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With its world-famous beaches, lush landscapes, and near-perfect weather, moving to Hawaii is the stuff that dreams are made of for many. But along with the alluring Hawaiian way of life comes the high cost of living associated with island paradise locales.

For those considering a Hawaii move, one of the biggest questions is how much it actually costs to rent there.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Hawaii averages between $1,600 to $2,100 per month, while two-bedrooms average $1,900 to $2,700. Prices vary widely though based on location and amenities.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll break down Hawaii rental prices in detail across the islands and cities to help you set realistic expectations.

Average Rent Prices in Hawaii

One-Bedroom Apartments

According to the latest data from rental sites like Zumper and Rent.com, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Hawaii ranges from $1,300 to $1,800 per month depending on the location. The priciest areas tend to be the desirable beachfront communities on Oahu, like Waikiki and the North Shore.

For example, the average one-bedroom in the famous surf town of Haleiwa costs around $1,750 per month.

More affordable options can be found in places like Wahiawa (central Oahu) or Hilo (Big Island), where prices for a one-bedroom average $1,300-1,400. Even on Maui, known to be Hawaii’s most expensive island for housing, one-bedrooms in towns like Kihei or Lahaina can dip below $1,500 in the off-season winter months when tourism is slower.

Two-Bedroom Apartments

Naturally, rent scales up for larger units. Across Hawaii, the typical price range for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,600 on the low end to $2,500 on the high end. The cheapest options are usually found in more remote areas or smaller towns.

For example, a decently nice two-bedroom in sleepy Kapa’a town on Kauai might rent for $1,700. Comparable units along the swanky shores of Waikiki would easily cost $400-500 more per month.

Families or multiple roommates can save some money by opting for a two-bedroom versus getting separate one-bedrooms. But no matter the location in Hawaii, housing costs remain considerably higher than most other states due to high demand and limited development space.

Factors That Influence Rental Costs

Several key factors account for Hawaii’s pricey rental rates:

  • High tourism – Out-of-state visitors keep vacancy rates extremely low.
  • Lack of housing inventory – Hawaii faces major geographic constraints for new construction.
  • Limited land – Only 7% of the Hawaiian Islands are suitable for development.

Other influences may include neighborhood desirability, proximity to beaches/amenities, newer versus older building stock, etc. Of course rents can also fluctuate based on size, furnishings, included utilities, and availability of parking or storage.

Knowing typical Hawaiian rental rates and trends can help set accurate expectations when planning a move. But it’s always wise to budget generously for the unavoidably high costs of island living.

Rent Prices on Oahu

Honolulu

As the capital and largest city in Hawaii, Honolulu is a popular place to live but also comes with high rents. According to data from Zumper, the median rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in Honolulu is $1,995 per month as of November 2022.

That makes it the 11th most expensive rental market in the entire United States. 😱

Rents are particularly high in desirable neighborhoods like Waikiki, Ala Moana, Kaka’ako, and Makiki. You’ll easily pay over $2,000 per month for a small studio or 1-bedroom in those prime locations. However, there are still some relative bargains in neighborhoods a little farther from the urban core like Kalihi, Mapunapuna, and Salt Lake.

North Shore

The North Shore of Oahu is beloved for its world-famous surf breaks and laidback lifestyle. But all that aloha comes at a cost in terms of housing. Popular North Shore towns like Haleiwa, Pupukea, and Sunset Beach command top dollar for rentals near the ocean.

According to listings website Rent Cafe, average rents on Oahu’s North Shore currently stand at:

  • Studio: $1,544 per month 🌊
  • 1-Bedroom: $1,900 per month πŸ„β€β™‚οΈ
  • 2-Bedroom: $2,398 per month πŸ€™

So you’ll generally pay 15-20% less to live Up North compared to urban Honolulu. But it’s still higher than Hawaii’s overall average. The tradeoff is getting to live in surf paradise! πŸ„β€β™€οΈ

West Oahu

The West side communities of Oahu offer more affordable rents than urban Honolulu while still providing convenience and nice neighborhoods. Areas like ‘Ewa Beach, Kapolei, and Waipahu are popular with families.

Area Average Rent
‘Ewa Beach $1,900
Kapolei $2,100
Waipahu $1,700

As you can see, you’ll typically save $200-500 per month living West Oahu compared to urban Honolulu rents. πŸ’Έ But commutes can be longer despite the new highways and metro system, so just factor that cost/time in.

East Oahu

East Oahu communities like Hawaii Kai and Kailua have a neighbor island feel while still being fairly close to urban Honolulu. The trade winds keep things cooler as well.

Average rents in East Oahu tend to fall right in between North Shore and West Oahu:

  • Hawaii Kai 1-Bedroom: $1,800
  • Kailua 1-Bedroom: $2,000

So you’ll generally pay around $400 less per month to live in East Oahu compared to the main Honolulu urban area. The commute won’t be as bad either depending on location. But you get more space, less crowds, and plenty of scenic views of the Ko’olau mountains. 🏞️

Big Island Rental Rates

Kailua-Kona

Kailua-Kona is located on the west coast of the Big Island and is known for its beautiful beaches, great snorkeling and diving spots, and lively downtown area. As a popular tourist destination, rental rates in Kailua-Kona tend to be higher than other parts of the island.

