Living on Oahu in 2023: Everything You Need to Know
If you're moving to Hawaii and considering life on Oahu, you may be wondering what it's like to live on "The Gathering Isle" with 950,000+ residents. From the cost of living, attractions, available jobs, or the best places to live in Oahu, here's everything you need to know about living on Oahu in 2023.
Living on the island of Oahu is a unique experience that blends the beauty of Hawaii with the conveniences of city living. While having the largest population of any Hawaiian Island, Oahu is only third largest island and is home to the capital city of Honolulu. Here are some things to consider when thinking about what it's like to live on Oahu:
- Natural beauty: Oahu is known for its stunning natural beauty, from its beaches and mountains to its waterfalls and botanical gardens. It's easy to take advantage of this beauty and enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, surfing, and swimming.
- Cost of living: Living on Oahu can be expensive, with the cost of housing, food, and transportation being higher than the national average. However, it's important to note that wages tend to be higher in Hawaii as well, helping to offset some of the higher costs.
- Traffic: Oahu's popularity means that traffic can be a challenge, especially during peak commute times. However, there are public transportation options like buses and a new rail system in development that can help alleviate some of the congestion.
- Diversity: Oahu is a melting pot of cultures, with a mix of native Hawaiians, Asian Americans, and others. This diversity is reflected in the island's food, arts, and traditions.
- Weather: Oahu has a warm and tropical climate, with temperatures averaging in the mid-80s during the day and dropping to the mid-70s at night. While the island does experience occasional rain, it's often brief and followed by sunny skies.
- Community: Living on Oahu means being part of a close-knit community that values family, traditions, and aloha spirit. The island's small size makes it easy to connect with others and get involved in local events and activities.
Is Oahu a good place to live?
Yes, Oahu is a great place to live. The island offers a unique blend of stunning natural beauty, rich history and culture, and modern amenities. There are endless outdoor activities to enjoy, from surfing and hiking to snorkeling and whale watching. And with a thriving food scene, bustling nightlife, and a strong sense of community, you'll never be bored on Oahu.
Is it expensive to live on Oahu?
Yes, Oahu is one of the most expensive places to live in the United States. The cost of living is significantly higher than the national average, with housing, food, and transportation being the biggest expenses. However, there are ways to reduce your expenses, such as living outside of Honolulu, buying in bulk at Costco, and using public transportation.
How many people live on Oahu?
Oahu had a population of almost 1 million people, making it the most populous island in Hawaii, by far.
Best places to live in Oahu
The best part of Oahu to live in depends on your lifestyle, preferences, and budget. Here's some insight below to help you better determine the best place to live on Oahu for you.
Best places to live in Oahu for families
Some of the best places for families to live on Oahu include Kailua, Mililani, Hawaii Kai, and Kapolei. These neighborhoods offer good schools, safe environments, and family-friendly amenities.
Cheapest place to live on Oahu
One of the more affordable areas on Oahu is Waianae, located on the western side of the island. However, it's essential to consider the trade-offs, such as longer commutes and fewer amenities compared to other areas of the island.
Best place to live in Oahu for military
The towns of Mililani, Aiea, Kaneohe, Kailua, and Ewa Beach are popular choices for military personnel due to their proximity to military bases such as Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Schofield Barracks, and Marine Corps Base Hawaii.
Best place to live in Oahu for retirees
Kailua and Kaneohe are popular choices for retirees due to their laid-back atmospheres, beautiful scenery, and access to amenities like healthcare facilities and recreational opportunities.
Best places to live in Oahu for young adults
Kaka'ako, Waikiki, and downtown Honolulu are popular areas for young adults due to their vibrant atmospheres, nightlife, and employment opportunities.
Cost of Living in Oahu, Hawaii
How much do I need to live in Oahu?
The amount you need to live comfortably on Oahu depends on your lifestyle and where you choose to live. According to a recent report, the average cost of living for a single person on Oahu is about $65,000 per year, while a family of four would need around $120,000 per year.
What are the cons to living in Hawaii?
While living in Hawaii has its many advantages, there are some cons to consider. The cost of living is high, traffic can be frustrating, and the state is vulnerable to natural disasters like hurricanes and tsunamis. Additionally, the isolation from the mainland United States can make it difficult to see friends and family.
How much do you have to make to live comfortably on Oahu?
According to recent data, a single person needs to make at least $80,000 per year to live comfortably on Oahu. A family of four needs around $145,000 per year.
Is it cheaper to live in Maui or Oahu?
While both Maui and Oahu are expensive places to live, Oahu tends to be slightly more affordable. Housing and transportation costs are generally lower on Oahu, while food and entertainment can be more expensive.
What is the most affordable Hawaiian island to live on?
