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Looking to buy land in paradise? With its year-round warm weather, laidback lifestyle, and stunning natural beauty, Hawaii can seem like the ideal place to purchase property. But before sinking your savings into a sandy acre, it pays to understand the true price of land across the Hawaiian islands.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The average price per acre for land in Hawaii ranges from around $35,000 on the Big Island to over $650,000 on the island of Lanai. Costs depend largely on the desirability, development, and scarcity of land in a given region.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about buying land in Hawaii, including:

Average Cost of 1 Acre in Hawaii

According to recent real estate data, the average price per acre of land in Hawaii ranges from around $100,000 on the Big Island to over $1 million on Oahu. Prices can vary dramatically depending on the island, location, zoning, and land type.

In general, agricultural land tends to be less expensive than residential or commercial land. However, even agricultural land has seen sharp price increases in Hawaii over the past decade. Here’s a breakdown of average per acre prices by island:

  • Oahu: $1.2 million
  • Maui: $600,000
  • Kauai: $500,000
  • Big Island: $200,000

As you can see, Oahu commands by far the highest prices given its popularity and limited available land. Residential land on Oahu can sell for over $3 million per acre in prime locations!

Key Factors Affecting Land Prices in Hawaii

Several key factors account for the high and rising prices of land in the Aloha State:

  • High demand – Hawaii real estate is very desirable and supply is constrained by the islands’ geography
  • Development restrictions – Zoning and conservation initiatives limit usable land
  • Influx of wealthy buyers – Out-of-state investors and second home owners can pay premiums
  • Lack of inventory – Very little free land remains, putting upward pressure on prices

In short, land in Hawaii tends to be extremely expensive and competitive due to the unique island environment and economy. With limited private land available, prices are likely to continue trending upwards in the coming years.

How Land Prices Vary by Location

While island-level data provides a good baseline, prices can swing wildly even within the same island based on factors like:

Location Near urban centers like Honolulu or resort areas commands a heavy premium
Accessibility Remote plots with challenging access or terrain are much cheaper
Views Oceanfront or mountain views can double or triple prices
Zoning Land zoned for commercial use is worth significantly more than agricultural use

When evaluating land parcels in Hawaii, it’s essential to carefully analyze the location, views, terrain, zoning allowance, access roads, utility connectivity and other attributes to understand its true market value.

While buying land in Hawaii is expensive across the board, savvy buyers can still find deals on less desirable plots in rural areas. But prime parcels in core resort zones are only viable for the most wealthy buyers able to spend millions.

Factors That Influence Cost per Acre in Hawaii

Location and Island

The island and specific location have a major impact on land prices in Hawaii. More remote locations on less populated islands like Lanai and Molokai tend to have lower per acre prices. Land in busy resort areas on Maui and Kauai commands premium pricing.

On Oahu, coastal and central Honolulu locations fetch higher prices given the convenience, amenities, job opportunities and tourism traffic.

For example, recent sales show the average price per acre on Lanai around $1,500, Molokai around $3,000, Hawaii Island around $5,000, Kauai around $10,000, Maui around $15,000, and Oahu around $100,000 according to data aggregator sites like Land and Farm.

Land Type and Property Features

Raw, undeveloped land tends to sell for significantly less than improved land parcels in Hawaii. Property enhancements like graded land parcels, utility access, and agriculture potential can double or triple prices per acre.

Land Type Typical Price Per Acre
Raw, undeveloped $5,000 – $15,000
Partially improved $10,000 – $30,000
Fully improved, ready-to-build $30,000 – $100,000+

High-end amenities can also demand premium land pricing on luxury estates and residential communities. These may include features like:

  • Oceanfront
  • Beach access
  • Golf course
  • Security gate
  • Landscaping
  • Community pool and recreation
  • Development and Zoning Restrictions

    The type of structures and uses permitted on a land parcel significantly sways cost per acre. Lands zoned for commercial use or multi-family housing generally sell for more than raw agricultural acreage.

    Urban Honolulu County is the most tightly regulated in terms of development. Due to the lengthy permitting delays, excessive bureaucracy, inspection costs and strict building codes – improved lands ready for construction often sell for around $1 million per acre in the most desirable central locations.

    More rural Hawaii counties allow greater flexibility for uses like farming, home businesses and alternative single-family housing like container homes or tiny homes on wheels. As these lands require fewer infrastructure improvements, their lower development costs contribute to lower per acre pricing across much of the Neighbor Islands.

    Cheapest Places to Buy Land in Hawaii

    Hawaii (Big Island)

    The Big Island offers some of the most affordable land prices in Hawaii. Remote areas like Waipio Valley, South Point, and upcountry Puna have parcels for as little as $10,000 an acre. Of course, these lands lack infrastructure and may be off-grid.

    But for those looking to live a rural lifestyle or farm the land, it can be an excellent value.

