Homebuyer Help From Hawaii State Government

Buying a home in Hawaii can be a challenge, due to the high cost of real estate. But there are two state government programs that can help make the purchase of a home a little more affordable for low- to moderate-income homebuyers. (Please note that these programs cannot be used in conjunction with each other, so you may participate in only one program at the same time.)

Hula Mae Program

If your income and the purchase price of the home you want meet eligibility limits, you may qualify for a low-interest Hula Mae mortgage loan. Single family homes, condos, and townhouses (new construction or existing properties) are all eligible, as long as they’re located within the state of Hawaii, and as long as you remain the owner-occupant throughout the term of the loan. Leasehold properties are also eligible, as long as there are at least 35 years left on the lease and the rent is fixed for at least 10 years from the date of the loan.


Just be aware that if you sell the property at a gain within nine years and your income has increased above a certain level, you will be subject to a federal tax increase in the year you sell the home in order to recapture the tax benefit of the Hula Mae loan.

Currently, the purchase price limit for a fee simple, fully constructed property in Honolulu County, Kauai County, or Maui County is $644,429 (Hawaii County’s limit is $505,125). Purchase price limits for leaseholds and uncompleted properties are subject to adjustments.

Currently, income eligibility limits for the Hula Mae program are:

  • Honolulu County: $85,560 (household of 1-2); $99,820 (household of 3+)
  • Maui County: $83,040 (household of 1-2); $96,880 (household of 3+)
  • Kauai County: $77,520 (household of 1-2); $90,440 (household of 3+)
  • Hawaii County: $71,880 (household of 1-2); $83,860 (household of 3+)

For all the details on eligibility requirements and a list of participating lenders, visit the Hula Mae Program webpage published by the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation.

Mortgage Credit Certificate Program

The Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) program gives eligible homebuyers an annual federal tax credit equal to 20% of their annual mortgage interest, for as long as the home remains their principal residence. The remaining 80% of their mortgage interest can still be counted as an itemized deduction.

The MCC program is a terrific tax credit, but it does come with several eligibility requirements and restrictions:

  • You must use an MCC-participating lender.
  • Hula Mae loans are not eligible.
  • If you’ve owned a home in the last three years, you’re not eligible.
  • Like the Hula Mae program, if you sell the home within nine years at a gain and your income has increased above a certain level, you’ll be subject to a federal income tax increase to recapture the MCC subsidy.
  • Purchase price limits for a fully completed, fee simple property (new or existing construction) are currently:
    • Honolulu County: $793,750
    • Maui County: $790,000
    • Kauai County: $773,750
    • Hawaii County: $618,750

    (Purchase price limits for leaseholds and uncompleted properties are subject to adjustments.)

  • Current income limits are:
    • Honolulu County: $98,040 (household of 1-2); $114,380 (household of 3+)
    • Maui County: $91,200 (household of 1-2); $106,400 (household of 3+)
    • Kauai County: $84,720 (household of 1-2); $98,840 (household of 3+)
    • Hawaii County: $80,040 (household of 1-2); $93,380 (household of 3+)

For complete details on the MCC program, including a list of participating lenders, visit the Mortgage Credit Certificate Program webpage published by the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation.