Costs & Fees for Hawaiʻi Real Estate
Owning a house comes with joy, pride—and a few expenses. Below, we’ll highlight some specific to the Hawaiʻi real estate market.
What Is the Hawaiʻi Property Tax Rate?
Property tax rates are set at the county level in Hawaiʻi. Rates currently average from 0.19% to 0.35% of the property’s assessed fair market value. Additionally, many counties offer exemptions for owner-occupied homes, elderly residents, and those with specific conditions.
Considering that you’ll see property taxes over 2.0% in some states (New Jersey and Texas, for example), Hawaiʻi’s property rates may seem low. However, remember that Hawaiʻi’s home values tend toward the higher side, so your property taxes can add up.
For more information on the property tax in each county—including the available exemptions—refer to the following websites:
What About Homeowners’ Insurance?
As with properties on the mainland, you’ll need to factor the cost of homeowners’ insurance into your overall budget. In addition to being a smart move to protect your investment, insurance will likely be required by your lender. (Even if you buy a condo in Hawaiʻi, which would be covered under a condo insurance policy!)
Homeowners Association Fees & Condo Fees
If you’re purchasing in a planned community or within a condo complex, you may also be required to pay a monthly fee to a homeowners’ association (HOA) or condo association. Make sure to incorporate this cost into your monthly budget.
Utility Costs & Solar Power
Hawaii’s electricity rates are among the highest in the nation—about 44 cents per kilowatt hour. Many homeowners in Hawaiʻi take advantage of the islands’ abundant sunshine to run their houses via solar power. Buying a place with an existing solar setup can save you significant money each month.
Additionally, eligible customers can also export energy back to the grid, essentially “selling it back” to the electric company. See the current rates and requirements on the Hawaiian Electric website (Oʻahu, Maui, Big Island, Lānaʻi, and Molokaʻi) or the Kauaʻi Island Utility Cooperative website.
Repairs & Upkeep
Just like any house on the mainland, your Hawaiʻi home will need its share of maintenance. Since everything has to be shipped in, materials cost for upkeep and repairs can be higher in Hawaiʻi, as can the cost of skilled labor.
Additionally, you’ll want to take into account Hawaiʻi’s unique environmental factors: powerful sunshine, strong winds in certain locations, humidity, and sea spray. All of these factors mean that you’ll need to keep a close eye on maintenance to keep your home ship-shape.
Now that we’ve covered the costs, let’s talk about the home types you’ll find in Hawaiʻi.