single-family homes that usually take months or years to sell attract new buyers within hours or days. Bidding battles are now commonplace, pushing home sales prices to new heights.

In addition, real estate agents say that properties once purchased as vacation homes are increasingly being sold for the owner's own use.

Virtual house tours are fueling a real estate frenzy. Despite travel restrictions and mandatory quarantine measures, people can still make real estate offers from thousands of miles away.

Big Island real estate agent Beth Thoma Robinson (Beth Thoma Robinson) said: "In the situation I encountered, these people snapped up the property on the first day after it went on the market at a price higher than the asking price." "I have to tell all other potential buyers that if they want to participate at all, they will have to engage in a huge bidding war."

At the same time, some people who grew up in Hawaii but moved to the mainland are attracted by the ability to "work anywhere" and enjoy an out-of-state salary. Hannah Sirois, a partner at Corcoran Pacific Properties in Kauai, said that she recently showed a Facebook employee a property who lived with her family after returning home while she was looking for herself House of.

She said: "There are indeed many people who have lived here on Kauai, but they have never really lost the feeling of wanting to live here."

But while the booming market may be good news for the industry, it is pushing up prices for many local households.

Hawaii has the highest proportion of multi-generational houses in the United States, about one-fifth of residents

, According to US Census data.

Karen Ono, chief executive of the Kauai Board of Realtors, said that the severe impact of the pandemic on travel has led to unemployment in the tourism industry, forcing some Hawaiian families to pack more relatives into already crowded conditions.

Ono said: "Because they can't make money, they can't buy a house. This is because they make too much money and cannot afford people in the housing category." He said. "The gap is our firefighters, nurses, doctors-all the people we need here."

New immigrants arrived in Hawaii with a controversial history. In the early 1800s, the population of Native Hawaiians declined rapidly, partly because white merchants introduced Western diseases that forced Hawaiians to leave their land to establish huge pineapple and sugar cane plantations.

In this era, the decline of the native Hawaiian population and the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii by the US government in 1893 are still the source of generations and anger towards the outside world.

As a result, the idea of ​​inspiring Hawaii to escape from reality in a public health crisis has not been recognized by everyone.

Although Hawaii is in possession of the country

, The virus destroyed the tourism industry that boosted the country’s economy, making the unemployment rate from the lowest to the highest in the country. As the number of planes decreased, the hotel was empty. Due to nearly a year of unemployment, an unprecedented number of residents are facing food insecurity.

Therefore, for the wealthy, some locals are in short supply, and Hawaii is famous for Hawaii.

Maui County Council Member Tamara Paltin said: “Participating in the community is more important than anything. I don’t want transplant residents or even tourists to be part of it.” “But this is not your escape to your own loneliness. The world, working behind a computer screen, going to the beach to drink."

However, New York State will also benefit from the squeeze of new residents, many of whom are well paid. They can help the local economy recover and compensate the state’s tax base for pandemic-related losses.

Movers and Shakas is a business-supported program designed to attract workers from remote areas to Hawaii and attract 50,000 applicants. The program is based on this idea.

George Yarbrough is the founder of Hub Coworking Hawaii, a coworking space that works with Movers and Shakas to connect participants and desks. He believes that the structured integration of outsiders with the Hawaiian community and culture provides them with opportunities to educate them about unique and strict customs and values.

Do not take mangoes from the neighbor’s yard without permission. Take off your shoes before entering the house. Don't put your butt on the picnic bench where people eat. Drive slowly. Respect the elders. Don't make a new surf break and steal all the best waves.

Yarbrough said: "In the summer, we see more and more new faces during our surf breaks on the South Bank." "Sometimes people just don't know anything."

So far, McConnell said that the reality of living in Hawaii is not far from fantasy. The state’s virus count is low, partly because the state

, So that he can freely enjoy Hawaii’s pristine, uncrowded beaches and other iconic cuisine.

McConnell said that when adapting to island life, he just wanted to adapt.

McConnell said: "I don't want to bring California to me." "I like the look here."

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