While no Hawaiian island is particularly affordable, the Big Island (Hawaii Island) tends to be slightly less expensive than the others. Housing and food costs are generally lower on the Big Island than on Oahu or Maui.
Is it better to live in Maui or Oahu?
Whether Maui or Oahu is better to live on depends on your lifestyle and preferences. Maui is more laid-back and relaxed, with a focus on outdoor activities like hiking and surfing. Oahu is more urban and cosmopolitan, with a strong arts and culture scene.
Where is the cheapest place to live in Oahu?
The cheapest place to live in Oahu is typically in the more rural areas of the island, such as Waianae, however, this area may be more isolated and have limited job opportunities.
Things to do on Oahu
Visit Pearl Harbor: A must-see attraction on Oahu is Pearl Harbor, which was attacked by the Japanese in 1941. Visitors can explore the USS Arizona Memorial, the Battleship Missouri, and the Pacific Aviation Museum.
Hike to Diamond Head: Diamond Head is a volcanic crater that offers stunning views of Waikiki and the surrounding areas. The hike to the top is moderately challenging, but the views are worth it.
Relax on the Beach: Oahu has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, with crystal-clear waters and soft white sand. Popular beaches include Waikiki Beach, Lanikai Beach, and North Shore beaches.
Go Surfing: Oahu is famous for its surf spots, and beginners can take lessons at many beaches. The North Shore is particularly known for its big waves, and experienced surfers come from all over the world to catch them.
Explore the Food Scene: Oahu has a diverse food scene, with a mix of Hawaiian, Asian, and American influences. Sample local dishes like poke, shave ice, and loco moco, or try some of the island's best restaurants.
Visit the North Shore: The North Shore of Oahu is a surfer's paradise, with world-class waves and laid-back vibes. It's also home to attractions like the Polynesian Cultural Center and the Turtle Bay Resort.
Take a Helicopter Tour: A helicopter tour of Oahu offers a unique perspective on the island's natural beauty. See waterfalls, lush valleys, and stunning coastline from the air.
Visit the Honolulu Museum of Art: The Honolulu Museum of Art is a must-see for art lovers, with over 50,000 works of art from around the world. The museum also hosts concerts, films, and other events throughout the year.
Go Hiking: Oahu has some of the best hiking trails in Hawaii, with options for all skill levels. Popular hikes include Manoa Falls, Koko Head, and the Makapuu Lighthouse Trail.
Enjoy the Nightlife: Oahu has a vibrant nightlife scene, with bars, clubs, and live music venues throughout the island. Head to Waikiki for some of the best nightlife options.
Best Beaches on Oahu
Whether you're looking to surf, swim, sunbathe, or snorkel, there's a beach for everyone. Here are some of the best beaches on Oahu:
Waikiki Beach - Located in the heart of Honolulu, Waikiki is one of the most famous beaches in the world. It's a great place for swimming, surfing, and sunbathing, and it's surrounded by a variety of shops, restaurants, and hotels.
Lanikai Beach - This stunning beach on the east side of Oahu is known for its turquoise waters and soft, powdery sand. It's a great spot for kayaking, paddleboarding, and snorkeling, and it offers stunning views of the nearby Mokulua Islands.
North Shore Beaches - The North Shore of Oahu is home to some of the world's best surf spots, including Sunset Beach, Pipeline, and Waimea Bay. These beaches are not recommended for swimming during the winter months when the waves can be dangerous, but they're great for watching surf competitions and admiring the beautiful scenery.
Hanauma Bay - This beautiful bay on the southeast coast of Oahu is a popular spot for snorkeling and swimming. It's home to a variety of marine life, including colorful fish, sea turtles, and coral reefs.
Kailua Beach - Another beautiful beach on the east side of Oahu, Kailua Beach is known for its crystal-clear waters and soft, white sand. It's a great spot for kayaking, windsurfing, and paddleboarding, and it's also a popular spot for picnics and beach volleyball.
Makaha Beach - Located on the west side of Oahu, Makaha Beach is known for its big waves and beautiful scenery. It's a popular spot for surfing, but it's also a great place for swimming and sunbathing.
Ala Moana Beach Park - This popular beach park is located near Waikiki and offers a variety of amenities, including picnic areas, restrooms, and showers. It's a great spot for swimming, sunbathing, and watching the sunset.
Sandy Beach - Located on the southeast coast of Oahu, Sandy Beach is known for its powerful waves and beautiful scenery. It's a popular spot for bodyboarding and bodysurfing, but it's not recommended for inexperienced swimmers.
Waimanalo Bay Beach Park - This long, sandy beach on the east side of Oahu is a great spot for swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing. It's also a popular spot for horseback riding and camping.
Bellows Field Beach Park - This beach park on the east side of Oahu offers a variety of amenities, including picnic areas, restrooms, and showers. It's a great spot for swimming, sunbathing, and camping.
