8 Safest and Cheapest Cities To Live in Hawaii (2024)

8 Safest and Cheapest Cities To Live in Hawaii (1)

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Being able to call Hawaii home is a dream come true for many people. But, just like anywhere else, Hawaii has its affordable cities to live in, as well as cities that are safer than others.

Martin Boonzaayer of The Trusted Home Buyer called the housing market of Hawaii “unique” and went on to say, “While it’s undeniably expensive, there are gems to be found, offering a balance between safety and affordability.”

Boonzaayer noted that the state’s high cost of living is driven by factors such as limited land, import dependency and the reliance on tourism to support the local economy.

“With limited developable land, housing prices naturally tend to be higher,” he said. “Most goods need to be shipped in, inflating the cost of everyday necessities. Tourist dollars drive up the cost of living for residents.

“While crime rates in Hawaii are generally lower than the national average, it’s always wise to research specific neighborhoods. Resources like AreaVibes and local police department websites can provide valuable crime data.”

All that being said, there are a few places that definitely are less dangerous and less expensive. Here are the eight safest and cheapest cities to live in Hawaii with their corresponding island.

The Big Island


Often topping “affordable Hawaii” lists, Hilo offers a vibrant downtown with a lower cost of living compared to other islands, according to Boonzaayer.

“The median home price sits around $430,000, significantly lower than the state average. Hilo’s charm lies in its unique black sand beaches, proximity to Volcanoes National Park, and a strong sense of community,” Boonzaayer continued.

“Despite its size, Hilo maintains a sense of safety while providing affordable housing options,” added Mehdi Khachani, the CEO of JMK Property Management. “Its lower cost of living compared to other Hawaiian cities makes it an appealing choice for those seeking affordability without compromising security.”

Boonzaayer cautioned, “Keep in mind, Hilo receives a lot of rainfall, so be prepared for a wetter climate.”


Boonzaayer described Pāhoa, situated on the eastern side of the Big Island, as “a rural town known for its relaxed atmosphere and proximity to volcanic activity.”

Even with the infrequent volcanic activity, “Residents here have a strong sense of community that makes them feel safe and supported,” according to Jordan Woolf, CEO of the real estate investment company We Buy Houses In Bama. “It’s a place where people come together in times of need, knowing that their neighbors have their backs.”

Boonzaayer explained, “Housing options are typically more affordable than Hilo, with a median price closer to $300,000. However, Pāhoa is a remote location with limited amenities and job opportunities.”



Maui’s main commercial center, Wailuku, offers a more suburban feel with a lower cost of living compared to resort areas, in Boonzaayer’s opinion.

“The median home price falls around $580,000, making it a more attainable option on Maui,” Boonzaayer said. “Wailuku boasts a historic downtown, a growing arts scene and easy access to other parts of the island.”


“Nestled on the remote eastern coast of Maui, Hāna is known for its stunning natural beauty and laid-back lifestyle,” Boonzaayer said. “The median home price might be lower than resort areas, but everyday necessities can be more expensive due to the town’s isolation.”

Boonzaayer said the town is “undeniably charming” and relatively affordable, depending on your budget and lifestyle.



“Kauai’s main town, Līhuʻe, offers a mix of urban amenities and easy access to the island’s natural wonders,” noted Boonzaayer

“On the island of Kauai, Līhuʻeis the most populous town and the business center for the island, but it also leaves a feeling of safety and security,” said Matt Vukovich of Matt Buys Indiana Houses.

Līhuʻe currently has the cheapest median home price on Kauai, between $630,000 and $650,000.

Vukovich also said the town has “strong community policing efforts, and crime is very low here.”

Boonzaayer added, “Līhuʻe boasts a growing job market, making it an attractive option for those seeking a balance between affordability and opportunity.”



“Located on Oahu’s windward coast, Kaneohe offers a suburban lifestyle with a mix of housing options, including single-family homes and condos,” Boonzaayer said.

Boonzaayer said the median home price is around $627,500, “which might be manageable with a higher household income. Kaneohe boasts beautiful beaches and proximity to Marine Corps Base Hawaii.”


“Situated on the North Shore of Oahu, Kahuku is a rural town known for its big waves and laid-back atmosphere,” Boonzaayer said.

“Housing options are typically more affordable than Honolulu, but job opportunities are limited,” he said. “Be prepared for a strong local character and a remote location.”


Eleanor Campbell, a senior Realtor working with contractorbond.org, suggested Honolulu “due to the low crime rate, which makes it an ideal place for families or individuals looking for a secure community.”

“It offers various housing options at reasonable prices, including apartments and single-family homes,” Campbell said.

The median home value in Honolulu is $801,933, which “shows its affordability compared to other cities in Hawaii like Kailua.”

