The 5 Most Affordable Places to Live In Hawaii

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By Jamie Ayers Updated February 16, 2023


Finding a home that meets your needs without breaking the bank can be a serious challenge. State-wide, Hawaii has a median home value of $636,400. When you add in maintenance costs and property taxes, it can be difficult for many to buy and own a home.

That's why we've compiled a list of affordable cities in Hawaii to help you find a new place to live. All of these places are more affordable than average, meaning you can get more bang for your buck.

Looking for the most affordable places in Hawaii is a start, but you'll save even more money by working with a great agent.

The top Hawaii real estate agents know the local market and where to find pockets of more affordable homes. They can also help negotiate a better price when you do find your dream home.

At Clever Real Estate, we can match you with agents in any area you're interested in — even multiple areas at the same time. You can interview as many agents as you like until you find the perfect place to call home — all at no cost or obligation to you.

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Even if you're just daydreaming about where your next home might be, it's never too early to ask for an expert opinion. Real estate agents know the ins and outs of their local areas, including jobs, schools, and affordable neighborhoods.

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Most affordable cities in Hawaii

Whether you're looking for a quiet small town or a trendy suburban neighborhood, it's possible to locate pockets of affordability throughout Hawaii.

Here are our top picks for Hawaii residents on a budget:

1. Hilo

Hilo is the largest city on the Island of Hawaii. The city offers a number of amenities and attractions but is not as luxurious or eye-catching as Honolulu.

What is eye-catching, however, is the median home value. In a state where the median home value is $616,000, Hilo’s median value of $338,300 is a lot more attractive.

The overall score for the cost of living in Hilo is 145. With 100 as the US average that means it is 45% more expensive than average. However, Hawaii as a whole scores 176, so it is significantly less.

Living in Hilo may not be as romantic as living on the shores of Waikiki but it is still a beautiful place and it's a lot easier on your wallet.

2. Waianae

What if you could live in a cheaper area but still be on the same island as Honolulu? Waianae has a similar portfolio as Hilo but is located on the dry, sunshiny side of Oahu.

The median home value comes in at an affordable $322,200. Its cost of living index is still higher than the US average at 148, but considerably cheaper than the rest of Hawaii.

Another great plus is that the beaches are far less crowded than Waikiki.

Even after you've found a more affordable place to live in Hawaii, moving there can be expensive. By working with a Clever Partner Agent, you'll have an expert in your corner and you may be able to take advantage of Clever Cash Back.

When you buy a home with a Clever agent, you might be eligible for up to cash back to use on anything you want. For the average home value of $636,400, you'd pocket cash back to help you move (or splurge on a great housewarming gift for yourself).

» SAVE: Learn more about what you can save with Clever Cash Back!

3. Kailua

Kailua is a nice community even closer to Honolulu. The Kailua Beach Park and Honolulu Watershed Forest Reserve are great attractions that give residents a delightful outdoor experience.

When you look at the median home value of $862,100 and the cost of living index of 220, you may wonder how Kailua got a spot on this list. Simply take a look at the whole picture. The median income of those living in Kailua is a whopping $109,087. Compare that to Hilo’s median income of $55,815 and you can see how it’s actually quite affordable to live in Kailua.

4. Kahului

Kahului is the largest community on romantic Maui. The Maui Arts and Cultural Center holds an impressive 1,800 events per year for residents to enjoy. Plus, from Kanaha Pond State Wildlife Sanctuary to Kanaha Beach Park to the Maui Nui Botanical Gardens there is always something to do in this vibrant area.

The median home value is much lower than Hawaii’s median at only $490,900. The cost of living is a little less than Hawaii’s median at 168. Of course, that’s 68% more than the US average but the median income in Kahului is roughly $20,000 more than the US average.

5. Waimea CDP (Kauai County)

Looking for a small affordable community in Hawaii? Waimea CDP may be just what you’re looking for. Kauai is a small island with plenty of outdoor activities and scenic sights to enjoy. With a population of only about 1,800 people, you’ll find that you get to know your neighbors pretty quickly.

Homes are rather affordable with a median value of $378,300. The cost of living index is lower than Hawaii’s median index at only 157. It’s still more expensive than the US average, but the median income is also about 20% higher.

The benefits of a great real estate agent

If you're just researching affordable places to live, you might wonder why you need a real estate agent. They're the ones that help you once you've already decided on a house, right?

Not necessarily. The truth is, it's never too early to start looking for an agent. In fact, talking to a realtor early on in the process can help you narrow down your options much faster than doing research on your own.

A real estate agent's job is to know everything about their local area. They'll find the best deals in desirable neighborhoods — and might just help you snag your dream home for an affordable price. Let a Clever agent help you discover your options today — all while you enjoy cash back!

💰 Buy with a top agent, earn cash back!

Buy your dream home with a top local realtor from a trusted brand like Keller Williams or RE/MAX. Keep more money in your pocket by earning cash back on eligible purchases.

Enter your zip code to request hand-picked agent matches in minutes. Compare your options until you find the perfect fit, or walk away with no obligation. Try Clever's free service today!

Frequently asked questions about affordable places to live in Hawaii

How can I save money when buying a home in Hawaii?

In addition to shopping in some of the most affordable areas, you'll want to work with an experienced real estate agent. They can find you hidden gems at low price points. A good agent can also negotiate like a pro to get you a lower sale price and more buyer incentives. You may also be able to take advantage of home buyer rebates.

How do I know how much I can afford to buy in Hawaii?

We recommend using the 28/36 rule to know how much house you can afford. This means your housing expenses shouldn't exceed 28% of your income, and all of your total debt shouldn't exceed 36%. Learn more about how to calculate your home buying budget.

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