Hotels on Oahu
With so many hotels on the island, it can be tough to choose one that fits your budget and preferences. To help you out, we've put together a list of the top 10 most popular hotels on Oahu, along with their average nightly rates for 2023.
Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina - This luxurious beachfront resort offers stunning ocean views, multiple pools, a spa, and several dining options. Average nightly rate: $1,250.
The Kahala Hotel & Resort - Known for its private beach, dolphin encounter program, and high-end amenities, The Kahala Hotel & Resort is a favorite among luxury travelers. Average nightly rate: $850.
The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort - Located on Waikiki Beach, The Royal Hawaiian is a historic hotel with lavish rooms, multiple restaurants and bars, and a spa. Average nightly rate: $625.
Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa - Ideal for families, Aulani offers a water park, kids' club, multiple pools, and Disney character encounters. Average nightly rate: $625.
Halekulani - Another luxury beachfront resort on Waikiki Beach, Halekulani features elegant rooms, multiple restaurants, and a spa. Average nightly rate: $575.
Turtle Bay Resort - This North Shore resort offers access to some of the island's best beaches, multiple dining options, and activities like surfing and golfing. Average nightly rate: $425.
Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa - A historic hotel on Waikiki Beach, the Moana Surfrider features a private beach area, multiple restaurants and bars, and a spa. Average nightly rate: $375.
Sheraton Waikiki - With multiple pools, a spa, and several dining options, the Sheraton Waikiki is a popular choice for families and couples. Average nightly rate: $350.
Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort - This massive resort has its own lagoon, multiple pools, a spa, and a range of dining options. Average nightly rate: $325.
Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa - Located just steps from Waikiki Beach, the Hyatt Regency offers multiple pools, a spa, and several dining options. Average nightly rate: $300.
Buying a home on Oahu in 2023
If you're considering buying a home on Oahu, you may be wondering what the real estate market looks like and how much it will cost. Oahu is a popular place to live, with a diverse range of communities and neighborhoods, so it's important to do your research and find the right fit for you.
The real estate market on Oahu has been hot in recent years, with demand often outpacing supply. According to the Honolulu Board of Realtors, the median sales price of a single-family home on Oahu was $1,100,000 in January 2023, up 18.6% from the previous year. The median sales price of a condominium was $490,000, up 8.1% from the previous year.
The Oahu real estate market is expected to flatten out or start to cool down due to rising interest rates however, the persistent low inventory will see Oahu relatively stable in prices. Buyers may face competition and bidding wars for fully renovated properties and/or single family homes which seem to still be in high demand.
Buying a Home on Oahu When it comes to buying a home on Oahu, there are a few things to keep in mind. First and foremost, it's important to work with a knowledgeable and experienced real estate agent who can guide you through the process.
One important consideration is the type of property you want to buy. Single-family homes tend to be more expensive than condominiums or townhouses, but offer more space and privacy. Condos and townhouses, on the other hand, may offer amenities such as pools, gyms, and security, and may be more affordable.
Where to Live on Oahu
Another important factor is the location of the property. Oahu is home to many distinct neighborhoods, each with its own character and amenities. When choosing where to live on Oahu, consider factors such as proximity to work, schools, cost of living, lifestyle preferences, and the type of community you desire. Some popular areas for homebuyers include:
Kailua is a beach town located on the windward side of Oahu, about 16 miles and 25-30 minutes away from the Honolulu Airport and Honolulu. Kailua boasts a laid-back vibe, beautiful beaches, and a variety of shops and restaurants. It is a popular spot for outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, and surfing. The area is known for its high-end real estate, with prices averaging around $1.4 million for a single-family home.
Kaneohe is a town located on the windward side of Oahu, about 12 miles and 20-25 minutes away from the Honolulu Airport and Honolulu. Kaneohe is home to the largest sheltered body of water in the Hawaiian Islands, Kaneohe Bay, and is surrounded by lush, green mountains. The area is known for its affordable real estate, with prices averaging around $800,000 for a single-family home. Kaneohe is also home to several shopping centers, restaurants, and a movie theater.
Hawaii Kai is a suburban neighborhood located on the east side of Oahu, about 14 miles and 20-25 minutes away from the Honolulu Airport and Honolulu. Hawaii Kai is known for its marina, which provides access to a variety of water activities such as boating, fishing, and stand-up paddleboarding. The area is also home to several shopping centers, restaurants, and a movie theater. Real estate prices in Hawaii Kai average around $1.2 million for a single-family home.
Pearl City is a town located on the west side of Oahu, about 7 miles and 15-20 minutes away from the Honolulu Airport and Honolulu. Pearl City is known for its military presence, with Pearl Harbor Naval Base and Hickam Air Force Base nearby. The area is also home to several shopping centers, restaurants, and a movie theater. Real estate prices in Pearl City average around $700,000 for a single-family home.
