On March 25, 2020, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper enacted a 60-day stop-movement order for all Department of Defense (DoD) uniformed and civilian personnel and their sponsored family members overseas. Hawaii is considered an overseas assignment for the American military, known as an OCONUS (outside the contiguous United States) location. This order applies to ALL movements, including deployments and temporary duty, and not just Permanent Change of Station (PCS) movements.
The stop-movement measure is taken to aid in further prevention of the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and to protect U.S. personnel and preserve their operational readiness.
A Halt on Hawaii PCS Moves
ALL overseas PCS movement is stopped, this means any personnel that were planning to move to or from Hawaii have to remain where they were located until May 24th, which is 60 days from March 25th. Keep in mind that “peak PCS season” is typically May 15th to August 15th annually. Additionally, service members that were delayed were also given the option to extend at their current location for up to one year, which means service members that had planned on moving during the time of this order will now most likely be moving sometime within 2021.
What to Expect When the Stop Movement Order is Lifted
This backlog of people moving to or from Hawaii could lead to a sudden influx of service members and military families and possibly a high demand within a short period of time for potential active duty military home buyers. Hawaii real estate agents should be prepared for the communication demand and housing needs from service members who are interested in Hawaii home buying once they are allowed to continue with their PCS move to Hawaii.
How to Make Home Buying Easier for Military Home Buyers Post-COVID19
In order to expedite the home buying process for your military buyers, pre-approval for a VA home loan is crucial. Once a buyer is pre-approved, they are able to move through the VA loan process on their VA-approved condo or single family home purchase much more swiftly. Our advice for real estate agents is to immediately refer their active duty military and/or veteran buyer for pre-approval, so that their client can make firm offers on properties that are officially backed by their VA loan pre-approval amount.
No VA Loan Limit
Remember, there is no VA loan limit for Hawaii. Therefore, no down payment is required from military and veteran buyers as long as they have full entitlement and do not exceed their pre-approved VA loan amount.
Exceptions to the Stop-Movement Order
Within the stop-movement order, exceptions can be granted. Authorized exceptions to the order include:
- Travel by patients and medical providers for the purposes of medical treatment for DoD personnel and their families.
- Individuals who have already initiated travel.
- Additional exceptions may be granted on a case-by-case scenario where travel is deemed mission essential, humanitarian in nature or warranted due to extreme hardship.
Note: As with many military orders, this stop-movement order very well may be revised to extend past the 60 day mark, and it is best to be aware of the current events happening with the impacts to military movements.
Contact Hawaii VA Loans, Hawaii’s longest-running VA loan specialized lender, for any questions regarding VA loan pre-approval and financing.