30 Great Affordable Places to Live in Hawaii

If you’ve found this article, chances are you’re interested in moving to Hawaii, but already know that it’s one of the most expensive places in America to live. Fortunately, there are quite a few great Hawaiian towns throughout the island that are considered affordable — well, at least comparatively. Below, we’ve highlighted 30 of them based on such factors as cost of living, median home price, and to a lesser extent, quality of life.

Kaunakakai

Moloka’i


Cost of Living: 37% lower than the Hawaii state average
Living in a place like Kaunakakai can be great, but it’s not going to be great for every type of person. Kaunakakai is the largest town on the island of Moloka’i, though it doesn’t look like other Hawaiian towns which you may have fallen in love with. Living on the historic and sparsely populated Moloka’i comes with various challenges, and is really only recommended for those who are self-sustaining, self-employed or able to work remotely, and okay with living in an off-the-grid-type locale. For those willing to hack it, however, Kaunakakai offers incredible value for your money. Housing here is only 42% of the typical Hawaiian average, and the median home cost currently hovers around $250,000. With the exception of utilities, every other cost of living category also averages much less than the rest of the Aloha State.

Pahala

Big Island


Cost of Living: 33% lower than the Hawaii average
Pahala’s overall cost of living is a whopping 33% lower than what’s typically found in Hawaii. Housing in Pahala is about 26% higher than the U.S. average, and about 60% lower than the Hawaiian average. A home there can be purchased for around $235,000. The case is similar with other cost of living categories, including food, entertainment, and transportation. Utilities and food, on the other hand, average higher than both the U.S. and Hawaiian averages. Pahala is considered a rural town. It’s located within easy access to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Kau Forest Reserve.

Hilo

Big Island


Cost of Living: 28% lower than the Hawaii state average
Hilo is a pretty large city by Hawaiian standards, and as such, it boasts a wide range of living options that are bound to fit just about any budget. Though plenty of millionaires and billionaires call Hilo home, the average home price here is actually about $318,000 — almost half of the Hawaii state average. Those who settle in Hilo aren’t likely to be bored. Hilo’s downtown is chock full of galleries, museums, shops, and restaurants. Various beaches and nature reserves are located just about any direction you turn.

Kurtistown

Big Island


Cost of Living: 29% lower than the Hawaii state average
Located not too far from Hilo on Hawaii’s Big Island, Kurtistown is known for its especially lush tropical setting. Of course, such lushness comes from the fact that Kurtistown tends to get more rain than the island’s leeward coast, a factor that has kept the town’s overall cost of living relatively affordable. Kurtistown’s living costs average about 33% higher than the U.S. average, but a whopping 29% less than the rest of the state. Median home prices currently hover around $280,000, while costs for healthcare, transportation, and entertainment all average right around the national norm.

Waimea

Kauai


Cost of Living: 22% lower than the Hawaii state average
Located on Kauai’s North Shore, tucked between the beach and stunning Waimea Canyon, is the historic town of Waimea. Waimea offers its residents a variety of restaurants, two supermarkets, and lots of locally owned businesses. Best of all, Waimea is one of the most affordable places to live in all of Hawaii. The median home cost here is just under $400,000 — more than $200,000 less than the Hawaii state average. Costs for healthcare, transportation, and entertainment are all on par with the national norm. Costs for food, housing, and utilities  are less than the typical Hawaiian address.

Nanakuli

Oahu


Cost of Living: 20% lower than the Hawaii state average
Located on Oahu in Honolulu County, the town of Nanakuli is one in transition. Its population of approximately 12,000 has grown rapidly in recent years, making it an affordable option for young people intent on living in Hawaii. Nanakuli enjoys an overall cost of living that is 51% higher than the U.S. average, but 20% lower than what’s typical for the Aloha State. Average costs for food, healthcare, and utilities are all less than or on par with the Hawaii average. Housing costs average about half of the state average.

