How Much is One Acre of Land Worth in Hawaii?

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How Much is One Acre of Land Worth in Hawaii?

Bart Waldon

The tropical island paradise of Hawaii not only attracts millions of tourists every year, but is also home to over 1.4 million full-time residents across its eight main islands. With stunning natural scenery, year-round warm weather, and a relaxed way of life, Hawaii offers an appealing lifestyle for many. However, living in Hawaii also comes at a price - quite literally when it comes to the cost of real estate.

Land values in Hawaii have skyrocketed in recent decades, making buying property a major investment. So, for those looking to purchase vacant land to build a home, farm crops, or just have their own little slice of paradise, understanding land prices per acre is key.

Factors That Influence Hawaii Land Values

Real estate values on the Hawaiian Islands depend on a variety of factors that make certain plots of land more or less valuable in the local market. Key considerations include:


Hawaii spans 132 islands, islets and atolls, which offer very different landscapes. Land prices will vary enormously depending on whether the plot is on a bustling, built-up area like urban Honolulu or a more remote, largely undeveloped stretch. Proximity to desirable attractions like beaches also pushes up values considerably.

Property Type

The property type - be it residential, commercial, industrial or agricultural - heavily influences the acreage rate. Land zoned for commercial enterprises generally commands the highest prices given the business potential. In contrast, plots set aside for farming tend to be cheaper overall.


Land with existing infrastructure like utilities, road access is more valuable and convenient for buyers to build on than a remote, untouched wilderness parcel. Plots near transportation links, amenities and government services also fetch higher sums in Hawaii's real estate sphere.

Average Cost of One Acre Across Hawaii

According to the federal Department of Agriculture’s 2022 Land Values Summary, the average per-acre value of farm real estate (which includes buildings) in Hawaii stood at approximately $26,900. Compared to the price of farmland acreage across the rest of the U.S. though, this represents a 154% premium - cementing Hawaii as one of the leading states for high agricultural land values.

However, agricultural land generally sits at the lower end of the spectrum when it comes to types of real estate in Hawaii. For a better gauge of costs to buy one acre of vacant property at market rate for other uses, online land for sale listings provide instructive insight.

As a rough guide, sample per-acre asking prices for Hawaiian land parcels currently on the market as of 2024 include:

  • Residential acreages on Maui - $200,000 to $800,000+
  • Commercial acreage on Oahu - Around $4 million
  • Acre blocks suitable for residential or commercial builds on the Big Island - From $90,000 to $1 million+

So, while acreage pricing may seem reasonable in certain rural parts of Hawaii, potential buyers need to budget anywhere from six to seven figures to obtain land in built-up areas, depending on locality and zoning permissions.

Why Land Costs Are So High in Hawaii

Several key reasons explain the steep premium attached to Hawaiian real estate compared not only to mainland U.S. lots, but land globally:

High Demand vs Restricted Supply

Hawaii is world-renowned as a vacation hotspot, making its property market fueled by second-home buyers eager to own their own slice of paradise. Yet strict land development regulations limit opportunities to release new land onto the market. High demand plus capped supply equals rising land values.

Limited Scope for Expansion

Unlike major continental land masses, Hawaii's islands only span a confined surface area ringed by ocean. Natural limitations thus exist on construction potential, placing greater pressure on inhabitable areas. There are few options to keep expanding horizontal infrastructure outward.

Booming Tourism Industry

Over 10 million visitors flock to Hawaii each year, generating billions in tourist dollars. Yet more tourists plus new permanent residents need accommodation infrastructure in hotels, homes, shops etc - all built ultimately on Hawaii's restricted land supply. Hence land values climb.

Typical Price Per Acre by Hawaii Island

Drilling down to the different islands, some variation emerges in approximate per-acre land prices that sellers list based on demand factors:


As Hawaii's most populous island and state capital for economic and political activity, Oahu commands prime real estate territory. Vacant residential acreage starts from over $200,000, extending into the millions. Expect to pay $4-5 million-plus for commercial land.


Famed for its luxury resorts and golf courses, the island of Maui attracts affluent buyers pushing costs up. Residential lots run from around $300,000/acre into seven figures for plots near top amenities. Prime commercial acreage trades for $5-10 million-plus here.

Big Island

Comparatively larger with more development scope outside Kona and Hilo urban zones, the Island of Hawaii (Big Island) offers greater choice including ex-agricultural land parcels priced from $90,000 per acre. But sought-after acreages will still run to millions here too.


Lying northwest of the island chain, ‘the Garden Isle’ of Kauai retains abundant tropical forests yet has limited private vacant plots available. Prime acres start around $300,000-500,000 if available, barring wetland or conservation designated areas.

Smaller Islands

For buyers prioritizing privacy and seclusion over infrastructure, Hawaii's smallest isles like Lanai, Molokai or Niihau trade at varying costs. But landing 1 acre on islands owned essentially by billionaires presents a major challenge - requiring special approval if plots ever sell.

So, while acreage on Hawaii's world-famous islands doesn't necessarily cost over $1 million uniformly, serious investors must still be prepared to spend well into six figures at a minimum - especially if key utilities, views and surrounding attractions are priorities.

Factors That Make Properties Sell Higher or Lower Than Average Per-Acre Rate

While the above figures reflect approximate land rates across Hawaii today, the final sale price for any given 1 acre parcel will depend on an array of variables that compel sellers to adjust their asking price accordingly, and buyers to negotiate.

