Suzanne  Smith


Principal  Broker, Realtor

Suzanne  Smith  Associates


Real Estate Ownership in Hawaii

Land in Hawaii that is available for private ownership is relatively small. The Federal, State, and County governments own about 40% of the state’s land . Of the remaining 60%, large estates own around 20%.

Some of these large estates’ lands are leased to the public for a fixed time period.

Unlike most of the country, Hawaii still has "leasehold land tenure" for residential property. Lease land "owners" actually have a right-to-use the land, and may own the structures on it, but not the land itself. They have the right to use the land for the term of the lease. In return for the right to use the property, the lessor (or landowner) collects a lease rent monthly.

When the lease expires, the lessee (or tenant/structure owner) may be called upon to vacate the property. In most cases a new lease agreement is reached for another fixed term, based on the value of the land at the time of renewal.

Ownership of the land itself is called owning the "fee interest."

The lessor (landowner) may sell the lessee (tenant/structure owner) the land or "fee interest" in what is called a "fee purchase."

Prices and tax consequences vary for these different ownership or "land tenure" types. Please consult your attorney or CPA to be sure what works best for you.

Please call if you would like further explanation on any of this: (808) 922-3100.



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