How Much Does It Cost To Build A House In Hawaii?

Hawaii is located in the Pacific Ocean, and its distance from the United States mainland is 2,000 miles. Hawaii is the only state in the tropics and the only state outside North America, and it is not a country but a part of the US. The state is well known for its rich cuisine, ancient culture like hula dance, and a pristine coastline dotted with volcanoes (750 miles). 

Hawaii’s tropical city provides you with an excellent educational system, a warm climate, crystal clear water, a standard of living, and good amenities. It is one of the safest cities in the US. Living in Hawaii is higher than on the mainland, and it is an expensive state. Compared to the cost of living in California, the living cost of Hawaii is higher than 54 points. 

Cost of Building A New Home In Hawaii

You can not be delighted with existing homes because the design and facilities may not be the same as your expectations. If you can buy land and build your own house, you don’t prefer purchasing a home. Making your own house needs a lot of patience and creativity, and the result will blow your mind. 

Depending on the location, feature, and local labor, the cost to build a house in Hawaii may be between $165 to $900 per square foot. If you prefer to make a basic house with standard features, it will cost you around $160 per square foot. The building process may face some difficulties, and the cost may go higher because Hawaii is an island isolated from the mainland. 

Affecting factors to building a house in Hawaii

You can see so many cost affecting factors during the construction process. You have to be prepared for all the hurdles before. 

Building permit

You need a drawn plan from the contractor before starting the building process in Hawaii. It is $45 extra per square foot to hire a contractor, but it is a good spend. It is the contractor’s responsibility to get a permit for your construction and build the house as per the Hawaii building code. The building codes prevent the issues like beach erosion. 

The cost of a building permit may vary according to the area. $400 can be the permit fee in Hawaii to build a house worth $50,000. You have to apply for the permit, and once your plans are approved, you can get the building permit and start the process. 

How to get a building permit in Hawaii

The land permit should be the priority on your checklist. You have to go through some processes to get the license for construction. Those are – 

Application for a permit – you have to write a permit application correctly and then submit it to the relevant authority. You may get the approval in 4 to 8 months. You have to keep in touch with the agencies and consistently check the status. 

Make the building project plan – before doing anything, you have to complete your project plan because you need to submit the program to the city. If the project is big and you need a professional drawing, you have to hire an architect. 

Start construction – after getting the permit, you can start the construction process. 

Monitor the work – you need to supervise the construction. The city will schedule inspections to ensure that the plan is according to the permit. 

The final approval – to get the last support from the city, you have to complete your construction process. 

The process of excavation

If your building process needs excavation, you may run into additional labor, bedrock, and heavy machinery. If the soil engineer or the civil engineer doesn’t conduct the geotechnical survey, it will add an extra unforeseen cost. 

To avoid this problem, you should hire a soil expert or civil engineer before starting the construction process. It is their responsibility to identify the stability of the lot and take all necessary steps for a suitable foundation. 

Materials for Construction A House in Hawaii Cost

To build a home in Hawaii, you have to make shipping all the necessary materials, from drywall to windows, across the ocean. This process makes the cost of materials 1.5 to 2 times more than the actual price from the mainland.

To make your construction process reasonable, you can contact your builder to incorporate it. He can design your house with brush boxwood for floors and volcanic rocks for walls to minimize the budget. 

Labor cost

Labor cost is a significant factor in your building process. If your labours are appropriately managed, you can stay within your estimated budget. 

Some Extra Costs To Build A House In Hawaii

The extra cost depends on the features and appliances you add to your house. You have to first decide the different things you want to add to the construction and then set a budget. 

Appliances include stove hoods, refrigerators, washing machines, dryers, and ovens. Depending on the features, quality, and brand, the price may vary. You can choose anything to make your house more valuable according to your budget. 


you can choose a luxury model with thick or economy flooring with fewer millimetres. If you have a high budget, you can select flooring with underlayment material like moisture barrier and soundproofing, and laminate and vinyl flooring are more used flooring options. 


Cabinets made in China are two or three times more inexpensive than those made in America. Some cost-driving materials for cabinetry are solid wood, particleboard, and many other materials. 

Plaster finish

when it comes to the plaster finishing of drywall, it needs four levels. If you want to upgrade the finishing, it will cost more for level 5, faux, or Venetian finish. 


Pre-primed wood or manufactured wood is the primary type of trim. Stain-grade wood or hardwood would be the upgraded trim which costs more. 

  • Swimming pools, entertainment area
  • Upgrade shower with waterproof facility 
  • Marble and Corian countertops
  • American-made cabinetry 
  • Solar panel
  • Upgraded lightning
  • Innovative home technology and wiring
  • Upgraded roofing

Pool additions

Nowadays, many homeowners want a pool addition to their newly built house. It is a popular amenity to the backyard. $180,000 can be the starting price of an above ground pool, but $130,000 can be the estimated cost of an inground pool. You have to spend $20,000 more to install the pool.


$110 to $480 per square foot can be the expected price of installing a roof, and $100 per square foot or layer can be the price of a roof tear-off. The cost depends on the material quality, size of the roof, labour cost, and the type of the roof. 

Garage installation

$1,300 can be the approximate cost of a metal garage door. The cost can come between $1,170 to $1,450, and $490 per unit is the cost of a garage door opener. 

The Average Cost To Build A New House In Hawaii

For a single-family house, you have to spend as low as $290 per square foot to as high as $800 per square foot to construct a house. 

For a multi-family house, you need approximately $205 to $460 per square foot to build a new home in Hawaii. 

Average Cost by rooms For House In Hawaii

  • You need a minimum of $25,000 for the kitchen
  • $15,100 for bathroom
  • $125 to $130 per square foot for a bedroom
  • $130 per square foot for the living room
  • $130 per square foot for the master bedroom

The cost also depends upon the contractor. For example, hiring a general contractor will cost you less, but if you employ an owner-builder root or a reputable and experienced contractor, he will demand more. 

The land cost To Build A House in Hawaii

Depending on the size of the property and location, the land cost varies. The building cost of average suburban houses is low compared to the homes near beach areas with luxury facilities. To build a 395 square feet house in Hawaii may cost around $349,500 approximately

Permit fees

The permit fees are different in different areas, and they can be between $20 to $500. The permit fee can go up to $4,000 for a high-end luxury house. Apart from some miscellaneous fees with permit fees, you also have to pay property taxes. 

Design and architecture fees

The design and architecture fees vary depending on the floor plan, size, and the chosen type of work. It covers around 10% to 12% of the total budget.  


Building a house in Hawaii can take a lot of time, effort, and money, and the construction process can be stressful and challenging. Building a house there needs careful planning and patience. If you are looking forward to making your own home in Hawaii, then research the area, cost, and local builders, take pieces of advice from multiple sources and then start the process. 

The property tax in Hawaii is meagre. You can get a property tax at 0.28%. But the median annual tax is very high in the state, and it is $1,870. This is because there is a high median house value in Hawaii. You can build a house for investment purposes.