Hana

Maui


Cost of Living: 18% lower than the Hawaii state average
But wait, isn’t Hana one of the most famous towns in all of the Islands? Well, yes. While Hana is a must-visit while on Maui, living there is not for everyone. Located on Maui’s eastern side, Hana is pretty isolated (as you probably know if you’ve driven the famous Road to Hana). It also tends to get more rain than some of Maui’s other locations. Still, for those who don’t need to leave daily, Hana is gorgeous, with lush landscapes, beaches with Maui’s famous red sand, and tons of charm. If Hana’s for you, expect to pay around $480,000 for your own home, plus a little more than the national average for things like utilities and entertainment.

Napili-Honokowai

Maui


Cost of Living: 18% lower than the Hawaii state average
Maui is not the cheapest Hawaiian island, but one exception is the small town of Napili-Honokowai, located near the North Shore. This town of approximately 6,500 people has experienced rapid growth in the last few years, likely because a single-family home can be purchased for around $475,000. (The Hawaii average is $602,100). With the exception of food and healthcare costs (which average 3% and 1% above the state norm, respectively), every other major cost of living category also comes in lower than what’s typically expected for the Islands.

Lihue

Kauai


Cost of Living: 15% lower than the Hawaii state average
Considering it’s the capital of Kauai, the island known as the Garden Isle, Lihue might be a surprising addition to our list of 30 great affordable places to live in Hawaii. Whether they come by plane or cruise ship, everyone who comes to Hawaii first sets foot in Lihue. The town is home to the airport, a number of hotels and restaurants, and several shopping centers, among other amenities. To live here, future Kauaians should expect a cost of living that’s about 60% higher than the national average, yet 15% lower than the Hawaii state average. Houses in Lihue average $490,400, while a 3-bedroom apartment can be rented for about $2,500 per month.

Kapa’a

Kauai

Cost of Living: 12% lower than the Hawaii state average
With its current population of 10,582, Kapa’a is the largest city on Kauai. Many of the Garden Isle’s best shops and restaurants are here, ensuring residents have access to all they need. Despite its recent growth, Kapa’a still enjoys a cost of living less than what one might expect from Hawaii. Even more interesting is the fact that average costs for healthcare, transportation, and entertainment all fall below the typical numbers for the greater United States. A house in Kapa’a averages about $500, 000 — a full $100,000 less than the average through the islands.

Makaha

Oahu

Cost of Living: 12% lower than the Hawaii state average
Makaha is a Honolulu suburb with an overall cost of living averaging 12% lower than the Hawaii state average. While still considered a small town (even by Hawaiian standards), Makaha has grown in recent years thanks in part to its affordability. A house here costs about $395,000 on average. That’s more than $200,000 less than the Hawaiian state average. And while costs for transportation and entertainment tend to average higher than the state norm, costs for food, healthcare, and utilities all average lower.

Kailua

Big Island


Cost of Living: 11% lower than the Hawaii state average
Not to be confused with the much more expensive Kailua on Oahu, this Kailua is an affordable place to live on the Big Island of Hawaii. Kailua’s overall cost of living is 11% less than the state average, with only the costs for food and utilities averaging slightly higher than the norm. Best of all is the fact that Kailua’s housing costs average about 17% less than what’s typically expected for Hawaii. A house can be purchased for just over $500,000.

Waianae

Oahu


Cost of Living: 11% lower than the Hawaii state average
Waianae, Oahu’s cost of living is a cool 11% lower than the rest of the Aloha State and “only” 68% higher than the U.S. national average. A house in Waianae can be purchased for about $420,000 — about $200,000 less than what’s typical. That’s good news for those who crave seclusion and natural beauty. While Waianae doesn’t boast too many amenities itself, it’s within easy access to the shops and restaurants in nearby Kapolei. Plus, Waianae is home to some of the prettiest (and least crowded!) beaches on Oahu.

Maili

Oahu


Cost of Living: 9% lower than the Hawaii state average
Maili is another great town on the affordable western shore of Oahu. The overall cost of living in Maili is 70% higher than the U.S. average, but 9% lower than the Hawaii state average. Some of the biggest contributors to those numbers are the averages for healthcare (7% lower than the U.S. national average; 3% higher than Hawaii), entertainment (24% higher than the U.S.; 16% higher than Hawaii), and transportation (79% higher than the U.S.; 43% higher than Hawaii). Housing in Maili is a surprising 28% less than the Aloha State norm. A home can be purchased here for a median price of $433,800.

