The 10 Most Expensive Places To Live In Hawaii For 2023


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 2023. This is our tenth 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 2023.

So where is the most expensive place to live in Hawaii? That would be Wailea.
the 2017-2021 American Community Survey for the 50 places in Hawaii with more than 5,000 people.

Here are the 10 most expensive places to live in Hawaii for 2023:

  1. Wailea
  2. Haiku-Pauwela
  3. Laie
  4. Kula
  5. Kailua CDP (Honolulu County)
  6. Aiea
  7. Urban Honolulu
  8. Kahaluu-Keauhou
  9. Lahaina
  10. East Honolulu

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 Hawaiian Paradise Park (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 2023

1. Wailea

Wailea, HI

Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 6,546
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 13.3x (most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 38.4x (5th most expensive)
More on Wailea: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Wailea comes in at $84,118 and the median home value is $1,122,000 for 2023.

2. Haiku-Pauwela

Haiku-Pauwela, HI

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 9,347
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 9.8x (3rd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 39.5x (7th most expensive)
More on Haiku-Pauwela: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Haiku-Pauwela comes in at $87,072 and the median home value is $849,900 for 2023.

3. Laie

Laie, HI

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 6,436
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 9.3x (6th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 47.2x (17th most expensive)
More on Laie: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Laie comes in at $101,011 and the median home value is $937,000 for 2023.

4. Kula

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 7,495
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 12.2x (2nd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 50.3x (25th most expensive)
More on Kula: Real Estate | Data

The median income in Kula comes in at $86,938 and the median home value is $1,061,000 for 2023.

5. Kailua Cdp (Honolulu County)

Source: Public Domain
Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 40,402
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 8.0x (11th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 49.4x (22nd most expensive)
More on Kailua Cdp (Honolulu County): Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Kailua Cdp (Honolulu County) comes in at $133,327 and the median home value is $1,065,500 for 2023.

6. Aiea

Aiea, HI

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 9,527
Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 4)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 7.6x (17th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 45.4x (13th most expensive)
More on Aiea: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Aiea comes in at $114,359 and the median home value is $867,100 for 2023.

7. Urban Honolulu

Urban Honolulu, HI

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 351,554
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 5)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 9.5x (4th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 47.2x (18th most expensive)
More on Urban Honolulu: Real Estate | Data

The median income in Urban Honolulu comes in at $76,495 and the median home value is $726,000 for 2023.

8. Kahaluu-Keauhou

Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 7,236
Rank Last Year: 9 (Down 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 8.1x (10th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 42.4x (8th most expensive)
More on Kahaluu-Keauhou: Real Estate | Data

The median income in Kahaluu-Keauhou comes in at $79,742 and the median home value is $647,000 for 2023.

9. Lahaina

Lahaina, HI

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 13,261
Rank Last Year: 10 (Down 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 9.0x (7th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 47.3x (19th most expensive)
More on Lahaina: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Lahaina comes in at $80,035 and the median home value is $720,500 for 2023.

10. East Honolulu

East Honolulu, HI

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 50,076
Rank Last Year: 12 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 7.0x (23rd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 47.5x (20th most expensive)
More on East Honolulu: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in East Honolulu comes in at $139,041 and the median home value is $970,800 for 2023.

Methodology: How We Determined The Most Expensive Places To Live In The Aloha State For 2023

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 2017-2021 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. You can download the data here.

Summary: Taking A Chunk Out Of Your Paycheck In Hawaii For 2023

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. Hawaiian Paradise Park
  2. Hilo
  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 6,546 13.3x 38.4x
2 Haiku-Pauwela 6.33 9,347 9.8x 39.5x
3 Laie 9.67 6,436 9.3x 47.2x
4 Kula 10.0 7,495 12.2x 50.3x
5 Kailua Cdp (Honolulu County) 11.67 40,402 8.0x 49.4x
6 Aiea 12.33 9,527 7.6x 45.4x
7 Urban Honolulu 13.0 351,554 9.5x 47.2x
8 Kahaluu-Keauhou 14.33 7,236 8.1x 42.4x
9 Lahaina 14.67 13,261 9.0x 47.3x
10 East Honolulu 15.67 50,076 7.0x 47.5x
11 Kihei 18.67 22,840 7.7x 46.3x
12 Makaha 20.0 9,710 8.2x 29.2x
13 Halawa 21.0 14,990 8.7x 62.7x
14 Ocean Pointe 21.33 16,676 5.5x 38.4x
15 Napili-Honokowai 21.67 6,762 7.1x 49.5x
16 Mililani Town 22.0 27,974 6.8x 52.8x
17 West Loch Estate 22.0 6,239 5.9x 44.3x
18 Pearl City 22.67 45,941 6.7x 51.3x
19 Mililani Mauka 23.0 21,657 6.4x 52.8x
20 Lihue 24.0 8,371 7.7x 52.9x
21 Kaneohe 24.67 34,509 7.0x 60.0x
22 Waipahu 26.0 39,927 7.9x 60.2x
23 Pukalani 26.67 7,315 7.3x 63.7x
24 Wailua Homesteads 27.0 6,634 6.6x 59.1x
25 Ewa Villages 28.0 6,657 9.4x 63.7x
26 Wahiawa 29.0 17,357 7.6x 54.2x
27 Wailuku 30.67 15,670 7.2x 55.7x
28 Kahului 30.67 27,938 7.6x 60.7x
29 Waimalu 31.0 13,818 5.8x 44.9x
30 Waimea Cdp (Hawaii County) 31.33 10,422 6.0x 48.2x
31 Kailua Cdp (Hawaii County) 31.33 21,460 6.6x 50.8x
32 Waikele 31.67 7,495 5.4x 45.4x
33 Waipio 32.0 10,989 5.5x 46.3x
34 Royal Kunia 32.0 14,390 5.3x 50.9x
35 Makakilo 32.33 20,862 5.6x 58.8x
36 Nanakuli 32.33 12,587 5.5x 44.1x
37 Waikoloa Village 32.67 7,519 6.2x 49.8x
38 Ahuimanu 33.0 8,943 6.1x 65.4x
39 Makawao 34.0 7,670 6.3x 61.3x
40 Kapaa 34.0 11,516 6.3x 55.3x
41 Maili 35.0 13,245 5.0x 44.4x
42 Kapolei 37.0 23,248 5.4x 58.8x
43 Ewa Gentry 37.67 28,125 5.3x 54.3x
44 Ewa Beach 37.67 14,614 5.4x 53.9x
45 Waimanalo 42.67 5,371 5.4x 82.1x
46 Waipio Acres 43.0 5,618 5.2x 54.7x
47 Waihee-Waiehu 43.67 11,059 5.3x 73.0x
48 Waianae 44.0 14,152 5.9x 65.3x
49 Hilo 48.33 46,559 5.2x 61.9x
50 Hawaiian Paradise Park 52.0 11,942 4.4x 83.9x

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.