Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) Properties
DHHL properties are designated for persons of Hawaiian ancestry. Department of Hawaiian Homelands properties are leasehold - that is, a "buyer" purchases a long-term lease to use the property. Thus, the "buyer" is a lessee (Department of Hawaiian Home lands is the lessor).
Eligibility Requirements for DHHL properties
Eligible buyers must be at least 18 years old and be native Hawaiian, defined as “any descendant of not less than one-half part of the blood of the races inhabiting the Hawaiian Islands previous to 1778.” In other words a buyer must have at least 50% percent Hawaiian ancestry.
There are exceptions to the 50% requirement. A grandparent or parent with at least 50% Hawaiian may transfer their DHHL property to a person with 25% or more Hawaiian ancestry. Siblings and spouses may also transfer their DHHL properties to persons with at least 25% Hawaiian ancestry.
An individual can determine his or her eligibility by tracing ancestry through documentation such as birth certificates. If a parent or other relative has leased DHHL properties, your link to that person may help establish geneology. DHHL requires a potential lessee's ancestry be proven - there are no provisions for persons working on proving their ancestry.
The best position for a prospective buyer is to be on the DHHL list. If you're "on the list" then DHHL has determined that you're eligible. To get on the list, please contact the Department of Hawaiian Homelands (DHHL).
Financing your Hawaiian Homelands purchase
There are limited financing options for Hawaiian Homelands mortgages. Check with your local mortgage lender or contact me for a list of lenders we've worked with.
Appraisals can be a sticking point. Leasehold properties are appraised for the value of the house or other structure on them - the land value is not included in the appraisal. High demand and limited supply of DHHL properties has pushed selling prices above appraised values for many of the transactions. Buyers should prepare for this and save cash or get cash from other sources - family members, government grants etc. Sellers might be negotiable and willing to reduce the price to help meet the appraised value however we can't count on it.
Cash is king! If you can buy a DHHL property in cash then there is no issue with an appraisal.
How to find Department of Hawaiian Homelands listings
Our leasehold homes page has Department of Hawaiian Homelands and other leasehold listings.
Mike Bates (Realtor Associate)
Century 21 iProperties Hawaii
1585 Kapiolani Blvd #1533
Honolulu, HI 96814