As housing prices soar, Honolulu becomes the third most expensive place to rent in the country

The median rent has ballooned by 19% since the beginning of the pandemic.
Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 5:35 PM HST|Updated: Aug. 2, 2022 at 6:24 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu is now the third most expensive place to rent in the country, according to new data from online rental firm Apartment List.

The analysis showed the median rent for a two-bedroom unit in Honolulu is about $2,500 a month.

That’s 19% higher than at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020.

“Honolulu, like a lot of parts across the country, has seen pretty uninterrupted rent growth throughout 2021 and 2022,” said Rob Warnock, senior research associate at Apartment List.

“In many cases, rent growth exceeds what we were used to seeing before the pandemic.”

Only Napa and the Silicon Valley in California had higher rents than Honolulu.

In fact, for the price of a two-bedroom apartment in Honolulu, you could rent three apartments in Odessa, Tex., one of the least expensive rental markets.

Warnock said one factor driving up rents in Honolulu was a lack of supply.

The situation is bad news for prospective renters like Premy Simion, who is looking for a two-bedroom apartment in the Downtown area. She hopes to pay about $1,700 a month.

About a year ago, Simion had to move in with her sister at the Waena Apartments in Downtown Honolulu after her former employer cut back her hours because of the pandemic.

She now has a new job and is making more money, but the single mother of two said the rents are still too high.

“It doesn’t really matter if I have a better job. I’m still struggling with the prices of everything ― everything is just so high these days,” the Liliha resident said.

“It is very hard. It’s stressful.”

She added that relocating to somewhere like Ewa Beach, where the rents are lower, isn’t an option because her job in town. “It’s hard because I work in town. And that means I have to get up super early,” she said.

“You know that two hours (commuting) I could use for something else that’s important.”

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