How Expensive is it to Live in Hawaii?

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Real Estate

Hawaii is one of the world's most desirable places to live, but it is expensive.

There's no getting around it.

The island paradise is full of pristine beaches, year-round sun, and a fantastic culture of hospitality. If you are looking to purchase real estate or are looking to live in this beautiful island state then you have a few factors to consider, if you want to live comfortably. Hawaii's island living comes at a cost, being the most expensive state to live in, even beating out New York and Washington, D.C. Here we will look at some of the pros and cons associated with Hawaii real estate so that you can decide if you are ready to purchase property there.

Hawaii Real Estate Cost

First of all, the median home cost in Hawaii trumps the national average at $621,700 overall in the state and an even higher $660,300 in its capital Honolulu. This is compared to the median home cost across the USA being $231,200. Fortunately, many of these homes are a stone's throw away from some of Hawaii's most gorgeous beaches and amenities such as the world's most pristine golf courses. In many ways, you get what you pay for as Hawaii boasts some of the best year-round weather in the world.

If you are looking to rent rather than buy, then you can expect to pay approximately $2,500 per month in central Honolulu and about $1,900 in more remote areas of the state. Utilities can be expensive as well with the average water and electric bill being well over $200.


Across the United States, Hawaii is considered to be one of the least tax-friendly states. If you earn over $100,000 expect to pay 8.25% in that tax bracket. Additionally, there is an average 4.35% sales tax rate, a combined lodging, and an excise tax of 13.75%. Hawaii also has a wireless service tax of 15.53% to add to this list.

However, there is some good news as Hawaii has one of the lowest property tax rates in the country, which is really great if you are in the market for real estate. For example, you can expect to pay $1,459 on a $250,000 property.


Being an island nation away from mainland USA, there is no surprise that you can expect some of the highest cost of food in the country.  For example, a standard box of 12 large eggs would set you back around $5 in Hawaii and the cost of a loaf of bread would be around $3.31. Honolulu ranks 19th in the whole world for its cost of basic essentials so it is definitely something to be aware of!  For military members PCSing to Hawaii there is the commissary and base exchanges that will offset some of these costs.


As Hawaii is a big tourist destination, there can be a high markup when it comes to entertainment. This includes a higher cost for drinks in tourist areas, where you can expect to pay $10 or more for a cocktail in a club in downtown Honolulu. A trip to the movies for two could cost you $27 and even a basic dinner out in a local establishment can cost you $50 or more. Of course, you have the advantage of being able to visit Hawaii's beaches for free and take advantage of some of its more unique recreational offerings.

Overall, your decision on whether to move to Hawaii is dependent on many factors. If you have a good yearly income and can afford to live in Hawaii then you can expect beautiful weather year-round, fantastic golf courses, beaches, and entertainment. These redeeming factors may offset the cost of living for you! Although the state is overall expensive in terms of housing, taxes, and food, it may be worth it for the great experience you may have living there!


Mahalo.  MaryJo

MaryJo McGillicuddy




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