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: