Living In Hawaii?: The Detailed Guide About How Expensive Is To Live In Hawaii?

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Besides New York City, London, Paris, Los Angeles, and other iconic destinations made famous by Hollywood or historical culture, few places in the world share the same level of recognition that Hawaii does. I think we can safely say that if “Name the Top Vacation Destinations” or “Name A Place, You Would Live If Money Were No Object” were Family Feud questions, Hawaiian would probably come to mind most often. 

It should come as no surprise that Honolulu is often listed as one of the U.S’s Top 3 Most Expensive Cities. According to a study conducted by the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, Hawaii has the highest cost of living in the country, with a 191.8 index. Hawaii beat out the National Average of 100 with an index of 159, while the District of Columbia came in 2nd with 159. This guide will further give you detailed info about how expensive it is to live in Hawaii?

How expensive is it to live in Hawai?

There are too many people for whom Hawaii is a once-in-a-lifetime experience or a trophy destination. According to some calculations, for a week of fun in the sun in Hawaii, the average cost per person is $1,899. White sand beaches, mountainous backdrops, and the crystal blue Pacific Ocean are idyllic postcards and hard to imagine as a way of life every day. If you had to trade it for the world, you wouldn’t, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t concessions to be made. For those who have ever wondered, “what does Hawaii’s cost of living look like,” let me break it down from a Missouri transplant’s perspective.

In Honolulu, the median cost of a one-bedroom apartment in 2022 was $1,630, according to data from the rental listing website Zumper. That is an increase of 11.6% over a year ago. A two-bedroom home costs roughly $2,180, which is about 9.5 percent higher than it did last year. Hawaii is experiencing a severe housing crisis, partly caused by many landlords selling their houses and evicting renters. Over the previous two years, there has been a 40% increase in real estate sales.

After being born and raised in the third cheapest state in the nation, you moved to the most expensive state to start a family, career, and real estate investment portfolio. While you will discuss the costs and dollars of living in Hawaii, you think it’s also essential to concentrate on the intangibles; the actual costs of living in Hawaii and the way that some local families are brought together, or if you’re like me, how some are pulled apart by those costs.

In Hawaii, how much does it cost to live?

In Honolulu, the cost of living requires residents to earn an annual income of $120,000+ to live comfortably in the state’s capital. Of course, this is subjective, but according to the U.S. Federal Census Bureau, the median household income in Honolulu was around $80,000.00 in 2019. The fact remains that that’s a pretty vast delta, which means many residents of Honolulu are not living a very comfortable life. In Honolulu, Hawaii, according to, the cost of living is 88% higher than the national average, while the cost of housing is 202% higher.

How much income is considered low in Hawaii?

As of 2020, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) determined that an individual living on Oahu has an income of $93,000. A full-time salary earner in the U.S. makes approximately $48,672 per year, nearly double the national average. 

Are there any state income taxes in Hawaii?

Hawaii has the highest top income tax rate of 11% compared to the national average, but the state’s effective property tax rate is just .27% annually, the lowest among all states. The state does not impose a sales tax, but all businesses must pay a general excise tax of 4%, plus a 0.5% override for Honolulu County.

Hawaii’s everyday expenses 

The above example of a “low income” earner of $93,000 is used to calculate their net wages using a federal tax rate of 22% and the Hawaii income tax rate of 8.25%. After taxes, the individual’s net wages are $64,635 per year, equating to $5,386 per month for housing and everyday expenses. Check out some of the costs one can expect daily and see how the corresponding budgets stack up.

Read more:A Detailed Guide About How Much Does It Cost To Tow A Car?

Apartments in Hawaii

The rental prices for apartments in Hawaii are some of the highest in the nation, but the exact amount depends on which island you are on and which side of the island you are on. Hawaii Apartments took the prize for the highest rental rates in the state for essentially the same reason the business district and most of Honolulu’s jobs are close by. To give you an idea of what to expect for a single family home or apartment in Honolulu, here are the average rents:

  • Studios: $1,000 – $1,300
  • One-bedrooms: $1,400 – $1,700
  • Two-bedrooms: $1700 – $2,100
  • Three-bedrooms: $2,100 – $2,600

They are merely average ranges, and these numbers can vary significantly depending on whether there is a view of the ocean or proximity to it. Here are the top 10 most expensive apartments in Honolulu to give you some context. Due to commerce, jobs, and proximity to employment, the Big Island of Hawaii has much lower rent prices than Honolulu. There is much less demand for rentals and homes for sale on Hawaii Island because of its slower pace and less density of people and employment, and, thus, the prices are lower.

Purchasing a Home in Hawaii

The graphic shows that Hawaii’s staggering median home prices saw an increase of around $835,000 in 2019 for single-family homes and $400,000 for condos for sale in Honolulu. Despite the lack of affordability, the Oahu housing shortage is severe, and as a result, developers have flocked to the island to capitalize on the demand. Developers have been constructing New Honolulu Condos in Kakaako and Ala Moana neighborhoods for the past 6-7 years. 

Likewise, one can expect nearly 15,000 new homes to be built on Oahu in the next 15 years in the West Oahu neighborhoods of Hoopili and Koa Ridge. There are also rumors that a new development named Makaiwa Hills could add several hundred more.

Interesting facts about Living In Hawaii

  • Hawaii is the only U.S. state located in the tropical zone and is made up of a chain of volcanic islands in the central Pacific Ocean.
  • The state’s capital, Honolulu, is located on the island of Oahu, also home to Waikiki Beach, one of the world’s most famous tourist destinations.
  • The Hawaiian Islands receive less rainfall than most tropical locations due to the presence of trade winds that blow most of the moisture to the windward side of the islands.
  • Hawaii is home to the largest mountain on Earth, Mauna Kea, which rises more than 33,000 feet from the ocean floor to its summit.
  • Hawaii is a diverse and culturally rich state with a mix of Asian, Polynesian, and Western influences.
  • The Hawaiian language is an official language in the state, and many residents are fluent in English and Hawaiian.
  • Hawaii has a strong connection to the ocean and surfing is a popular sport and cultural activity in the state.
  • The Hawaiian Islands are home to a unique and diverse array of flora and fauna, including numerous endemic species found nowhere else on Earth.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Question)

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