10 Most Expensive Places To Live In Hawaii For 2019


We used science and data to determine which cities in Hawaii that will put a big dent in your wallet.

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2019. This is our fourth time ranking the most expensive places to live in Hawaii.

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Everyone wants a home that mixes affordability with comfort and Hawaii does this very well. Families love the Aloha State’s beaches, midlands, and mountains as tourists before moving here and calling it home.

But before you decide to relocate, you have to do some research into the exact cost of living around the state — and that’s how we’re going to help you.

These are the places in Hawaii that cost a pretty penny — the most expensive cities in the state.

After we saved up for months and could finally afford it, we landed on this list of the ten most expensive cities in Hawaii for 2019.

So where is the most expensive place to live in Hawaii? That would be Wailea.

So hopefully Hilo (the cheapest place to live in Hawaii) can show these guys how to live on a budget in the coming years. Read on for how these places had costs rise faster than inflation.

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

The 10 Most Expensive Places To Live In Hawaii For 2019

Wailea, HI

Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 5,602
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 13.6x (1st most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 38.1x (3rd most expensive)
More on Wailea: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Wailea comes in at $68,675 and the median home value is $936,400 for 2019.

East Honolulu, HI

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 47,868
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 7.4x (15th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 44.2x (8th most expensive)
More on East Honolulu: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in East Honolulu comes in at $120,233 and the median home value is $888,400 for 2019.

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 350,788
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 9.6x (3rd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 46.6x (13th most expensive)
More on Urban Honolulu: Real Estate | Data

The median income in Urban Honolulu comes in at $65,707 and the median home value is $628,300 for 2019.

Source: Public Domain
Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 38,088
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 7.9x (10th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 49.2x (19th most expensive)
More on Kailua Cdp (Honolulu County): Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Kailua Cdp (Honolulu County) comes in at $114,381 and the median home value is $901,200 for 2019.

Wahiawa, HI

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 17,555
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 9.1x (4th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 45.2x (11th most expensive)
More on Wahiawa: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Wahiawa comes in at $57,910 and the median home value is $526,800 for 2019.

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 6,212
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 7.9x (9th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 49.0x (17th most expensive)
More on Wailua Homesteads: Real Estate | Data

The median income in Wailua Homesteads comes in at $76,250 and the median home value is $601,200 for 2019.

Kaneohe, HI

Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 34,123
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 7.1x (20th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 49.0x (18th most expensive)
More on Kaneohe: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Kaneohe comes in at $97,598 and the median home value is $697,000 for 2019.

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 5,416
Rank Last Year: 15 (Up 7)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 7.9x (8th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 53.7x (30th most expensive)
More on Kalaheo: Real Estate | Data

The median income in Kalaheo comes in at $84,828 and the median home value is $672,600 for 2019.

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 7,520
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 10.4x (2nd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 59.2x (41st most expensive)
More on Kula: Real Estate | Data

The median income in Kula comes in at $82,468 and the median home value is $858,200 for 2019.

Aiea, HI

Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 9,332
Rank Last Year: 18 (Up 8)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 7.3x (19th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 53.2x (27th most expensive)
More on Aiea: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Aiea is a census-designated place located in the City and County of Honolulu, Hawaii, United States. As of the 2010 Census, the CDP had a total population of 9,338.

The median income in Aiea comes in at $104,214 and the median home value is $756,200 for 2019.

How We Determined The Most Expensive Places To Live In The Aloha State For 2019

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 2013-2017 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 most 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 50 places in Hawaii that have more than 5,000 people.

The place with the highest cost of living in Hawaii according to the data is Wailea.

Taking A Chunk Out Of Your Paycheck In Hawaii For 2019

Well there you have it, the places in Hawaii that have the highest cost of living, with Wailea ranking as the most expensive city in the Aloha State.

Here’s a look at the most affordable cities in Hawaii according to the data:

  1. Hilo
  2. Waianae
  3. Ewa Villages

For more Hawaii reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Most Expensive Cities In Hawaii

Rank City ExpensiveScore Population Home/Income Ratio Income/Rent Ratio
1 Wailea 1.67 5,602 13.6x 38.1x
2 East Honolulu 8.67 47,868 7.4x 44.2x
3 Urban Honolulu 9.33 350,788 9.6x 46.6x
4 Kailua Cdp (Honolulu County) 10.33 38,088 7.9x 49.2x
5 Wahiawa 14.0 17,555 9.1x 45.2x
6 Wailua Homesteads 14.33 6,212 7.9x 49.0x
7 Kaneohe 14.67 34,123 7.1x 49.0x
8 Kalaheo 15.0 5,416 7.9x 53.7x
9 Kula 15.67 7,520 10.4x 59.2x
10 Aiea 17.0 9,332 7.3x 53.2x
11 Pearl City 17.33 46,259 6.9x 47.9x
12 Makaha 19.0 8,832 7.9x 41.9x
13 Ocean Pointe 20.0 13,579 5.4x 41.3x
14 Lahaina 20.67 13,223 8.2x 58.4x
15 Kihei 20.67 22,220 7.4x 49.3x
16 Makawao 21.67 6,832 8.1x 56.5x
17 Halawa 22.67 14,335 7.1x 58.3x
18 Mililani Mauka 22.67 20,393 5.7x 50.9x
19 Mililani Town 23.33 28,343 6.3x 50.5x
20 Holualoa 24.0 8,732 6.7x 48.7x
21 Royal Kunia 24.0 14,396 5.4x 48.1x
22 Maili 24.33 10,190 6.1x 36.1x
23 Lihue 24.67 7,064 8.3x 62.8x
24 Pukalani 25.33 8,340 7.7x 66.1x
25 Ahuimanu 25.67 8,085 6.1x 55.4x
26 Waipahu 26.0 41,715 7.6x 59.2x
27 Waimanalo 26.33 6,578 7.7x 64.7x
28 Waipio 26.67 11,607 6.2x 50.1x
29 Laie 26.67 6,168 7.0x 65.6x
30 Waipio Acres 28.33 5,432 5.8x 42.1x
31 Kalaoa 28.33 11,107 7.3x 56.5x
32 Kapaa 30.0 10,505 6.7x 54.5x
33 Makakilo 30.33 20,615 5.4x 54.7x
34 Waikele 31.0 7,446 4.9x 45.0x
35 Kahului 31.0 30,706 7.1x 64.4x
36 Ewa Gentry 32.67 24,181 5.1x 51.8x
37 Waimalu 33.0 13,158 5.2x 46.5x
38 Kailua Cdp (Hawaii County) 33.33 14,140 6.6x 56.4x
39 Hanamaulu 33.33 5,386 7.3x 60.8x
40 Hawaiian Beaches 33.67 5,302 4.8x 32.4x
41 Wailuku 34.33 16,995 6.9x 61.6x
42 Nanakuli 34.33 11,757 4.8x 42.7x
43 Hawaiian Paradise Park 35.33 11,564 4.9x 44.9x
44 Kapolei 35.33 21,086 5.0x 52.8x
45 Waikoloa Village 35.67 6,014 5.5x 53.5x
46 Ewa Beach 36.33 15,047 5.3x 53.5x
47 Waimea Cdp (Hawaii County) 36.33 12,064 5.4x 52.4x
48 Ewa Villages 37.67 8,087 6.2x 74.3x
49 Waianae 39.67 13,636 5.6x 57.0x
50 Hilo 42.67 45,703 5.4x 57.8x

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.