The 5 Cheapest Places to Live in Hawaii (2023)

Hawaii is the ultimate dream home for many. From its sunny, palm tree-lined beaches to lush, volcano-topped forests, there’s simply no denying the allure of the 50th state. And of course, a large part of its appeal is its location, the Pacific Ocean.So where are the cheapest places to live in Hawaii?

Hawaii’s idyllic location is also the cause of one of the biggest drawbacks to relocating to Hawaii. Its isolated geography means that any product not manufactured on the island has to be flown or shipped in, raising the costs of almost everything you need to buy.

But if you have been dreaming of moving to Aloha State, don’t let the high cost of living discourage you. Because there are plenty of cities that, while not exactly inexpensive, are still affordable. There are some gorgeous beachfront cities that hold a spot among the cheapest places to live in Hawaii. And a local Realtor can steer you towards the perfect one for you.

The 5 Cheapest Places to Live in Hawaii (1)

1. Hilo

If you want the big city lifestyle, but without the big city prices, then Hilo is the spot for you! Located on “the Big Island” (aka Hawaii), Hilo has a vibrant downtown offering shops, museums, art galleries, and restaurants.

On the nature side, Hilo is considered to be the gateway to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. It is the home of Kilauea, one of the most active volcanoes in the world, and a popular tourist attraction. Hilo’s beaches are black sand beaches, with plenty of opportunities for snorkeling and swimming. Hilo is also well known for its helicopter rides. In less than an hour, you can see a tropical rainforest and active volcanoes.

The median home price in Hilo is $318,000, which is about half of the average for the state of Hawaii. If you’d rather rent, you’re better off staying on the outskirts of Hilo. The average monthly rental for a 1-bedroom apartment in the city center is $1,143, but that price drops to $863 when you go outside the city center.

The cost of living in Hilo is also more affordable, about 28% lower than the rest of the state. If you’re relocating on a budget, you can certainly add Hilo to your list of the cheapest places to live in Hawaii.

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2. Waimalu

Honolulu might not be one of the cheapest places to live in Hawaii, but you can probably afford to live fairly close. Waimalu is just a 22-minute drive away, with easy access to Honolulu’s exciting lifestyle, but for one of the more reasonable prices on Oahu.

Waimalu is a shopping haven thanks to Pearlridge Center, the largest indoor mall in Hawaii with over 170 shops. History buffs will want to visit nearby Pearl Harbor, including the Pearl Harbor National Museum and the USS Arizona Memorial.

Although Waimalu is not a beach town, it is just minutes from Honolulu’s famed Waikiki Beach. Or, if you want something less crowded, you can head over to Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve. This undeveloped stretch of beach includes a coral reef just off-shore, perfect for snorkelers.

The median home price in Waimalu is $446,800 — much higher than the national average, yet still well below the median home price in Hawaii. Rent is also high, averaging $1,763 per month, which is over $700 more than the national average.

But is it worth it? Not only is Waimalu conveniently near Honolulu, but it also ranks high for livability. It was recently rated #1 Best Suburb for Young Professionals in Hawaii, #1 Most Diverse Suburb in Hawaii, and #1 Best Place for Young Professionals in Hawaii. All that, in one of the cheapest places in Hawaii.

3. Wailuku

Located on scenic Maui, Wailuku is a smaller city of just 16,179 residents. This charming city was once a bustling resort town, but has slowed down and is now a retreat for anyone wanting to live a more tranquil life in Hawaii.

If you’ve come to admire Hawaii’s natural beauty, you’re in luck. Nearby ‘Iao Valley State Park provides 4,000 acres of hiking through Maui. And you can indulge your arts side at First Friday in historic downtown Wailuku, attended by local artists and entertainers.

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One of the main draws of Wailuku is its small-town feel. Residents walk or bike to its many boutiques and cafes. If you decide you want a little more excitement, Kahului Airport is just a few minutes away, for a quick trip to the other islands.

Lower housing costs are one of the reasons why Wailuku is one of the cheapest places to live in Hawaii. The median home price in Wailuku is $463,500, which is higher than the rest of the nation but still lower than the average price in Hawaii. And the median monthly rent is an affordable $1,069.

4. Kailua

The 5 Cheapest Places to Live in Hawaii (2)

Kailua is home to one of Oahu’s most stunning beaches, and, surprisingly enough, it is one of the cheapest places to live in Hawaii. Kailua Beach Park is famous for its powdery-soft sand and clear blue waters. There are plenty of watersports here for even the most active visitor: kayaks, boats, wind surfing, kite surfing, and paddle boats are all available. ,

Near Kailua, tourists and residents can hike Honolulu Watershed Forest Reserve, a lush tropical forest offering gorgeous views of the island. And if you don’t mind waking up early, check out the Lanikai Pillbox hike at sunrise for stunning views over the ocean. Or challenge yourself with the steeper hike at Olomana, with equally gorgeous views.