“The cost of living index on Numbeo is 90.8%, which indicates a lower cost of living than the national average,” Campbell explained, noting other attractive features such as a “diverse job market, with opportunities in tourism, military and government sectors.”

Boonzaayer concluded, “These cities offer a combination of safety, affordability and quality of life that make them attractive options for individuals and families looking to settle down in the Island State. However, it’s important to note that affordability can vary depending on individual circ*mstances and market conditions.”

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8 Safest and Cheapest Cities To Live in Hawaii (2024)


Which Hawaiian island has the lowest cost of living? ›

What's the most affordable Hawaiian island to live on? The Big Island. With Hawaii's lowest average cost of living (according to MIT's Living Wage project), lowest fair market rents, and lowest typical yearly expenses, the Big Island can be the most economical island in Hawaii.

How to live in Hawaii cheaply? ›

The cheapest part of Hawaii to live is generally the Big Island, specifically areas like Hilo and Puna. How much money should I have saved up to move to Hawaii? It's recommended to have at least 3-6 months of living expenses saved up before moving to Hawaii, in addition to the costs of moving and securing housing.

Is there affordable housing in Hawaii? ›

This interactive map and list represents an inventory of affordable housing projects within the County of Hawaiʻi. The facilities include affordable housing projects owned by private, non-profit or governmental entities, developed with funding or support from federal, state or county resources.

Where is the cheapest place to live in Maui? ›

Kahului, Maui

Located on Kahului Bay, Kahului is one of the most affordable places to live in Maui!

How much money do you need to live comfortably in Hawaii? ›

Many experts estimate that an income of $121,400 or more is required in order to live comfortably in Hawaii, but if you don't expect to make that much there may still be a way to make life in Hawaii work for your family.

Where is the safest cheapest place to live in Hawaii? ›

Hilo. Often topping “affordable Hawaii” lists, Hilo offers a vibrant downtown with a lower cost of living compared to other islands, according to Boonzaayer. “The median home price sits around $430,000, significantly lower than the state average.

Can I live in Hawaii on $3,000 a month? ›

Q: Can you live in Hawaii with $3,000 a month? A: That depends on several factors, such as your individual lifestyle, specific living expenses, location, and whether or not you're retiring in Hawaii on a budget. Generally speaking, though, $3,000 a month may be a tight squeeze.

Can you move to Hawaii without a job? ›

So can you move to Hawaii without a job? Short answer: Yes — but if you don't already have a job set up before you move (or a hefty savings or retirement account), it can be difficult to find one with a wage that will allow you to enjoy the islands to the fullest.

What would be the only downside to living in Hawaii? ›

The most obvious drawback to living in Hawaii is our cost of living. Because everything needs to be imported, the cost of goods is significantly higher than any mainland market.

Who qualifies for affordable housing in Hawaii? ›

Typically, households qualify for AH rental units if they earn no more than 80 percent of the area median income (AMI) for Oahu, and qualify for AH for-sale units if they earn no more than 120 percent of the AMI.

What is section 8 in Hawaii? ›

Housing Voucher Program

The Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program, commonly known as Section 8, is the federal government's major program for assisting low-income families, which may include elderly individuals or people with disabilities to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market.

Does Hawaii have low-income senior housing? ›

Halewai`olu Senior Residences will be available to seniors ages 62 and older, with rent starting at $547.00. All units will be income-restricted from 30 percent Area Median Income (AMI) to 80 percent AMI, as determined annually by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

What part of Hawaii is most affordable? ›

Due to the abundance of hotels, activities, tours, and attractions, Oahu is the cheapest Hawaiian island to visit. Between the competitive prices and myriad of things to do, those looking for a budget vacation to Hawaii will find that Oahu is exactly what they've been searching for.

How much money do you need to live comfortably in Maui? ›

While it's difficult to determine the exact amount of money needed to live on Maui, a family of four will likely need around $120,000 a year to live comfortably on the island. This figure includes housing costs, food and groceries, transportation, utilities, healthcare, and other expenses.

Where is the least expensive place to live in Hawaii? ›

Waianae. With rental costs below the national average, Waianae stands as one of the most affordable cities to live in Hawaii. The house rent price is between $850 – $9,500. Waianae offers a tranquil lifestyle away from the bustling urban areas.

Which Hawaiian island is most expensive to live on? ›

The cost of living in Hawaii varies widely across its islands, with Oahu, Maui, and Kauai being the most expensive, and Molokai, Lanai, and the Big Island's Puna District being the cheapest.

Which Hawaiian island is the safest from natural disasters? ›

Oahu and the other islands have inactive volcanoes so they won't have eruptions. As for hurricanes, just don't live along the immediate coast. If you live in the hills - all the Hawaiian islands are rather mountainous - you may get hit by.


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