What is the Real Cost of Living in Kailua?

What is the Real Cost of Living in Kailua?

Nestled on the lush windward side of Oahu, Kailua is a Hawaiian paradise that captures the hearts of both residents and visitors alike. With its stunning beaches, picturesque landscapes, and vibrant culture, it's no wonder that Kailua has become a sought-after destination. However, paradise comes at a price, and in this blog post, we will explore the real cost of living in Kailua, Hawaii.

Housing Costs

One of the most significant factors affecting the cost of living in Kailua is housing. The real estate market in Kailua can be quite expensive, mainly due to the high demand for homes in this desirable location. Whether you're renting or buying, expect to pay a premium for housing. Rental prices for a one-bedroom apartment can easily exceed $2,000 per month, while the median home price hovers around $1 million. Living close to the beach or with ocean views can significantly drive up these costs.


The cost of utilities in Kailua is relatively higher compared to the mainland United States. Electricity bills can be steep, especially during summer when residents rely heavily on air conditioning. Additionally, water and sewage fees are typically higher due to the island's limited natural resources. You may also need to budget for gas if you have a car, as gasoline prices in Hawaii tend to be among the highest in the nation.


Hawaii's remote location means that many groceries need to be imported, which can make food prices higher than on the mainland. While you can find affordable options at local farmers' markets and discount stores, be prepared to pay more for certain items, particularly those not produced locally. Dining out is also pricier, with restaurant meals typically costing more than the national average.


Kailua, like the rest of Hawaii, relies heavily on cars for transportation. While public transportation options do exist, they may not be as convenient or extensive as in larger mainland cities. Owning and maintaining a car can be expensive, including expenses like gas, insurance, and registration fees. Additionally, traffic congestion is common, leading to longer commute times and increased fuel costs.


Hawaii's unique tax system includes a General Excise Tax (GET) instead of a traditional sales tax. The GET applies to almost all goods and services, including rent and groceries, making the overall cost of living slightly higher. Additionally, property taxes in Hawaii can vary, but they tend to be reasonable compared to some mainland states.


While Kailua offers quality healthcare services, medical costs can be a concern, especially if you don't have comprehensive health insurance. Hawaii residents are required to have health insurance, and the premiums can be costly. However, Hawaii does have a Prepaid Health Care Act that helps ensure most employees have access to health insurance through their employers.

Living in Kailua, Hawaii, offers an incredible quality of life with its natural beauty, vibrant culture, and sense of community. However, it's essential to know the real cost of living in this tropical paradise. Housing, utilities, groceries, transportation, taxes, and healthcare all come at a premium in Kailua. Balancing the allure of island life with financial considerations is crucial for anyone considering making this picturesque town their home. By understanding the expenses associated with living in Kailua, you can make informed decisions to ensure your life in paradise remains sustainable and enjoyable.

Why Work with a Real Estate Agent in Kailua

Given the unique and competitive nature of the Kailua real estate market, working with a knowledgeable and experienced real estate agent is highly recommended. Here's why:

  • Local Expertise: Real estate agents in Kailua have an in-depth understanding of the local market dynamics. They can provide valuable insights into neighborhoods, property values, and trends, helping you make informed decisions.
  • Access to Listings: Real estate agents have access to a vast network of property listings, including exclusive or off-market opportunities. This gives you access to a more comprehensive range of properties that meet your criteria.
  • Negotiation Skills: In a competitive market like Kailua, negotiating the best deal is crucial. A skilled real estate agent can negotiate on your behalf, potentially saving you money or helping you secure the property you desire.
  • Legal Expertise: Real estate transactions involve a lot of paperwork and legal intricacies. A real estate agent can guide you through the process, ensuring that all necessary documents are in order and that the transaction complies with local regulations.
  • Time and Stress Savings: Searching for a home, especially in a competitive market, can be time-consuming and stressful. A real estate agent can streamline the process, making it more efficient and less stressful for you.
  • Market Trends: Real estate agents stay updated on market trends and can advise you on the best time to buy or sell. They can help you make strategic decisions based on the current market conditions.
In Kailua's competitive real estate market, having a trusted real estate agent by your side can make all the difference in finding the right property at the right price. They not only provide valuable guidance but also ensure that your real estate transaction in this Hawaiian paradise is smooth and successful.

About Scott Steiner

With deep-rooted local expertise, a history of multigenerational wisdom, and a commitment to your financial growth, Scott Steiner is more than just a Kailua realtor—he's your devoted guide and partner in turning your real estate dreams into tangible, valuable realities. If you want to buy or sell a home or have questions about the Kailua, Hawaii real estate market, contact Scott Steiner today.


Being born and raised in Kailua, a Punahou Alumni, and seventh generation Kama’aina, he has a unique perspective on the value of Real Estate here on Oahu. His personal insight to Oahu’s unique market is unmatched. Contact him today so he can guide you through the buying and selling process.

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