Honolulu and Waikiki are only 30 minutes away. You will have easy access to lively shopping, dining, and entertainment options.

Don’t let Kailua’s soaring housing prices scare you! The median cost for a house is $813,600, much higher than the rest of the state. But, the average salary is also much higher than the rest of the state, $104,911. This makes Kailua actually quite affordable. And remember, that is just the median price; you can find houses for a much lower price, too.

5. Hana

One of Maui’s lesser-known gems, lush, tropical Hana will give you the laid-back beach vibe you might be expecting from Hawaii. Despite its rainy reputation, it is well-known for its unusual black and red sand beaches. It’s the kind of postcard-perfect destination Hawaii is known for.

Undeniably, though, Hana’s biggest claim to fame is the Hana Highway, aka “The Road to Hana.” It might sound unimpressive, at just 52 miles long. However, those 52 miles include 617 hairpin turns and 59 one-lane bridges. If that’s not enough to slow you down, the scenery certainly will, especially the majestic waterfalls. There are also plenty of stops along the way, with roadside stands selling leis, fresh pineapple, and banana bread, to name just a few.

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Once you’re in Hana, enjoy all it has to offer: waterfalls, beaches, and trails through rainforests can all be a part of your day.

Hana is easily one of the cheapest places to live in Hawaii. The median housing price of $459,100 is well below the state average, and the $941 median monthly rent is, too.

Hawaii might not be an inexpensive state – in fact, it’s the most expensive state in the country. But it does have quite a few options for affordable cities. And with its gorgeous landscape, friendly locals, and sunny climate, it’s hard to say no to the Aloha State. If you decide to move to Hawaii, work with a local Realtor to find the best place for your budget.

If you don’t have a real estate agent yet, you can find one through UpNest, which is owned by parent Sign up for our free service, and you will receive competitive proposals from 3 to 5 of the top agents in your local market.

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Our network agents have been carefully vetted and often offer competitive, lower than average commission rates to UpNest customers. There is no obligation to sign up with one of our network Realtors, but when you can potentially save thousands on commission – why wouldn’t you? If you’re ready to get started, just enter your zipcode below!

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How much money do you need to live comfortably in Hawaii?

Hawaii is a very expensive place to live, and you’ll need a high salary to live comfortably there. In order to live comfortably in Hawaii, some studies show that you’ll need a whoppingsalary of over $122,000.

Can you just live in Hawaii?

Yes! Hawaii is a great place to live, but if you’re planning on moving to Hawaii, you should know that things are very laid back. Also, living in Hawaii is extremely expensive, so plan accordingly.


Which Hawaiian island has the lowest cost of living? ›

Generally, the lowest housing costs are on the Big Island, which is considered the cheapest Hawaiian island to live on.

Which part of Hawaii is cheapest? ›

Oahu is the cheapest Hawaiian island to visit, with a total cost of $2,625. A Ko Olina Resort lagoon on Oahu. Maui is the most expensive island to visit, coming in nearly $1,000 more expensive, with a total cost of $3,600. The Grand Wailea in Maui, a luxury resort.

Why is Hilo so cheap? ›

Lower Tourist Population = Lower Prices

Museums, cultural centers, and historic sites abound near Hilo, with many offering cost-effective options for students and seniors along with many free events.

How much money do you need to live comfortably in Hawaii? ›

Studies have the cost of living in Honolulu requires residents to have an income of $200,000+ are required to live comfortably in the state's capital. This is subjective of course, but according the U.S. Census, Honolulu's median household income was around $80,000 in 2019.

Is Maui or Honolulu cheaper? ›

We did a full cost analysis using data from the Hawaii Tourism Authority and found that Oahu is the cheapest island to visit and Maui is the most expensive. In fact, for a one-week vacation, Oahu comes in 28% cheaper than Maui. Of course, you can find cheap places to stay on Maui and expensive places to stay on Oahu.

What island is best to move to in Hawaii? ›

Oahu is probably the most popular island to move to because of the job opportunities and salaries tend to be higher here. Oahu is Hawaiian through and through, but it also certainly has the most in common with the mainland – it's busy, fast-paced, and modern.

Can I afford to live in Hawaii? ›

Yes, most people can afford the average cost of living in Hawaii. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, households in Honolulu, Hawaii, spend $60,884 each year.

Where is the safest place to live in Hawaii? ›

Kauai is the safest island in Hawaii, with the lowest violent and property crime rate compared to other islands.

Where do the homeless live in Hawaii? ›

Oahu has the highest overall number of homeless adults, with 3,932, followed by Hawaii County (536), Maui (463) and Kauai (463). Oahu also has the greatest per capita homeless population, with 49 homeless individuals per 10,000 residents.