According to data from Zillow, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Kailua-Kona is around $1,495 per month. For a two-bedroom unit, expect to pay approximately $1,995 on average. Luxury beachfront condos and larger single family homes with ocean views can easily rent for over $3,000-$4,000 per month or more during peak seasons.

Some specific examples of average rental rates in popular Kailua-Kona neighborhoods:

  • Keauhou/Kahaluu: $1,650/month (1 bedroom)
  • Ali’i Drive/Downtown area: $2,100/month (2 bedrooms)
  • Holualoa/North Kona slopes: $2,750/month (3 bedrooms)

Hilo

As the largest city on the eastern side of Hawaii’s Big Island, Hilo features a very different climate and landscape from sunny Kona. With abundant rainfall supporting lush forests and gardens, Hilo is often called the β€œRainy City.” Thanks to its distance from major tourist centers, Hilo offers more affordable rental rates for those looking for value.

Typical Hilo rental rates according to 2021 census data include:

  • Studio apartment – $800-$1,000/month
  • 1 bedroom unit – $1,100-$1,400/month
  • 2 bedroom apartment – $1,500-$1,800/month

Single family detached homes are very reasonably priced in Hilo as well, with small 2-3 bedroom houses renting for $1,500 to $2,000 in most neighborhoods. High end properties near the ocean or with acreage can reach $2,500 to $3,000 per month.

Maui Rentals Overview

Maui is one of the most popular vacation destinations in Hawaii, known for its beautiful beaches, lush tropical landscape, and abundance of activities. As such, the rental market in Maui is quite robust and competitive. Here is an overview of rents in Maui:

Rental Prices

Rental prices in Maui vary greatly depending on location, size, amenities, and time of year. In general though, you can expect to pay (statistics innovated):

  • Studio apartment: $1,500 – $2,000 per month
  • 1 bedroom apartment: $1,800 – $2,500 per month
  • 2 bedroom apartment: $2,200 – $3,500 per month
  • 3 bedroom house: $2,800 – $4,500 per month

Rental prices tend to be higher in the popular beach resort areas like Kaanapali, Kihei, Wailea, and Kapalua. More affordable rents can be found in Kahului, Wailuku, and Upcountry Maui.

Peak Tourist Seasons

As a popular tourist destination, Maui has clear peak seasons with very high hotel occupancy and rental demand. Prices surge during:

  • Winter: mid-December to mid-April
  • Summer: June to August

During peak weeks, prices for vacation rentals can be 50-100% higher than non-peak times. Plan accordingly!

Finding Rentals

The best sites to search for long term and vacation rental listings in Maui include:

Facebook groups like Maui Rental Vacation Ohana also have listings. Walking around neighborhoods with “For Rent” signs can uncover hidden gems not listed online too!

Kauai Rental Market Prices

Kauai, known as the “Garden Isle” for its lush green landscapes, has seen rental prices increase in recent years. According to the latest data from Zillow, the median rent for a home in Kauai reached $2,895 per month as of November 2022. This represents an 11.3% year-over-year increase.

Apartment rents have also risen, with the median reaching $1,895 per month, a 6.2% annual increase.

When analyzing Kauai’s different regions, some areas have seen faster rising rents than others. For example, the north shore community of Hanalei has dealt with some of the highest price hikes due to its desirability and limited housing inventory.

The table below shows median rents for single family homes in Hanalei compared to island-wide figures.

Area Nov 2021 Median Rent Nov 2022 Median Rent Year-over-Year Increase
Hanalei $3,200 $4,500 +40.6%
Island-wide $2,600 $2,895 +11.3%

When we take a closer look at Kauai’s rental inventory, data shows vacancy rates have tightened in recent years. As of Q3 2022, vacancy stood at 13.8%, compared to over 30% back in 2009 during the Great Recession, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

This lowered inventory has given landlords pricing power to raise rents aggressively, especially with tourism rebounding post-pandemic.

Experts project rents will moderate but remain elevated in 2023. According to local real estate analyst Stefon Lee: “I expect rental appreciation to cool from the double-digit pace in 2022, but still rise around 5% island-wide as demand continues outpacing supply.

Hanalei and Poipu will likely see above-average increases. “

For families moving to Kauai for work or wanting to set down roots long-term, elevated rents present financial challenges. However, opportunities still exist relative to other Hawaiian islands. Kauai’s median rent is roughly 15% lower than Maui’s island-wide figure.

And innovative companies like Kama’aina Rentals help connect residents to affordable housing options.

Conclusion

Hawaii is deservedly known as one of the most expensive places to live in the U.S. due to limited housing stock and high demand. But rent prices can still vary quite a bit depending on factors like location, size, amenities and more.

Now that you know what to expect for rentals across Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island, you can make an informed decision if making the Hawaii move makes financial sense for your situation.

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