Cheapest Places To Live In Hawaii For 2020


We used data and science to determine which places in Hawaii go easy on your wallet.

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the cheapest places to live in Hawaii.

We know it's hard to believe, but there is more to Hawaii than sunshine, surfing, and beach days. There's the need and want for affordable living in the Aloha State; and surprisingly, Hawaii has just that.

We're pretty sure there isn't a bad place to put up a hut in Hawaii; but there are some places that are super expensive, so HomeSnacks thought that we'd give you the 'ying to that yang' and let you know the most affordable places in Hawaii for 2020.

How did we determine the most affordable place in Hawaii? We consulted Hawaii's census data for 2020. We also looked at cost of living, affordable housing, and safety. There might be some that surprise you. Keep in mind, just because these places in Hawaii are affordable, doesn't mean that they're not nice. To be honest, many of our most affordable Hawaii places are on also on our best places to live in the Paradise of the Pacific. More importantly, if you choose to live in one of Hawaii's most affordable places, you will have plenty of extra money to do the fun things that Hawaii offers. Like, taking a puddle jumper from the Big Island to Maui to surf or scoring tickets to Honolulu's Ukulele Festival.

So, want to know where you can afford to splurge on the 'Big Kahuna Burger' and still be able to cover your cost of living in Hawaii? Keep reading.

While the competition was fierce, there can be only one number one most affordable to live in Hawaii for 2020. And that, folks, would be Waihee-Waiehu.

So, if you care about home values and affordability, take a look at the list below to see where your Hawaii dollar will go the furthest. And if you don't find your favorite there, head to the bottom.

And if you already knew these places were cheap, check out some more reading about Hawaii and the cheapest places in the country:

The 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Hawaii For 2020

Waihee-Waiehu, HI

Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 8,802
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.7x (2nd most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 65.0x (4th cheapest)
More On Waihee-Waiehu: Real Estate | Cost Of Living

Aloha and welcome to Waihee-Waiehu, the most affordable place to live in Hawaii for 2020. Homes in Waihee-Waiehu go for about $443,800 and the mediant rent is $1,449/month. While those numbers may seem a tad high, keep in mind that the median income in Waihee-Waiehu is $94,127, so residents have plenty of cash leftover after housing is paid for. In fact, residents of Waihee-Waiehu pay the second lowest percentage of their income on homes, and the fourth lowest on rent. Waihee-Waiehu is also home to the Waihee Ridge Trail, which will take you into the clouds to overlook the lush rainforest valley below.

Waihee-Waiehu is located in the east coast of western Maui.

The median household income in Waihee-Waiehu comes in at $94,127 and the median home value is $443,800 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 4.0%.

Hilo, HI

Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 46,284
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.3x (10th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 59.3x (13th cheapest)
More On Hilo: Real Estate | Cost Of Living

The biggest city to make this list and the third biggest city in Hawaii, Hilo ranks as the second cheapest place to live in the state. Hilo is a major tourist destination thanks to being the principal city on the Island of Hawai'i. Nature-lovers will definitely want to hit Akaka Falls State Park, while those with an interest in science or history will have a great day out at the Imiloa Astronomy Center. For both sets of people and everyone in between, Hilo has the second cheapest homes for sale in Hawaii, with a median price tag of $319,100. Talk about a sweet deal!

The median household income in Hilo comes in at $60,120 and the median home value is $319,100 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 5.8%.

Waimea Cdp (Hawaii County), HI

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 11,687
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.6x (1st most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 55.7x (22nd cheapest)
More On Waimea Cdp (Hawaii County): Real Estate

The median household income in Waimea Cdp (Hawaii County) comes in at $90,500 and the median home value is $418,000 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 5.5%.

Waianae, HI

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 14,054
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 6.1x (21st most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 60.1x (10th cheapest)
More On Waianae: Real Estate | Cost Of Living

We're taking a long swim up to O'ahu island to get to our fourth cheapest place in Hawaii, Waianae. As the only place on this list with a median rent under $1,000/month, Wainae is a great place to try Hawaii out to see if it's right for you. And if you lock down a job here, know that the median income is $59,213, which gives Wainae the tenth best rent to income ratio in the state.

And from snorkeling with the turtles at Makaha Beach to just chilling on the soft sand at Pokai Bay, we're pretty sure money troubles won't be on your mind here. If you do decide to settle down in Waianae, you're in luck, because it has the fourth cheapest homes in Hawaii.

The median household income in Waianae comes in at $59,213 and the median home value is $360,800 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 14.6%.

Kapaa, HI

Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 10,544
Rank Last Year: 20 (Up 15)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.9x (18th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 62.1x (6th cheapest)
More On Kapaa: Real Estate | Cost Of Living

We'll just keep on swimming west to the island of Kauai to reach Kapaa, the fifth most affordable place to call home in Hawaii.