What is the poorest city in Hawaii? ›

Among the 10 places in Hawaii with available data and populations of at least 25,000, Hilo ranks as the poorest. The typical Hilo household earns $65,727 a year, compared to the statewide median household income of $83,173. Home values are often a reflection of what people can afford.

How to find affordable housing in Hawaii? ›

HUD helps apartment owners offer reduced rents to low-income tenants. To apply, contact or visit the management office of each apartment building that interests you. To apply for either type of help, visit your local Public Housing Agency (PHA).

Is Hilo or Kona better to live? ›

Kona offers better weather, the best beaches and snorkeling, newer resorts, more vacation rentals, and more nightlife compared to Hilo Town. Hilo is worth a visit but may not be worth staying for more than a night.

What is the cheapest island to buy land on in Hawaii? ›

Big Island is Hawaii's Most Affordable Island for Homes and Condos.

Will home prices drop in Hawaii? ›

In January 2023, home prices in Hawaii were down 4.7% compared to last year, selling for a median price. On average, the number of homes sold was down 47.5% year over year and there were 727 homes sold in January this year, down 1,385 homes sold in January last year.

Can I live in Hawaii on $3000 a month? ›

Housing Costs

A one-bedroom apartment or home can range from about $1,500 to more than $2,000 per month and a two-bedroom apartment or a house will start at $1,800 per month. Looking at a luxurious, new one-bedroom condo? Expect to fork out at least $3,000 a month.

What is a good hourly wage in Hawaii? ›

$14.03 is the 25th percentile. Wages below this are outliers. $31.89 is the 90th percentile. Wages above this are outliers.

Is it hard to get a job in Hawaii? ›

Remember that it's pretty hard to find a job on the islands even though the unemployment rate is generally low. However, this depends on your skills and the industry you are looking in. Some of the most thriving industries include tourism, health care, hospitality, IT, marketing, and property management.

Where is the cheapest place to land in Hawaii? ›

If you're traveling from the United States, Kahului is the cheapest Hawaiian city to fly into, making the Maui Kahului Airport (OGG) among the cheapest airports in Hawaii. This is a big plus to many vacationers because Maui happens to be one of the most popular vacation destinations.

Where should I move instead of Hawaii? ›

Good Hawaii alternatives include Caribbean islands like:
  • Saint Lucia.
  • Turks & Caicos.
  • Exuma (The Bahamas)
  • Jamaica.
  • Barbados.
  • Nassau (The Bahamas)
  • Antigua.
  • Grenada.
Feb 20, 2020

How much does it cost to live in Hawaii for a month? ›

Summary about cost of living in Honolulu, HI, United States: Family of four estimated monthly costs are 5,207.3$ without rent. A single person estimated monthly costs are 1,455.1$ without rent.

Can I do Hawaii on a budget? ›

Hawaii is a year-round destination, and that's good news for budget travelers. You can find deals on airfare and accommodations during the slower shoulder months — September and October, January and February, April and May — avoiding peak travel times like summer, winter and spring break.

What is a good budget for Hawaii? ›

What is the average cost for a trip to Hawaii? The average per-person cost for a Hawaii vacation is about $4000 for a one-week trip. This includes $1000 for flights, $2000 for accommodation, $550 for meals, $250 for a rental car, and $300 for tours and activities.

Is Maui colder than Oahu? ›

While Oahu is a little more basic – a wet side (Windward) and a dry side (Leeward) – Maui has a little more climate diversity and is, overall, slightly drier and hotter than Oahu. With Haleakala, in addition to having wet and dry parts of the island, Maui has a noticeable distinction in hot and cold regions as well.

Is moving to Hawaii worth it? ›

Moving to Hawaii is expensive but it can be a very rewarding place to live. The weather, outdoors life, and sunsets can be remarkable every single day. However, your taxes, housing, and overall cost of living is almost certain to increase if you're moving from most other parts of the country.

Which Hawaiian island is the friendliest? ›

Among the Hawaiian Islands, Molokai is known as the Friendly Isle, and those who live there would consider it the best island to live on by far. With many longtime families and few visitors living on remote Molokai, it is one of the most secluded Hawaiian Islands.

What is the highest paying job in Hawaii? ›

Detailed List Of Highest Paying Jobs In Hawaii
RankJob TitleAverage Salary
1Loan Servicing Specialist$329,032
2Vice President Of Application Development$251,752
3Director Of Consumer Marketing$239,829
4Chief Executive Officer And Operator$237,177
88 more rows
Apr 11, 2022

How much is a dozen of eggs in Hawaii? ›

According to Business Insider, Hawaii has the highest cost of eggs in the nation by a wide margin at $9.73 per dozen. A local restaurant said they're using about 5,000 eggs per week at their two locations.