Kaimuki is a neighborhood located on the east side of Oahu, about 9 miles and 20-25 minutes away from the Honolulu Airport and Honolulu. Kaimuki is known for its eclectic mix of shops and restaurants, many of which are locally owned and operated. The area is also home to Kapiolani Community College, a popular spot for farmers markets and cultural events. Real estate prices in Kaimuki average around $1.1 million for a single-family home.
Kakaako is a neighborhood located on the south shore of Oahu, about 7 miles and 15-20 minutes away from the Honolulu Airport and Honolulu. Kakaako is known for its urban, modern vibe and luxury high-rise condominiums. The area is also home to a variety of restaurants, shops, and nightlife options. Real estate prices in Kakaako can range from around $500,000 for a small studio condo to over $20 million for a luxury penthouse.
Mililani is a suburban community located in Central Oahu. It is known for its well-maintained homes and well-manicured lawns. Residents enjoy access to several shopping centers, community parks, and outdoor recreational activities like golfing and hiking. Mililani is approximately 20 miles from Honolulu and a 30-40 minute drive from the Honolulu International Airport.
Wahiawa is a small town located in Central Oahu, nestled between the Waianae and Koolau mountain ranges. It is known for its cool, breezy weather and scenic views. Residents enjoy access to several parks, hiking trails, and outdoor recreational activities like camping and fishing. Wahiawa is approximately 25 miles from Honolulu and a 30-40 minute drive from the Honolulu International Airport.
Haleiwa is a small, laid-back town located on the North Shore of Oahu. It is known for its surf culture, boutique shops, and local eateries. Residents enjoy access to several beautiful beaches and outdoor recreational activities like surfing, snorkeling, and hiking. Haleiwa is approximately 35 miles from Honolulu and a 45-60 minute drive from the Honolulu International Airport.
Waialua is a quiet, rural community located on the North Shore of Oahu. It is known for its scenic beaches and countryside, and is home to several historic landmarks and agricultural sites. Residents enjoy access to several parks, hiking trails, and outdoor recreational activities like fishing and surfing. Waialua is approximately 35 miles from Honolulu and a 45-60 minute drive from the Honolulu International Airport.
Waianae is a coastal community located on the west side of Oahu. It is known for its beautiful beaches, rural countryside, and unique local culture. Residents enjoy access to several parks, hiking trails, and outdoor recreational activities like fishing and surfing. Waianae is approximately 25 miles from Honolulu and a 45-60 minute drive from the Honolulu International Airport.
Ewa Beach is a suburban community located on the west side of Oahu. It is known for its well-maintained homes and family-friendly environment. Residents enjoy access to several parks, shopping centers, and outdoor recreational activities like golfing and hiking. Ewa Beach is approximately 20 miles from Honolulu and a 30-40 minute drive from the Honolulu International Airport.
Kapolei is a rapidly growing suburban community located on the west side of Oahu. It is known for its well-planned development, including several shopping centers, parks, and recreational activities like golfing and hiking. Kapolei is also home to the University of Hawaii West Oahu campus. Kapolei is approximately 20 miles from Honolulu and a 30-40 minute drive from the Honolulu International Airport.
Makakilo is a suburban community located on the west side of Oahu. It is known for its panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and nearby mountains. Residents enjoy access to several parks, hiking trails, and outdoor recreational activities like golfing and fishing. Makakilo is approximately 20 miles from Honolulu and a 30-40 minute drive from the Honolulu International Airport.
No matter where you choose to buy a home on Oahu, it's important to do your research and work with a qualified professional to ensure a smooth and successful transaction. With the right approach, you can find the perfect home on this beautiful island paradise.
According to RentCafe, the average rent for a single-family home on Oahu is $2,880 per month. This is slightly higher than the average rent for a multi-family unit, which is $2,471 per month. However, rental homes on Oahu tend to offer more space and amenities than apartments or condos.
The cost of renting a home on Oahu can vary depending on the location. For example, rental homes in more desirable areas such as Kailua or Hawaii Kai can cost significantly more than homes in less popular areas. It’s important to do your research and set a budget before beginning your search.
In addition to the cost of rent, there are other factors to consider when renting a home on Oahu. Many rental homes require a security deposit, which can range from one to two months’ rent. Some landlords may also require the first and last month’s rent upfront.
When searching for rental homes on Oahu, it’s important to keep in mind that the market can be competitive. You may need to act quickly to secure the home you want. It’s also important to have all necessary documentation and funds ready to go, as landlords may require proof of income and a credit check.
Another thing to consider when renting a home on Oahu is the length of the lease. Most landlords require a one-year lease, but some may offer shorter or longer lease terms. Make sure to read the lease agreement carefully and understand your obligations as a tenant.