Aloha, future homeowner! Are you ready to trade your shoes for flip-flops and your daily commute for a stroll on the sandy shores of Hawaii? We know that buying a house in paradise might seem like a daunting task, especially if you’re on a budget. But fret not, because we’ve got your back.

In this in-depth guide, we’ll show you the ins and outs of how to afford a house in Hawaii without breaking the bank. From understanding the cost of living to navigating the real estate market and finding the right financing options, we’ll help you turn your Hawaii dream into a sun-kissed reality. So grab your sunscreen and let’s dive in!

Understanding the Paradise: Cost of Living in Hawaii

The cost of living in Hawaii is considered one of the highest in the United States. Several factors contribute to this:


Housing is arguably the most substantial portion of the cost of living in Hawaii. According to, the cost of housing in Honolulu, Hawaii, is 84% higher than the national average. This means that the average monthly rent in Honolulu can be as high as $2,257 per month.


Food is another element of the cost of living in Hawaii that’s significantly higher than in other states. Most food items have to be imported due to Hawaii’s remote location, which drives up their prices. On average, groceries are up to 55% more expensive in Hawaii than they are on the mainland.


Hawaii has the highest electricity rates in the nation because of its reliance on imported petroleum for generating electricity. This can make energy bills quite hefty. Utilities are another significant expense in Hawaii.


Owning a vehicle in Hawaii can be costly due to high gas prices and car registration fees. However, public transportation is available, though it may not always be convenient depending on your location and schedule. Hawaii’s remote location contributes to the high cost of gasoline, making transportation more expensive.


Healthcare in Hawaii is also more expensive than most of the country, with costs around 8% higher than the national average. This is due to the high cost of providing medical services in remote areas. Access to quality healthcare is generally good, but the cost can be a factor for those who are on a budget.

General Excise Tax

Hawaii has a unique tax system that’s different from most states in the U.S., with a General Excise Tax (GET) applied to all business activities including goods and services. This tax indirectly raises the cost of goods and services.

Navigating Hawaii’s Real Estate Market

Now that you understand the costs associated with living in Hawaii, let’s take a look at the real estate market. The median home value in Hawaii is significantly higher than the national average. The real estate market in Hawaii may seem daunting, but with the help of available resources, tips, and a Hawaii real estate guide, you can find it is achievable.

Education & Resources

Do your research before diving into Hawaii’s real estate market. Read local publications and join forums to gain insight into current trends and neighborhoods in various island locations. Local Realtor associations can be great resources for staying up to date on the latest market information.

Work with a Professional Realtor

It’s wise to hire a professional real estate agent when looking for a home in Hawaii. Realtors are well-versed in local regulations and laws, so they can help you find your dream home without any surprises along the way.

Set a Budget

Before you start searching for a home, set a budget and stick to it. Negotiate when necessary but be aware of the various expenses associated with owning a home in Hawaii such as property taxes, insurance, maintenance fees, and more.

The Hawaiian Dream: More Than Just Real Estate

Let’s take a moment to daydream. Picture yourself waking up to the sound of waves lapping onto the shore, the scent of tropical flowers filling the air. This is the Hawaiian dream, and it could be yours. But before you dive into the alluring world of Hawaii real estate, let’s consider what kind of lifestyle truly lights you up.

Urban Buzz or Rural Retreat?

Are you the type who loves the pulse of city life, where every day holds a new adventure? Or does your heart long for the peace and tranquility of rural living, with nature as your closest neighbor? Identifying these priorities can guide you towards your perfect Hawaiian home.

Balancing Dreams with Reality: The Cost of Living in Paradise

Yes, Hawaii has a reputation for its high cost of living. But don’t let that put you off. Your dream home isn’t just about the price tag—it’s about finding a place that aligns with your lifestyle and brings you joy.

And remember, with careful planning and a clear vision of what matters most to you, finding a home that fits both your budget and your dreams in Hawaii is more than possible. After all, can we really put a price on living our dream life in paradise?

Unraveling Hawaii’s Real Estate Market


Navigating the Hawaii real estate market is akin to surfing on the Pacific Ocean’s powerful waves. It’s thrilling, challenging, and filled with opportunities if you know where to look and how to ride.

Charting the Course: Current Market Trends

Before you take a plunge, it’s crucial to understand the current market trends. The Hawaii Association of Realtors provides invaluable insights into housing market conditions, recent price trends, and inventory levels. By staying updated with the market pulse, you’re better equipped to make well-informed decisions on how to afford a house in Hawaii. Who knows, you might even spot hidden gems that won’t break your bank!

Exploring Paradise: Affordable Neighborhoods

Put on your virtual snorkeling gear, and explore the Hawaiian neighborhoods where affordability and paradise beautifully intersect. From the laid-back charms of Kapolei to the scenic allure of Kaneohe, there are affordable pockets nestled amidst Hawaii’s beauty. Keep an eye out for blossoming neighborhoods or areas with easy access to amenities and transportation options – these often present the most value for your investment.

