The Best Cities in Hawaii for First-Time Home Buyers

Aloha! If you’re considering taking a leap into homeownership in the picturesque paradise of Hawaii, you’re in for a treat. Hawaii boasts a rich blend of culture, nature, and history, making it a unique destination for both living and visiting. For first-time home buyers, finding the right city can be a challenging yet rewarding journey. Let’s explore the best cities in Hawaii for you to put down roots.

1. Honolulu, Oahu


  • Economic Opportunities: As the state capital and Hawaii’s largest city, Honolulu offers numerous employment opportunities in various sectors.
  • Amenities: Being a major city, it has modern amenities, shopping centers, restaurants, and entertainment venues.
  • Accessibility: Honolulu International Airport is one of the busiest and most well-connected airports in the Pacific.


  • Cost: Living in Honolulu can be expensive, especially in popular neighborhoods like Waikiki.

2. Hilo, Big Island


  • Natural Beauty: With rainforests, waterfalls, and the impressive Mauna Kea, Hilo is a nature lover’s dream.
  • Affordability: Compared to other cities in Hawaii, Hilo offers relatively affordable real estate.
  • Cultural Scene: Hilo hosts events like the Merrie Monarch Festival, celebrating Hawaiian culture and hula.


  • Weather: Hilo is one of the wettest cities in the US, which might not suit everyone.

3. Kailua, Oahu


  • Beaches: Kailua is home to some of the most stunning beaches in Hawaii, like Lanikai and Kailua Beach.
  • Community: The town has a tight-knit community vibe, ideal for families.


  • Popularity: It has become a popular spot, and the real estate prices have risen in recent years.

4. Kahului, Maui


  • Convenience: Kahului has the island’s main airport and harbor, making it a transportation hub.
  • Shopping and Dining: It offers a variety of shopping and dining options, serving as Maui’s commercial center.


  • Tourism Impact: Being a primary point of entry, it can get crowded, especially during peak tourist season.

5. Lihue, Kauai


  • Scenic Beauty: Lihue is the gateway to Kauai’s natural wonders like Waimea Canyon and the Napali Coast.
  • Affordability: While not the cheapest, Lihue offers a good balance of affordability and amenities.


  • Size: Lihue is smaller compared to cities like Honolulu, so there might be fewer amenities and job opportunities.

Tips for First-Time Home Buyers in Hawaii:

  1. Local Knowledge: Engage with a local real estate agent who understands the unique Hawaiian market.
  2. Stay Informed: Real estate prices in Hawaii can be volatile. Monitor the market trends and seasonality.
  3. Budget for Extra Costs: Consider homeowner association fees, maintenance (given the salty air), and potential flood insurance.
  4. Embrace the Aloha Spirit: Becoming a part of the community and understanding the local culture will enrich your experience.

In conclusion, while Hawaii can be pricier than the mainland US, the unparalleled beauty, culture, and quality of life can make the investment worthwhile. Whether you’re looking for bustling city life, a laid-back beach town, or a tranquil retreat, Hawaii has a city that will feel just like home.  Connect with a local Hawaii Mortgage Broker today to get pre-approved.

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