Factors That Increase Land Value

Desirable features commanding premium prices include:

  • Prime beachfront acreage
  • Permits, zoning allowance suited for luxury development
  • Established infrastructure - electricity, water, road access
  • Scope to subdivide into multiple lots
  • Surrounding high-value neighborhood

Factors That Decrease Land Value

Less in-demand characteristics reflected in lower per-acre valuations:

  • No utility/infrastructure connections
  • Topographical issues - steep cliffs, awkward shape, poor drainage
  • Limited accessibility, twisted access road route
  • Strict development restrictions or building codes
  • Proximity to unappealing landmarks - landfills, industrial plants

So, an acre nestled along Hawaii's shoreline ripe for high-density housing could potentially sell for over $1-2 million. Whereas a rambling, isolated 1 acre parcel stranded up a remote mountain with zero infrastructure might struggle to attract offers over $70,000.

This explains why Hawaiian real estate inevitably spans such a broad pricing spectrum. Ultimately latitude exists for savvy investors to purchase cheaper land to then develop - yet commercial ventures still require substantial capital in Hawaii compared to continental states.

How Long Does It Take to Sell Land in Hawaii?

Given Hawaii’s desirability amongst both offshore and mainland U.S. buyers seeking property in Pacific paradise, sales momentum generally remains brisk year-round when new land plots or listings hit the market - especially for completed homes in move-in condition.

However, off-plan land without standing structures or infrastructure requires greater vision, ingenuity and resources from buyers to develop - limiting prospective investor interest. Raw vacant acreage can often sit unsold for prolonged periods depending on location and physical state. So, while dreams of snapping up Hawaiian land are alluring, having sufficient financial resources and vision to transform remote plots is key.

Some typical time frames sellers can expect based on property type include:

  • Completed luxury homes - Can sell in 30 days if competitively priced
  • New subdivided lots in residential tract - From 60 days to 6 months
  • Vacant agricultural acreage - Up to 1-2 years
  • Isolated jungle/mountain acres - May wait indefinitely for right buyer

For those lacking resources or patience to develop land solo over time, collaboration with property development companies like Land Boss offer alternative exit strategies to offload land faster via direct cash sales. Rather than waiting extended periods to piecemeal sell acreage, the company purchases land outright as inventory for its investor network.

So, despite booming property prices, offloading raw Hawaiian land still requires a smart long-term strategy, extensive planning permissions, plus infrastructure establishment - or the ability to make the land attractive enough for developers. Easy fast sales purely based on location are rare without undertaking development initiatives that enhance land value. Statewide rules also regulate foreign sales adding bureaucracy.

In Conclusion: Is Buying Land Still a Good Investment in Hawaii?

Given intense competition amongst buyers spanning millionaires, developers and offshore investors for limited prime land and housing plots, market value will continue rising long-term in line with tourism projections as global wealth also grows.

So, despite the challenges around infrastructure needs, strict planning laws and inherently confined land supply, owning approved development land in lucrative zones of Hawaii remains one of the smartest property investments available for those with sufficient vision and capital.

Select raw land plots in strategic locations also carry potential for patient investors willing to gradually develop over 5-10 years without expectation of immediate returns. However, newcomers must research permit requirements thoroughly and model project budgets carefully to avoid financial risks or delays if attempting development.

Alternatively, those lacking expertise to transform remote plots themselves can also approach property companies like Land Boss that purchase acreage outright - then inject resources to carve plots into developed units for the sales market.

Overall, while buying land in Hawaii costs substantially more than mainland U.S., if acquired strategically investors buying correctly zoned parcels in today's buoyant market stand to generate sizeable long-run returns via development projects, house building or simply holding well-located land as red-hot appreciation continues.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the average price per acre of land in Hawaii?

The average price varies greatly depending on the island and exact location. As a broad estimate, residential acreage averages between $300,000 to $700,000 per acre across the main islands. High-end coastal lands can easily exceed $1 million per acre. More remote, undeveloped acreage averages $5,000 to $50,000 per acre.

Why is land so expensive in Hawaii?

Land prices are driven up by the limited supply and incredibly high demand to own real estate in this tropical paradise. Strict land use regulations also constrain opportunities for further development, while strong tourism supports property investment.

Which Hawaiian Island has the cheapest land?

Generally, the ‘Big Island’ of Hawaii has greater affordability over Oahu and Maui for properties away from main urban centers. Rural acreage starts below $10,000 on Big Island compared to over $100,000 on Oahu. Molokai and Lanai can also have lower priced listings.

How much land in Hawaii is suitable for residential buildings?

Roughly 30% of Hawaii’s total land area has urban, residential or commercial zoning classification potential currently. The rest is designated as conservation reserves, public spaces, agricultural or rural use prohibiting extensive development.

Should I buy land in Hawaii as an investment?

Buying approved, strategically positioned development land in Hawaii remains a smart long-term investment proposition for those with sufficient capital and vision to transform raw acreage into residential community projects, boutique resorts or vacation rentals. However strict planning laws require research.

About The Author

Bart Waldon

Bart, co-founder of Land Boss with wife Dallas Waldon, boasts over half a decade in real estate. With 100+ successful land transactions nationwide, his expertise and hands-on approach solidify Land Boss as a leading player in land investment.


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