Surfing with Experts: Engaging Local Real Estate Agents

Venturing into the Hawaii housing market might feel like paddling against a strong wave. For best results, find a team of experienced agents, who specialize in Hawaiian real estate. Their in-depth knowledge of the local market can guide you through the process, assist in property searches, provide home valuations, and even help with negotiations. It’s like having your very own surf instructor, ensuring you ride the real estate wave to your dream home in paradise!

Financing Options for Buying a House in Hawaii: Riding the Wave of Possibility

There are various financing options available for Buying a house in Hawaii – from conventional mortgages to government-backed loans such as the VA loan and FHA loan. It’s best to do your research on how to afford a house in Hawaii, compare rates, and find one that suits both your budget and long-term financial plan.

Savings and Budgeting

Let’s kick things off by catching the savings wave! It’s all about getting your financial ducks in a row, and NerdWallet suggests some gnarly saving strategies and budgeting tips to help you do just that. Whether it’s trimming down on those extra take-outs or finding ways to boost your income, a sprinkle of financial savvy can take you a long way towards your Hawaiian dream home.

Surfing the Mortgage Programs

Next up, it’s time to dive into the sea of mortgage programs. From FHA loans to VA and USDA loans, there are plenty of options to explore. These programs offer attractive financing terms to help you land your beachfront beauty. For more information on mortgage programs available in Hawaii, check out the Hawaii State Federal Credit Union. They’re the real dudes when it comes to home loans!

Catching the First-Time Homebuyer Wave

Finally, a big Mahalo to the Hawaii Housing Finance & Development Corporation for offering first-time homebuyer programs and grants. These initiatives are like a tropical breeze, providing extra assistance and making homeownership more affordable. Don’t miss your chance to ride this wave of opportunity – it could lead you straight to your island oasis!

Financing a home in Hawaii may seem daunting, but with the right research and planning, your dreams of living in paradise can become a reality.

Strategies for Affording a House in Hawaii on a Budget

Owning a house in Hawaii might seem like an unattainable dream, especially when you’re on a budget. But with the right strategies and a bit of creativity, it can become a reality. Let’s dive into some practical tips and tricks that can help you afford a house in Hawaii without breaking the bank.

Cutting Down Your Expenses

First things first, let’s talk about reducing your expenses. One key area to focus on is transportation. By opting for public transportation, carpooling, or even biking instead of driving alone, you could potentially save a significant amount of money. Every dollar saved here is another dollar you can put towards your dream home.

Generating Extra Income

Next, let’s look at ways to increase your income. One idea is to rent out a room or space in your home. This not only generates extra income but also helps you utilize your property more efficiently. It might require some effort and time investment initially, but the financial rewards could be well worth it in the long run.

Planning for the Long-Term

Lastly, remember the importance of having a long-term plan and setting realistic goals. This will help you stay on track and make smart financial decisions, bringing you one step closer to affording your dream house in Hawaii.

Navigating Affordable Housing in Hawaii

Securing affordable housing in Hawaii may seem like a daunting task, but with the right resources and strategies, it can be much more manageable. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the various options available.

Step 1: State and City Inventories

Kickstart your search by checking out the affordable housing inventory maintained by the State of Hawaii. Additionally, the city of Honolulu spearheads an Affordable Housing Requirement program for residential developments with 10 units or more, providing another potential avenue for affordable housing.

Step 2: Low-Income Housing Apartment Complexes

Hawaii boasts over 211 low-income housing apartment complexes featuring more than 17,500 affordable apartments for rent. Websites like serve as great resources for finding these options.

Step 3: HUD Apartments or Section 8 Housing

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers assistance for low-income tenants through public housing and housing choice vouchers under the Section 8 program. This could significantly reduce your rent and make living in Hawaii more affordable.

Step 4: Reserved or Affordable Housing

Another route to consider is reserved or workforce housing. These homes, priced below market rate, are earmarked for eligible applicants. You can find more details about these opportunities at

Step 5: Affordable Rentals

Plenty of websites, such as, provide listings for affordable apartments and living spaces for rent in Hawaii. These platforms can help you find a place that fits your budget.

Step 6: New Construction Projects

Keep an eye out for new affordable housing projects. For instance, Kahuina Kakaako, slated for completion in 2023, is an upcoming affordable housing project on Oahu. More information about this and similar projects can be found at


Learning how to afford a house in Hawaii doesn’t have to be a difficult journey. With the right strategies, resources, and a little bit of aloha spirit, it’s more than possible. It’s time to stop dreaming about living in paradise and start making it a reality. Reach out to our experienced agents today, and let’s make your Hawaiian dream come true.