You'd have a tough time believing that you're living in one of the most expensive states in America if you just moved to Kapaa. For starters, the median rent in Kapaa is $1,360, well below the statewide average. And taking into account Kapaa's median income of $84,472, residents pay the sixth smallest percentage of their salaries on rent statewide. For awesome views of Mount Waialeale and jungle valleys, definitely check out the Kuilau Ridge Trail in Kapaa.

The median household income in Kapaa comes in at $84,472 and the median home value is $499,500 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 4.5%.

Ewa Beach, HI

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 14,717
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.2x (6th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 55.4x (23rd cheapest)
More On Ewa Beach: Real Estate | Cost Of Living

We already named Ewa Beach one of the best cities for singles in Hawaii, so the fact that you can go looking for love on a budget is just icing on the cake. Homes in Ewa Beach go for about $493,000, which combined with a median income of $95,625 gives the city the sixth best home price to income ratio in Hawaii. On the other hand, Ewa Beach has the unfortunate distinction of being one of the least economical places to rent on this list.

But when you're lying on the soft sand or surfing the killer waves at White Plains Beach, we don't think the cost of rent is going to weigh heavily on your mind.

The median household income in Ewa Beach comes in at $95,625 and the median home value is $493,000 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 3.7%.

Kapolei, HI

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 21,474
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.2x (5th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 56.2x (21st cheapest)
More On Kapolei: Real Estate | Cost Of Living

Another O'ahu city and a neighbor of Ewa Beach, Kapolei ranks as the seventh least expensive place in Hawaii. Kapolei is the second fastest-growing city in Hawaii, with an incredible 40% population growth in the last 5 years. And it's not hard to see why; Kapolei residents pay the fifth smallest proportion of their income on homes statewide. And as far as bang for your buck goes, having the Ko Olina Lagoons in your backyard is a big plus.

The median household income in Kapolei comes in at $98,433 and the median home value is $507,400 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 5.9%.

Ewa Villages, HI

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 7,118
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 4)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 6.6x (25th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 76.9x (1st cheapest)
More On Ewa Villages: Real Estate | Cost Of Living

We don't have very far to travel from Kapolei to get to the eighth cheapest place in Hawaii, Ewa Villages. On the one hand, Ewa Villages does have the priciest homes on this list at $557,200. On the other hand, Ewa Villages is one of the richest places in Hawaii, so the higher cost of homes is no biggie.

In any case, you'll have no trouble joining the elite of Ewa Villages once you work on your golf game. And if you just want to try out Hawaii without committing to a mortgage, you're in luck. The median rent in Ewa Villages is $1,092/month, which is less than half the average rent in Hawaii. Even better, Ewa Villages has the best rent to income ratio in the state.

The median household income in Ewa Villages comes in at $84,008 and the median home value is $557,200 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 1.7%.

Source: Public Domain
Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 15,268
Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 4)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 6.2x (22nd most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 59.0x (16th cheapest)
More On Kailua Cdp (Hawaii County): Real Estate

The median household income in Kailua Cdp (Hawaii County) comes in at $72,019 and the median home value is $444,600 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 2.8%.

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 11,479
Rank Last Year: 9 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.9x (4th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 44.5x (46th cheapest)
More On Hawaiian Paradise Park: Real Estate | Cost Of Living

We finish our list of cheapest places to live in Hawaii in Hawaiian Paradise Park. You won't need to save up your coconuts very long to buy a home in Hawaiian Paradise Park, because the median home price here is $280,100, the lowest in the state by a very wide margin. And folks in Hawaiian Paradise Park pay the fourth smallest percentage of their income on homes statewide.

The only thing Hawaiian Paradise Park doesn't have going for it is affordable rent, which keeps it from a higher position on this list. In any case, if you do settle down here, chances are you'll have an awesome time sitting around a campfire at Kaloli Point, with all the mangoes and turtles your heart desires right at your feet.

The median household income in Hawaiian Paradise Park comes in at $56,738 and the median home value is $280,100 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 3.9%.

How We Determined The Most Affordable Places To Live In The Aloha State For 2020

Map Of The Cheapest Places To Live In Hawaii
The two most important things to think about when it comes to being able to afford if you can live comes down to:

  1. How much do money do I make?
  2. How much do I have spend to live there?

You need to understand your costs in the context of how much money you make.

For example, if the median household earns $100,000 and spends $40,000 on housing it's actually cheaper to live there than a place with a median income of $50,000 and housing costs of $21,000. You might spend more on housing, but you have more money overall to play with.

