The last major state in the Pacific when heading West, the islands of Hawaii have often been dubbed paradise by many. Providing a well-known naval base at Pearl Harbor, the state of Hawaii is also home to the sets of numerous TV shows such as Hawaii 5-0 and Magnum P.I. Made of up four major islands and smaller destinations (eight islands total), Hawaii is home to local populations, retirees, government workers, military and transplants from Asia. The state represents a major tourism destination for Japanese travelers, for example. Hawaii's major economy factors include tourism, agricultural exports, and government.
With a population of just about 1.4 million and an area of about 11,000 square feet, Hawaii is a small state in every sense. It is, however, the 13th most densely populated state in the union. Hawaii's gross domestic product is around $50 billion annually with a per capita income of around $30,000. The US military accounts for a very large portion of this economic output.
As of 2013, the average home value in Hawaii was nearly $500,000, an 11% increase over 2012. The most expensive cities in HI are Lahaina, Kailua Kona, Kihei, Honolulu, and Waimea, where the median home for sale goes for over $1.5 million. More afforable areas are Pahoa and Waianae.
Hawaii is a small state, and so it follows that there are few large cities. That said, we've reviewed the three largest and provided some information that may be of interest to prospective home buyers.
Honolulu is both the state capital and by far the largest city in HI, as it is around 7 times as large as the next biggest city, Hilo. Honolulu is a very popular tourist destination, and indeed tourism is the driving force in the local economy. The city's population is 55% Asian, with significant groups of Japanese, Filipinos, Chinese, and Koreans. Honolulu is filled with beautiful locales and a rich culture.
Though it is often called a city, Hilo has no municipal government and is not actually incorporated. Hilo is a major tourist destination, and it is home to the University of Hawaii at Hilo. The "city" a number of interesting museums and cultural sites.
Located about 12 miles away from Honolulu, Kailua is the third largest city in Hawaii. It is also home to Kailua Beach, one of the most popular beaches in the state.
To be frank, banking in Hawaii is far more complicated and much less convenient than banking in the rest of the United States. The Bank of Hawaii and First Hawaiian Bank control 71% of the market, and the big national banks - namely Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Citi - do not have branches in the state. Hawaiian banks also tend to use very dated technology, and branches and ATMs are not as prevalent as they are in the rest of the country.
The largest banks in the state are:
Alternatively, one could turn to a credit union for banking. There are multiple quality options to consider. The two dominant credit unions in Hawaii are HawaiiUSA and Hawaii State. Other credit unions of note are Aloha Pacific, the University of Hawaii, Hickam, and Hawaiian Tel.
For those considering a jump to a new home in one of the Hawaii islands, working with a local real estate office is a good idea as many neighborhoods on the island have restrictions.
Additionally, using RateZip.com can find a buyer some of the best mortgage rates available for Hawaiian properties. Much like in banking, there are fewer options for home buyers to consider, but using the RateZip search engine consumers can quickly and easily compare rates, fees, and terms. A few lenders serving Hawaii today are Capital One, Amerisave, and Quicken Loans. To compare fixed rate home loans, adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs), FHA loans and more, simply follow this link to our page about mortgage rates.