Are you thinking about living on Oahu and you're curious about what it costs? In this episode of Aloha Oahu, I'm going to break down the cost of living here on Oahu. I’ll give you the bottom-line numbers on everything from housing costs to gas prices so you know exactly what to expect.
The Cost Of Housing In Oahu
One of the main questions we get about living in Oahu is the cost of living. First, let's talk about the obvious: the high cost of housing. We want to get the sticker shock out of the way early. Oahu has some of the highest home prices in the country. One of the first things you're going to need to decide for yourself is whether it's going to be better to buy or rent.
You're going to have to ask yourself a few questions. What kind of housing do you need? Are you single, or do you have a family? Do you have big dogs that need a yard? There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to renting versus buying. Additionally, the price of housing varies based on where you want to live or the size of the house you want to live in.
Different Sides of The Island
A good rule of thumb is that it happens to be less expensive on the western or Leeward side of the island and prices tend to be a little more expensive on the Windward side or Eastern Honolulu. To give you an idea, the average single-family home on Oahu is roughly $850,000. Remember, though, that this price can vary greatly depending on which part of the island you're looking to buy.
On the other hand, a condominium runs about $450,000 on average, not including the HOA or maintenance fees. If you're looking to rent an average-size home, you can plan on spending anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000, depending on the neighborhood and the number of bedrooms you need. The average single-family home rental on Oahu is roughly $2,500 a month.
One thing that you may find surprising is that, while cost of living is more expensive here, the property taxes on Oahu tend to be relatively low compared to the rest of the country. They’re especially low when compared to home prices. For example, when talking about the average family home, you can expect an annual property tax bill of about $2,600 a month.
If you're looking for an average-priced home here in Kailua, our average home right now costs about $1.2 million. Our pricing starts around $800,000 for a single-family home but can reach as much as $20 or $30 million in an area like Lanikai.
To give you an idea of what a condominium might be here in Kailua, our condominiums run about $800,000 or $900,000. You also have to also consider the maintenance fees, which can be as high as $1,200 or $1,400 a month. If you're not looking to buy yet but prefer to rent, you also have to consider that you're probably going to be on the higher end of that spectrum. You're looking at rents that start at about $3,500 for a single-family home.
Taxes And Transportation
Aside from housing costs, we have other items to discuss when it comes to Oahu cost of living. While property taxes are generally low, as we just talked about, income taxes are some of the highest in the nation with a rate of 8.5% for the average resident. Prices only go up from there.
Gas here also tends to be expensive. As of the date of this recording, it's running about $3.75 a gallon—and you will need a car to get around. Remember, everything here needs to be shipped in, including gas. Because transportation to Hawaii is so expensive, food prices are also some of the most expensive in the country.
You also have to consider that annual car sticker costs can be very expensive in Oahu. Hawaii bases car registration fees on the vehicle weight. This means the bigger your vehicle, the bigger the bill. You can imagine that a giant Ford F-150 is a lot more expensive than a Mini Cooper.
Oahu also has a 4.7% general excise tax (GET) on all goods and services. While this is lower than in some parts of the country, it does affect every single transaction and can add up quickly.
Experience Oahu Living
I hope this gave you some insight into the cost of living on Oahu. If you have any additional questions about Oahu living, please don't hesitate to reach out and ask. We help provide people with information all the time who are moving either from the mainland, from other islands, or on the island. We would love to do the same for you.
If you'd like to receive more videos like this or any information on living on Oahu, make sure you subscribe to our channel so you never miss an episode. Stay tuned to the next episode of Aloha Oahu to see what I feature next!