    More developed areas of West Hawaii, like Waikoloa Village, also have good deals compared to the other islands. Vacant 1 acre lots sell for around $300,000 in this sunny resort area. The tradeoff is higher property taxes and mandatory homeowners association fees.

    Still, houses here don’t come cheap, so buying land is the cheaper option.


    Land prices on Kauai start around $300,000 an acre on the sparsely populated Westside. These “wilderness” lots have gorgeous mountain views but limited infrastructure. Going rates rise closer to main towns like Kapaa and Lihue, where vacant parcels can cost over $500,000 an acre.

    To find true bargains on Kauai, you’ll likely need to buy a larger, rural piece of land. Properties over 10 acres in Koloa and Waimea often sell for around $100,000 an acre. The tradeoff is possible flood zones, retired sugar cane land, and lack of county water.


    Maui has Hawaii’s second most expensive real estate behind Oahu. Even remote, off-grid parcels start around $500,000 for a 1 acre lot. Areas like Hana or Lanai are rural and affordable but difficult places to build and access.

    The most budget land options are found Upcountry near towns like Makawao and Pukalani. Here, prices range from $300,000 – $400,000 an acre, significantly less than the resort areas. But these areas are cooler, cloudier, and still about 30 minutes drive from Kahului Airport and beaches.

    Most Expensive Places to Buy Land in Hawaii


    With its world-famous beaches, vibrant city of Honolulu, and proximity to the tourism industry, Oahu lands command some of the highest prices for real estate in Hawaii. Average prices per acre surpass $1 million in elite neighborhoods like Kahala and Hawaii Kai.

    Beachfront parcels in prime locations can fetch up to $20 million per acre.

    Foreign investors from Asia and the mainland U.S. compete fiercely for limited land options on Oahu. Coupled with strong demand from local buyers, prices continue their sharp ascent. Residential lands near Honolulu or on the scenic eastern shores tend to be the most coveted and expensive.


    Though sparsely populated, the island of Lanai hosts some shockingly high land prices due to its exclusive resorts and privacy. Ellison Estate, owned by billionaire Larry Ellison, recently listed 98 acres for $41 million, equal to over $500,000 per acre.

    Past sales on Lanai have eclipsed the $1 million per acre marker for large parcels intended for luxury estates. For comparison, most agricultural land on Lanai sells for around $2,000 per acre. However, privacy and exclusivity allow certain estates to achieve exceptional prices on small pieces of paradise.


    The island of Maui is known for its high-end resorts, golf courses, beaches, and scenic natural beauty. Thus, it consistently posts some of the most expensive land transactions in Hawaii.

    In 2021, a 6.3 acre plot in Wailea Resort sold for $26 million, over $4 million per acre. Nearby, a half-acre oceanfront parcel went for $15.7 million. Development opportunities are scarce, ensuring extreme prices for lands in Wailea and along popular coastlines.

    In addition to resort areas, even remote Maui lands can list over $1 million per acre due to limited private offerings. Those seeking more affordable options can explore agricultural lands and plots lacking ocean access or views.

    Financing Land Purchases in Hawaii

    Cash Purchases

    Paying cash for land in Hawaii can be an attractive option for buyers who have the available funds. According to a 2021 survey by the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, the median price per acre of land in Hawaii was around $230,000.

    This high price means having cash readily available can give buyers bargaining power and help close deals more quickly.

    Some benefits of cash purchases include:

    • Avoiding loan application hurdles and costs like origination fees
    • Potentially negotiating better pricing or terms
    • Closing faster, which is key in Hawaii’s competitive market

    Cash buyers should still consider consulting professionals like attorneys, accountants or surveyors before finalizing a purchase. Upfront costs like surveys, title insurance, escrow fees or inspections may still apply.

    Mortgages and Loans

    Since few buyers can pay hundreds of thousands in cash upfront, financing from lenders is common for Hawaii land deals. According to industry surveys, over 65% of Hawaii’s land purchases use mortgage loans or seller financing.

    Getting a loan for vacant land can be trickier than a standard home mortgage, but options exist. Common routes include:

    • Land loans – Typically shorter-term, variable rate products from specialty lenders like Farm Credit
    • Construction loans – For buyers who plan to build on the parcel soon; often have rules about beginning construction within 12 months
    • USDA programs – For certain rural properties; can offer subsidized low rates but limited availability
    • Seller financing – The seller handles financing; terms can vary greatly so review closely

    Typical requirements for land loans include a 20-25% down payment, 600+ credit score, debt-to-income ratio below 45%, and ability to show ties to Hawaii. Closing costs resemble those on traditional mortgages and terms usually range from 5-15 years.

    No matter the financing type, buyers should research options thoroughly and partner with experienced real estate professionals before purchasing Hawaii land.


    While snagging affordable land in Hawaii is getting harder, deals on acreage can still be uncovered across some islands. Just be sure to carefully factor locale, property type, development restrictions, and financing terms into your buying decisions.

    Armed with realistic expectations around Hawaii land prices, you can set yourself up to find and fund island property purchases that match your plans and budget.

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