Your Guide to Finding Affordable Housing in O’ahu

Buying a home can be a great investment, but it can also be a big financial strain if you’re not staying comfortably in your budget. And with Hawaii’s notoriously high real estate prices, how do you get the home you want while staying in an affordable price range?

Here’s your guide to finding affordable housing in O’ahu.

Step 1: Decide What’s Important

calculating commute times when finding affordable housing in o'ahuIf you’re shopping in a specific price range, you’re probably going to have to make some sacrifices. That’s true of anywhere you shop—you’re most likely not going to find the perfect home. That’s why you’ve got to decide which things are important to you.

Are you willing to commute longer to have that extra bedroom? Can you suffice with a bit less square footage to be closer to work or the beach? Are you an urbanite or does suburban living suite you just fine?

Be prepared to make tradeoffs; i.e. bigger, nicer homes usually mean longer commutes to Town.

Step 2: Choose the Right Location

affordable hawaii citiesIf you’re concerned about staying in budget, then you’ve got to be looking in the right spot. Affordable housing does exist in Hawaii… but probably not in the hot locations like Downtown Honolulu or the Waikiki area. But here’s where you can find it:


Nicknamed O’ahu’s “second city”, Kapolei is a fast-growing community filled with amenities, attractions, and lots of affordable new and resale housing. It’s got plenty of beaches, as well as lots of golf courses, tons of shopping and dining, and several nice parks, too. Though the commute time is a bit long now, a new rail line is set to open that will connect Kapolei to the Honolulu International Airport in just 26 minutes.

Ewa Beach

Adjacent to Kapolei, Ewa Beach is another fast-growing town filled with affordable living options. Ewa is right on the water, with beaches like Ewa Beach Park making it all too easy to spend days basking on the sand. It’s also home to attractions like Hawaiian Waters Adventure Park and Ewa Beach Golf Club. And it’s close enough to enjoy all the amenities of Kapolei, like Kapolei Entertainment Center.


A modern master-planned community, Mililani is filled with recent developments, affordable housing, and plenty of amenities and entertainment options, all in a carefully planned neighborhood setting. Located right off the H2 just north of Pearl Harbor and south of Wheeler Army Airfield and Schofield Barracks, Mililani is an ideal spot for military buyers. Plus, two of its schools, Mililani Ike and Mililani Mauka Elementary, were rated among the top 5 schools in Honolulu County by Honolulu Magazine.


Located between Mililani and Wheeler Army Airfield, Wahiawa is within commuting distance of both military bases and Honolulu. It’s a historic community tucked between two scenic mountain ranges, but it’s slowly developing, growing from an agricultural community to a modern hub of shopping, dining, and entertainment. It is one of O’ahu’s most affordable locations.

Step 3: Start Searching

searching hawaii homes for saleOnce you’ve figured out which areas look most promising, it’s time to start searching homes within your budget. Based on the results of your search, you may need to refine your location or your wants and needs list a bit.

If you’re just not finding the home you need in your location, you might consider expanding your search out a bit. Or if you can’t imagine spending more than a certain amount of time in the car, perhaps it’s time to reconsider how much home you actually need.

Ready to Buy Your O’ahu Home?

Are you thinking of buying a home in Honolulu? Then it’s time to contact RE/MAX Honolulu! We’re here to help you explore the area, discover its fantastic cities and unique communities, and find the perfect home for your needs and budget.

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