Wailuku

Maui


Cost of Living: 9% lower than the Hawaii state average
Although Wailuku’s neighbor, the tourist-heavy Kahului, is one of Hawaii’s most expensive addresses, Wailuku itself has managed to remain relatively affordable. Its current cost of living averages 15% lower than the Hawaii state average. Wailuku is extremely pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly, so its transportation costs average 11% less than the U.S. norm, and 47% less than the Hawaiian average. Costs for healthcare and entertainment are also right on par with the national average. Housing costs average about 14% less than the rest of the Aloha State. Prospective Wailuku residents should expect to spend approximately $575,900 for a home here.

Waikele

Oahu


Cost of Living: 7% lower than the Hawaii state average
As a Honolulu suburb popular with millennials and young families, Waikele has remained one of Hawaii’s great affordable places to live. Homes here sell for an average price of $486,000 — that’s significantly less than many of the surrounding addresses. Renters also benefit from the lower cost of living here. A one-bedroom apartment can be found for about $1,300 per month. Waikele has lots of shopping opportunities, a number of parks for family enjoyment, and the popular Waikele Golf Club.

Kahului

Maui


Cost of Living: 6% lower than the Hawaii state average
Considering it’s known as Maui’s biggest city and the hub for the island’s commercial and tourism industries, it may be surprising to see Kahului on our list of 30 great affordable places to live in Hawaii. The median income here is $62,038, while the average home price currently hovers just under $600,000. That’s not bad, especially since Kahalui residents’ backyards are basically made up of the Kanaha Pond State Wildlife Sanctuary, world-class windsurfing destination Kanaha Beach Park, the prolific Maui Arts & Cultural Center, and of course, all of the island’s best shopping.

Kahuku

Oahu


Cost of Living: 3% lower than the Hawaii state average
For those determined to live on Oahu’s North Shore, Kahuku is an excellent option. Located within easy access of all the North Shore has to offer, Kahuku has managed to remain affordable. Transportation and healthcare costs average slightly higher than the Hawaii state average in Kahuku. But that fact feels pretty negligible when you consider that the town’s average home sale price is $541,000 — more than $60,000 lower than what’s typically expected for Hawaii.

Ewa Villages

Oahu


Cost of Living: 0% higher than the Hawaii state average
The population of Ewa Villages has grown by a whopping 89% percent in recent years. Such growth is almost certainly a reflection of the small town’s affordable living costs and easy proximity to the big city of Honolulu. Indeed, Ewa Villages’s overall cost of living is right on par with what is average in the Aloha State. This is especially true for the cost of living categories of food, healthcare, and utilities. Transportation and entertainment tend to average a tad higher. Interestingly, housing costs average about 10% less in Ewa Villages than they do elsewhere in the state. A home can be purchased for a median price of $542,300.

Wahiawa

Oahu


Cost of Living: 2% higher than the Hawaii state average
If commuting to Honolulu isn’t a necessity, then Wahiawa is a great affordable place to live in Hawaii. Situated smack dab in the middle of Oahu, Wahiawa is home to the famous Dole [pineapple] Plantation. The town provides its residents with easy access to the most best beaches on the north shore. The median home cost here is $600,700 — just $1,400 less than the Hawaiian average. And while every other cost of living category happens to be higher than the national norm, all are [slightly] less than the Aloha State average.

Ewa Beach

Oahu

Cost of Living: 7% higher than the Hawaii state average
Ewa Beach boasts an overall cost of living that’s 7% higher than the Hawaii state average — not too bad, considering the median household income of Ewa Beach’s 14,000 residents is $78,388 per year. As a suburb of Honolulu, Ewa Beach residents are expected to spend a little more on housing — about $18,000 more than the median Hawaiian home cost. Fortunately, other cost of living categories average much lower than the Aloha State norm, including costs for utilities, food, and healthcare.

Honolulu

Oahu


Cost of Living: 7% higher than the Hawaii state average
World-famous Honolulu is another great affordable place to live in Hawaii. City wide, the average home price is just about $670,000, while the median income is about $61,000. This means that for many Oahu residents, living and working in the commercial center that is Honolulu is doable. Named by Livability as one of the 100 Best Places to Live, Honolulu is home to many of the Islands’ most fascinating historical attractions. It also boasts a lively downtown area, vibrant nightlife scene, and some of the state’s most luxurious hotels.