How much do jobs pay in Hawaii? ›

As of Feb 21, 2023, the average annual pay for the Hourly Rate jobs category in Hawaii is $52,201 a year. Just in case you need a simple salary calculator, that works out to be approximately $25.10 an hour. This is the equivalent of $1,003/week or $4,350/month.

What is the nicest area to live in Hawaii? ›

Here is the full list of best places to live in Hawaii:
  • Maunawili.
  • Honolulu.
  • Kailua.
  • Hilo.
  • Mililani.
  • Waikele.
  • Pearl City.
  • Mililani Mauka.
Mar 18, 2022

Are groceries taxed in Hawaii? ›

Sales of grocery food are subject to sales tax in Hawaii.

What city in Hawaii has the highest crime rate? ›

Hilo. Hilo is a major town with a population of about 45,579. Its crime rates are 70% higher than the national average, which is very shocking.

Which Hawaiian island has the least crime? ›

If we look at the 10-year property crime average the Big Island comes in as the safest of the islands again: Big Island: 2,942. Oahu: 3,193. Kauai: 3,311.

What is the biggest problem in Hawaii? ›


In 2023, there were an estimated 10% of the state's population living below poverty level. With regards to the number of people living on the street, according to the AARP there are an estimated 3,932 homeless adults on O'ahu as of November 2022.

Which Hawaiian island has most homeless? ›

Oahu has the highest overall number of homeless adults, with 3,932, followed by Hawaii County (536), Maui (463) and Kauai (463). Oahu also has the greatest per capita homeless population, with 49 homeless individuals per 10,000 residents.

Do they fly homeless people to Hawaii? ›

The relocation program was launched in 2015 to address homelessness in Waikiki, where the population is prominent, but it has expanded to the rest of Oahu as well as Maui and Kauai. Those who returned home are a mixture of visitors and people who willingly moved to start a new life in Hawaii.

Where are the rich people in Hawaii? ›

Hawaii Loa Ridge - Considered to be one of the most premier gated communities in Oahu, Hawaii Loa Ridge is located on the south shore of Oahu about 15 minutes away from Waikiki. Lavish homes have access to the best panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and eastern Oahu.

Where do millionaires live in Hawaii? ›

Kahala - Located on the eastern end of Diamond Head, this iconic elite neighborhood has some of the most expensive real estate on the entire island--think opulent mansions and oceanfront properties with unobstructed views.

Why Hawaii has so many homeless? ›

The price of housing in Hawaii is a large factor in why the homeless population is swelling. Hawaii's housing costs are extremely high and average incomes fail to meet criteria for rentals.

Which Hawaiian island is the cheapest to live on? ›

What's the most affordable Hawaiian island to live on? The Big Island. With Hawaii's lowest average cost of living (according to MIT's Living Wage project), lowest fair market rents, and lowest typical yearly expenses, the Big Island can be the most economical island in Hawaii.

Which island in Hawaii has the cheapest houses? ›

Generally, the lowest housing costs are on the Big Island, which is considered the cheapest Hawaiian island to live on.

Who qualifies for affordable housing in Hawaii? ›

Typically, households qualify for AH rental units if they earn no more than 80 percent of the area median income (AMI) for Oahu, and qualify for AH for-sale units if they earn no more than 120 percent of the AMI.

Which Hawaii island is best for retirement? ›

Best Places to Retire in Hawaii: Maui

You'll enjoy plenty of restaurants, bars, and activities in the area, which is popular with tourists on Maui. You'll also enjoy long, gorgeous beaches perfect for a morning or evening stroll.

Can you live in Hawaii on a budget? ›

Hawaii might not be an inexpensive state – in fact, it's the most expensive state in the country. But it does have quite a few options for affordable cities. And with its gorgeous landscape, friendly locals, and sunny climate, it's hard to say no to the Aloha State.

Can I just move to Hawaii? ›

In 1959, Hawaii officially became the 50th state. As a result, anyone who has the ability to legally live in the United States—including citizens and permanent residents—can move to Hawaii. Legally, it's just like moving to any other state.

Can you retire in Hawaii on Social Security? ›

Overview of Hawaii Retirement Tax Friendliness

Hawaii entirely exempts some types of retirement income, including Social Security retirement benefits and public pension income. On the other hand, the state fully taxes income from private pensions and retirement savings accounts.

Which Hawaiian island has the best healthcare? ›

Oahu has the largest and best, state-of-the-art medical facilities in all of Hawaii.

How much income do you need to retire in Hawaii? ›

You need about $2 million to retire comfortably in Hawaii—here are the 6 other most expensive states. If you're dreaming of spending retirement lounging on one of Hawaii's pristine beaches, make sure you've saved up plenty of money.


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