Rent or buy in Honolulu, it’s (almost) the same

Every realtor in town will tell you that it’s better to buy than to rent. It’s true that a home is good to have as a long-term asset, but not everyone can afford to think very far forward. It’s good, then, that publishes a rent vs. buy index a few times a year, so you can get an overview of what’s happening in your city’s real estate market (and others).

Honolulu’s real estate may be expensive, but the news—good or bad—is that on average, it is not much different for you to rent or buy here. Keep in mind the study focuses on the metro area and there are, of course, variables, depending on what area you’re looking at when you drill down with a microscope. Trulia’s team looked at asking prices for rentals and homes for sale on and factored in other costs like taxes, insurance and maintenance, etc.

Honolulu and San Francisco are the only two out of 100 U.S. metros in which asking prices for renting and buying are neutral. In the other 98, buying is relatively cheaper to renting.

That doesn’t help people struggling with the option to rent or buy in Honolulu, but at least you know that the cost to you is similar. Trulia also says what really matters (if you’re only doing a basic cost comparison) is your tax bracket and whether you can benefit from the mortgage interest deduction, and how long you actually plan to live in the house.

To see the whole report, click here.