The 10 Most Expensive Places To Live In Hawaii For 2021


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

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Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the most expensive places to live in Hawaii.

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 2021.

So where is the most expensive place to live in Hawaii? That would be Kaneohe Station.
the 2015-2019 American Community Survey for the 54 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 Kaneohe Station 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 2021

1. Kaneohe StationKaneohe Station, HI

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 11,289
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 17.8x (most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 19.2x (2nd most expensive)
More on Kaneohe Station: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Kaneohe Station comes in at $59,939 and the median home value is $1,069,400 for 2021.

2. WaileaWailea, HI

Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 6,218
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 12.7x (3rd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 43.3x (11th most expensive)
More on Wailea: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Wailea comes in at $81,932 and the median home value is $1,042,100 for 2021.

3. Kailua Cdp (Honolulu County)

Source: Public Domain
Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 37,586
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 8.4x (10th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 45.7x (13th most expensive)
More on Kailua Cdp (Honolulu County): Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Kailua Cdp (Honolulu County) comes in at $114,292 and the median home value is $959,200 for 2021.

4. Haiku-PauwelaHaiku-Pauwela, HI

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 8,987
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 9.0x (7th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 46.1x (15th most expensive)
More on Haiku-Pauwela: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Haiku-Pauwela comes in at $88,093 and the median home value is $793,800 for 2021.

5. Napili-HonokowaiNapili-Honokowai, HI

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 6,739
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 8.9x (8th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 42.7x (10th most expensive)
More on Napili-Honokowai: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Napili-Honokowai comes in at $73,970 and the median home value is $654,900 for 2021.

6. Urban Honolulu

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 348,985
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 9.6x (4th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 47.9x (20th most expensive)
More on Urban Honolulu: Real Estate | Data

The median income in Urban Honolulu comes in at $71,465 and the median home value is $683,000 for 2021.

7. Kula

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 7,621
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 13.7x (2nd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 53.4x (35th most expensive)
More on Kula: Real Estate | Data

The median income in Kula comes in at $76,509 and the median home value is $1,047,100 for 2021.

8. AieaAiea, HI

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 9,638
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 7.5x (19th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 46.7x (17th most expensive)
More on Aiea: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Aiea comes in at $110,031 and the median home value is $825,300 for 2021.

9. PukalaniPukalani, HI

Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 7,695
Rank Last Year: 23 (Up 12)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 7.8x (15th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 47.7x (19th most expensive)
More on Pukalani: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Pukalani comes in at $86,018 and the median home value is $674,300 for 2021.

10. East HonoluluEast Honolulu, HI

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 47,540
Rank Last Year: 10 (Down 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 7.2x (24th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 49.9x (28th most expensive)
More on East Honolulu: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in East Honolulu comes in at $133,165 and the median home value is $959,800 for 2021.

How We Determined The Most Expensive Places To Live In The Aloha State For 2021

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 2015-2019 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 54 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 Kaneohe Station. You can download the data here.

Taking A Chunk Out Of Your Paycheck In Hawaii For 2021

Well there you have it, the places in Hawaii that have the highest cost of living, with Kaneohe Station 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. Waihee-Waiehu
  3. Waimea CDP (Hawaii County)

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 Kaneohe Station 1.33 11,289 17.8x 19.2x
2 Wailea 5.67 6,218 12.7x 43.3x
3 Kailua Cdp (Honolulu County) 9.33 37,586 8.4x 45.7x
4 Haiku-Pauwela 9.67 8,987 9.0x 46.1x
5 Napili-Honokowai 12.67 6,739 8.9x 42.7x
6 Urban Honolulu 13.0 348,985 9.6x 47.9x
7 Kula 13.0 7,621 13.7x 53.4x
8 Aiea 14.0 9,638 7.5x 46.7x
9 Pukalani 16.67 7,695 7.8x 47.7x
10 East Honolulu 18.67 47,540 7.2x 49.9x
11 Laie 18.67 5,704 7.9x 53.2x
12 Lahaina 20.0 12,776 9.1x 56.9x
13 Wahiawa 20.0 17,122 9.5x 48.2x
14 Halawa 22.0 14,453 7.8x 57.4x
15 Ocean Pointe 22.33 14,989 5.5x 39.8x
16 Makaha 23.0 8,404 7.9x 34.8x
17 Holualoa 24.67 9,688 7.2x 49.8x
18 Kaneohe 24.67 33,841 7.1x 55.6x
19 Wailua Homesteads 24.67 6,117 6.7x 47.5x
20 Kihei 24.67 22,402 7.5x 48.0x
21 Lihue 25.0 7,267 7.8x 53.2x
22 Mililani Mauka 26.33 20,090 6.0x 51.6x
23 Waipahu 26.33 39,469 8.0x 58.2x
24 Pearl City 26.67 45,605 6.7x 52.4x
25 Ahuimanu 27.33 8,023 6.3x 55.5x
26 Mililani Town 28.0 27,562 6.4x 51.8x
27 Kalaheo 29.67 5,487 7.4x 68.6x
28 Royal Kunia 32.0 14,565 5.4x 49.1x
29 Wailuku 33.67 17,708 7.4x 57.3x
30 Maili 34.0 11,437 5.3x 41.7x
31 Waipio 34.67 11,469 6.0x 49.2x
32 Makawao 35.0 7,341 7.3x 61.6x
33 Waimalu 35.67 14,043 5.5x 46.0x
34 Ewa Villages 35.67 6,585 7.7x 69.7x
35 Hawaiian Paradise Park 35.67 11,202 5.5x 42.0x
36 Kalaoa 36.33 11,729 7.1x 59.1x
37 Kahului 36.67 31,336 7.0x 64.0x
38 Waikoloa Village 38.33 6,549 5.8x 49.4x
39 Kapolei 38.33 21,674 5.5x 54.8x
40 Waikele 38.33 7,442 4.7x 46.4x
41 Makakilo 38.67 19,775 5.5x 58.2x
42 Waipio Acres 38.67 5,451 5.1x 44.9x
43 Hanamaulu 41.0 5,150 6.7x 60.9x
44 Ewa Gentry 42.33 25,641 5.1x 56.4x
45 Kailua Cdp (Hawaii County) 42.33 15,231 6.4x 59.8x
46 Waimanalo 42.33 5,538 5.9x 79.5x
47 West Loch Estate 42.33 6,139 5.7x 86.0x
48 Nanakuli 43.0 11,461 4.9x 48.0x
49 Ewa Beach 43.67 14,479 5.5x 59.7x
50 Kapaa 43.67 10,580 6.0x 65.5x
51 Waianae 46.33 13,609 6.0x 62.4x
52 Waimea Cdp (Hawaii County) 48.33 11,908 4.9x 58.0x
53 Waihee-Waiehu 50.0 9,319 5.2x 74.3x
54 Hilo 51.0 45,056 5.2x 60.6x

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.