With that example in mind, we derived several statistics from the latest Census American Community Survey 2014-2018 around incomes and costs. They are:

  • Median Home Price / Median Income (lower is better)
  • Median Income / Median Rent (Higher is better)
  • Median Home Price

We added simply median home price because high home prices generally correlate with higher expenses for all costs related to homes (heating, electricity, etc).

You can then compare these metrics in each of the places in Hawaii to figure out which is the least expensive.

What you are left with is a "Cost of Living Index" by taking the average rank of each of these metrics for each city.

So we used that cost of living index in order to rank all of the 52 places in Hawaii that have more than 5,000 people.

The place with the lowest cost of living in Hawaii according to the data is Waihee-Waiehu. You can download the data here.

There You Have It Mr. Or Mrs. Hawaii Cheapskate

If you're looking at the cost of living numbers in Hawaii, this is an accurate list of the most affordable places to live in Hawaii for 2020.

Here's a look at the most expensive cities in Hawaii according to the data:

  1. Wailea
  2. Kailua CDP (Honolulu County)
  3. Urban Honolulu

For more Hawaii reading, check out:

The Most Affordable Places To Live In Hawaii

Rank City CheapScore Population Home/Income Ratio Income/Rent Ratio
1 Waihee-Waiehu 5.33 8,802 4.7x 65.0x
2 Hilo 8.33 46,284 5.3x 59.3x
3 Waimea Cdp (Hawaii County) 10.0 11,687 4.6x 55.7x
4 Waianae 11.67 14,054 6.1x 60.1x
5 Kapaa 13.33 10,544 5.9x 62.1x
6 Ewa Beach 14.33 14,717 5.2x 55.4x
7 Kapolei 14.33 21,474 5.2x 56.2x
8 Ewa Villages 16.33 7,118 6.6x 76.9x
9 Kailua Cdp (Hawaii County) 16.67 15,268 6.2x 59.0x
10 Hawaiian Paradise Park 17.0 11,479 4.9x 44.5x
11 Waikoloa Village 17.33 6,412 5.8x 54.6x
12 Ewa Gentry 18.0 25,752 5.2x 54.2x
13 Kahului 19.33 32,312 6.9x 66.8x
14 Waikele 20.0 7,062 4.8x 47.7x
15 Waimanalo 20.0 6,135 6.8x 73.1x
16 Waimalu 20.67 13,384 5.3x 46.5x
17 Nanakuli 20.67 11,742 5.3x 42.6x
18 Hanamaulu 21.0 5,422 7.7x 60.6x
19 Makakilo 21.33 20,920 5.5x 56.6x
20 Maili 21.33 10,792 5.2x 44.8x
21 Waipio Acres 22.33 5,443 5.5x 42.9x
22 Ahuimanu 23.67 8,239 6.4x 63.0x
23 Waipio 24.0 11,508 6.0x 49.7x
24 Kalaoa 25.0 11,604 7.0x 53.9x
25 Wailuku 26.0 17,354 7.7x 58.9x
26 Lihue 27.67 7,381 8.1x 59.8x
27 Makawao 28.33 7,570 7.5x 59.2x
28 Waipahu 28.67 40,427 7.7x 59.2x
29 Holualoa 28.67 9,136 6.7x 49.5x
30 Kalaheo 29.67 5,224 7.4x 61.7x
31 Mililani Town 29.67 27,926 6.5x 51.7x
32 Pukalani 30.0 7,769 7.8x 61.8x
33 Royal Kunia 30.0 14,449 5.5x 47.4x
34 Halawa 31.0 14,640 6.9x 56.7x
35 Makaha 31.33 8,740 7.4x 38.7x
36 Mililani Mauka 32.33 19,955 6.0x 48.9x
37 Lahaina 32.67 13,103 8.5x 59.4x
38 Wailua Homesteads 33.0 5,900 7.2x 51.5x
39 Pearl City 33.33 46,129 6.9x 50.6x
40 Ocean Pointe 33.67 14,037 5.5x 39.6x
41 Kihei 34.33 21,879 7.7x 47.7x
42 Kaneohe 34.33 33,739 6.9x 54.9x
43 Laie 36.0 6,111 7.4x 55.0x
44 Wahiawa 37.0 17,422 8.9x 48.5x
45 Kula 40.33 7,541 11.6x 57.2x
46 East Honolulu 41.33 47,770 7.3x 47.6x
47 Napili-Honokowai 42.33 7,258 8.3x 43.1x
48 Aiea 43.67 9,439 7.3x 44.4x
49 Haiku-Pauwela 44.0 8,061 8.9x 49.0x
50 Urban Honolulu 44.67 350,003 9.5x 47.0x
51 Kailua Cdp (Honolulu County) 47.67 36,662 8.3x 46.1x
52 Wailea 52.67 5,656 13.8x 38.9x

How Is The Area In ?

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.