Haiku-Pauwela

Maui


Cost of Living: 10% higher than the Hawaii state average
Maui is one of the most popular Hawaiian islands for tourists, so it’s easy to assume living there would be out of the question. Fortunately, that’s not the case. Located on the northern side of the island, Haiku-Pauwela is a small town known for its simple, laid-back lifestyle and world-class windsurfing spots. The cost of living in Haiku-Pauwela is about 10% higher than the Hawaiian average, and about 106% higher than the U.S. national average. Most of that increased cost comes from the housing category. The median home price in Haiku-Pauwela is about $770,000. Average costs for healthcare, transportation, and entertainment are all much closer to what you might expect living anywhere else.

Mililani Mauka

Oahu


Cost of Living: 10% higher than the Hawaii state average
The median household income of Mililani Mauka’s 21,000 residents is about $101,000. If you can survive on that, then this family-friendly suburban town is a great affordable place to live in Hawaii. The median home price here is about $688,000, and the town boasts some of the top public schools in the state. Mililani Mauka also borders Oahu Forest National Wildlife Refuge, so peaceful surroundings and great views are an added bonus to living here.

Pearl City

Oahu


Cost of Living: 11% higher than the Hawaii state average
Pearl City is located just north of Honolulu, and is home to about 47,000 people. Despite rapid growth in recent years, Pearl City has remained relatively affordable — at least compared to a number of other communities on the island of Oahu. The average home price here is just under $720,000, although local real estate experts are quick to point out that quite a range of options exist.

Waimalu

Oahu


Cost of Living: 11% higher than the Hawaii state average
Located near Pearl Harbor, Waimalu is known for its rich and proud military history. This affordable town is located within easy proximity to Honolulu, and because of that, it’s especially popular among young people. Lots of people rent in Waimalu, and a one-bedroom apartment can be had for about $1,250 — about $50 less per month than the typical Honolulu price. Those who plan to purchase in Waimalu, on the other hand, are likely to spend about $715,000 on a single-family home.

Mililani

Oahu


Cost of Living: 12% higher than the Hawaii state average
Located a short drive northeast of Honolulu, Mililani is said to offer a true Hawaiian experience. Picturesque and boasting a proud military history, Mililani offers residents a variety of restaurant options, lots of shopping, some of the best schools in Hawaii, and a low crime rate that brings about a safe atmosphere and peace of mind. The median income of a household in Mililani is about $94,000, while the average home price is currently $721,200.

Waimanalo

Oahu


Cost of Living: 17% higher than the Hawaii state average.
People who live in Waimanalo, a small town near Honolulu, tend to do well. Indeed, the median household income here is just over $70,000. This tends to balance out the overall cost of living, which currently hovers about 17% higher than the Hawaii state average. Of course, Waimanalo’s residents are located a mere hop from all of the amenities that Honolulu has to offer, plus the world-class beaches of Waikiki and Waimanalo Beach.

Kaneohe

Oahu


Cost of Living: 19% higher than the Hawaii state average
Kaneohe’s median home price of nearly $830,000 is more than $200,000 higher than the Hawaii average. However, the town’s typical household income is also well above the state norm, making this Honolulu suburb one of the most affordable places to live in the Islands. Kaneohe is known for its 7,310-yard 18-hole golf course, Ko’olau Golf Club, which is said to be one of the most challenging courses to be found anywhere in the world. Kaneohe is also home to the stunning Hoomaluhia Botanical Gardens and Kaneohe Bay, the latter of which is a 7,500-acre inlet and the only bay in the state to boast a barrier reef.

Laie

Oahu


Cost of Living: 21% higher than the Hawaii state average
Though Laie’s cost of living averages a bit higher than the Hawaii state average, it’s a safe small town located in one of the busiest and most accessible areas of Oahu. It’s also surrounded by much more expensive addresses. Laie is especially popular amongst Oahu’s Latter-day Saints population, almost certainly because it’s home to the Laie Hawaii Temple. If you’re interested in living in Laie, expect to pay around $800,000 for a home.