Most Expensive Places To Live In Hawaii For 2020


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 2020. This is our sixth 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 2020.

So where is the most expensive place to live in Hawaii? That would be Wailea.
the 2014-2018 American Community Survey for the 49 places in Hawaii with more than 5,000 people.

What's the most expensive place to live in Hawaii? Well, HomeSnacks crunched the numbers and discovered that Wailea is the most expensive place to live in Hawaii.

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 2020

Wailea, HI

Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 5,656
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 13.8x (1st most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 38.9x (5th most expensive)
More on Wailea: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Wailea comes in at $72,072 and the median home value is $994,000 for 2020.

Source: Public Domain
Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 36,662
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 8.3x (7th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 46.1x (13th most expensive)
More on Kailua Cdp (Honolulu County): Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Kailua Cdp (Honolulu County) comes in at $112,797 and the median home value is $938,200 for 2020.

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 350,003
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 9.5x (3rd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 47.0x (15th most expensive)
More on Urban Honolulu: Real Estate | Data

The median income in Urban Honolulu comes in at $68,873 and the median home value is $652,200 for 2020.

Aiea, HI

Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 9,439
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 7.3x (19th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 44.4x (10th 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 $106,556 and the median home value is $780,400 for 2020.

East Honolulu, HI

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 47,770
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 8)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 7.3x (20th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 47.6x (17th most expensive)
More on East Honolulu: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in East Honolulu comes in at $126,608 and the median home value is $921,200 for 2020.

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 7,541
Rank Last Year: 9 (Down 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 11.6x (2nd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 57.2x (39th most expensive)
More on Kula: Real Estate | Data

The median income in Kula comes in at $80,581 and the median home value is $932,600 for 2020.

Wahiawa, HI

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 17,422
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 7)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 8.9x (4th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 48.5x (20th most expensive)
More on Wahiawa: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Wahiawa comes in at $62,987 and the median home value is $562,700 for 2020.

Laie, HI

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 6,111
Rank Last Year: 28 (Up 15)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 7.4x (16th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 55.0x (33rd most expensive)
More on Laie: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Laie is a census-designated place located in the Koolauloa District on the island of Oahu in Honolulu County, Hawaii, United States. In Hawaiian, lie means "ie leaf". The population was 6,138 at the 2010 census.

The median income in Laie comes in at $95,304 and the median home value is $709,100 for 2020.

Kihei, HI

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 21,879
Rank Last Year: 14 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 7.7x (11th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 47.7x (19th most expensive)
More on Kihei: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Kihei comes in at $72,152 and the median home value is $556,100 for 2020.

Kaneohe, HI

Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 33,739
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 7)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 6.9x (23rd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 54.9x (32nd most expensive)
More on Kaneohe: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Kaneohe comes in at $104,784 and the median home value is $728,200 for 2020.

How We Determined The Most Expensive 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 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 49 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. You can download the data here.

Taking A Chunk Out Of Your Paycheck In Hawaii For 2020

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. Waimea CDP (Hawaii County)
  3. Waianae

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 2.33 5,656 13.8x 38.9x
2 Kailua Cdp (Honolulu County) 7.33 36,662 8.3x 46.1x
3 Urban Honolulu 10.33 350,003 9.5x 47.0x
4 Aiea 11.33 9,439 7.3x 44.4x
5 East Honolulu 13.67 47,770 7.3x 47.6x
6 Kula 14.67 7,541 11.6x 57.2x
7 Wahiawa 18.0 17,422 8.9x 48.5x
8 Laie 19.0 6,111 7.4x 55.0x
9 Kihei 20.67 21,879 7.7x 47.7x
10 Kaneohe 20.67 33,739 6.9x 54.9x
11 Ocean Pointe 21.33 14,037 5.5x 39.6x
12 Pearl City 21.67 46,129 6.9x 50.6x
13 Wailua Homesteads 22.0 5,900 7.2x 51.5x
14 Lahaina 22.33 13,103 8.5x 59.4x
15 Mililani Mauka 22.67 19,955 6.0x 48.9x
16 Makaha 23.67 8,740 7.4x 38.7x
17 Halawa 24.0 14,640 6.9x 56.7x
18 Royal Kunia 25.0 14,449 5.5x 47.4x
19 Pukalani 25.0 7,769 7.8x 61.8x
20 Kalaheo 25.33 5,224 7.4x 61.7x
21 Mililani Town 25.33 27,926 6.5x 51.7x
22 Holualoa 26.33 9,136 6.7x 49.5x
23 Waipahu 26.33 40,427 7.7x 59.2x
24 Makawao 26.67 7,570 7.5x 59.2x
25 Lihue 27.33 7,381 8.1x 59.8x
26 Wailuku 29.0 17,354 7.7x 58.9x
27 Kalaoa 30.0 11,604 7.0x 53.9x
28 Waipio 31.0 11,508 6.0x 49.7x
29 Ahuimanu 31.33 8,239 6.4x 63.0x
30 Waipio Acres 32.67 5,443 5.5x 42.9x
31 Makakilo 33.67 20,920 5.5x 56.6x
32 Maili 33.67 10,792 5.2x 44.8x
33 Hanamaulu 34.0 5,422 7.7x 60.6x
34 Waimalu 34.33 13,384 5.3x 46.5x
35 Nanakuli 34.33 11,742 5.3x 42.6x
36 Waimanalo 35.0 6,135 6.8x 73.1x
37 Waikele 35.0 7,062 4.8x 47.7x
38 Kahului 35.67 32,312 6.9x 66.8x
39 Ewa Gentry 37.0 25,752 5.2x 54.2x
40 Waikoloa Village 37.67 6,412 5.8x 54.6x
41 Hawaiian Paradise Park 38.0 11,479 4.9x 44.5x
42 Kailua Cdp (Hawaii County) 38.33 15,268 6.2x 59.0x
43 Ewa Villages 38.67 7,118 6.6x 76.9x
44 Ewa Beach 40.67 14,717 5.2x 55.4x
45 Kapolei 40.67 21,474 5.2x 56.2x
46 Kapaa 41.67 10,544 5.9x 62.1x
47 Waianae 43.33 14,054 6.1x 60.1x
48 Waimea Cdp (Hawaii County) 45.0 11,687 4.6x 55.7x
49 Hilo 46.67 46,284 5.3x 59.3x

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.