Honolulu is one of the nation’s most expensive cities. Over the years, scores of Honolulu residents have moved from the Island of Oahu to Las Vegas, known as Hawaii’s ninth island, to find a lower cost of living. Moving to Las Vegas from Honolulu means swapping out tropical trade winds for dry desert breezes and lush foliage for xeriscaped yards. For many, the significant housing, food, utilities, and other basic cost savings far outweigh what they’re leaving behind.
But before you say goodbye to those gorgeous turquoise seas, find out more about how a Las Vegas lifestyle will compare to Honolulu.
What to Know Before Moving from Honolulu to Las Vegas
Housing and Cost of Living
The steep median cost of a home in Honolulu is $660,300. That’s $387,100 more expensive than Las Vegas’ median of $273,200. Another perk of moving to Las Vegas is that home appreciation is much stronger. In the last five years, homes appreciated 68% in Las Vegas while only 27% in Honolulu. If renting sounds more appealing, check out the significant savings – a two-bedroom apartment or house averages $1,120 in Las Vegas compared to $2,113 in Honolulu – a savings of almost $1,000 per month!
The cost of living in Las Vegas is about 58% lower than in Honolulu, mainly due to those incredible housing savings. However, food and groceries are 36% lower, health costs are 4% lower, and you’ll really save on utilities – they’re 73% lower.
The US family median income averages $70,850. In Honolulu, it’s higher than average at $81,544 but lower in Las Vegas at $62,786. Keep in mind that even if you don’t make as much money in Las Vegas, your living expenses will be far cheaper, especially when it comes to housing and utilities.
In addition to the tremendous cost of living savings, you’ll be way ahead of the game when it comes to state income taxes. In Hawaii, you pay some of the highest state income taxes in the nation. Great news: Nevada doesn’t levy state income tax!
Property taxes in Honolulu are 0.56%, the lowest in the nation, but in Las Vegas, your property tax will be 0.705%. According to usatoday.com, the average U.S. property tax is 1.1%.
Your Honolulu sales tax is 4.5%, quite a bit lower than the 8.38% you’ll pay in Las Vegas.
Transportation and Traffic
You’ll most likely need a car to get around sprawling Las Vegas. Although Downtown and the Strip are walkable, most other areas aren’t.
The average one-way commute in Las Vegas is 25 minutes. With public transit limited to the RTC city bus system, about 78% of Las Vegas residents get behind the wheel to commute, and only 4% use public transportation. In Hawaii, about 33% more residents use public transit than in Las Vegas, and the one-way commute averages 23 minutes.
You’ll probably find that driving is less of a hassle in Las Vegas. Out of 100 US cities, wallethub.com rates Las Vegas with the 49th worst traffic (1 = the best); Honolulu is #88. An interesting auto factoid – Las Vegas has the most car wash businesses per capita in the country. The city with the fewest? Honolulu!
Economy and Job Growth
Tourism and hospitality dominate both Honolulu and Las Vegas economies. Still, the Las Vegas economy is diverse, with other sectors such as health, high-tech, retail, and gaming leading the way. If you work in Honolulu tourism or hospitality, you’ll probably have an easy transition into the Las Vegas job market.
Job growth over the past year was 3.5% in Las Vegas and only 0.2% in Honolulu. Over the next ten years, job growth is forecast to be 31% in Honolulu and 39% in Las Vegas.
Weather and Climate
The Mojave Desert climate that you’ll experience in Las Vegas, with sweltering summers and cool, dry winters, will be a 180-degree about-face from Honolulu’s, that bathes residents in year-round tropical warmth.
In Honolulu, you have average August highs of 89 °F and average lows of 75 °F. In Las Vegas, most summer outdoor activities happen in the early mornings and evenings because in July, the hottest month, highs average 104 °F and nights ‘cool’ to a toasty 81 °F. Winter weather will be quite different too. January highs in Honolulu average 81 °F with lows of 66 °F. In Las Vegas, the January temps are much colder, with average highs of 58 °F and lows that average 39 °F.
Las Vegas only gets four or five inches of annual rain compared to Honolulu’s average of 49 inches. And while Honolulu doesn’t see snow, Las Vegas will have a very slight dusting that may add up to about a third of an inch each year.
Las Vegas’ arid desert landscape is a dramatic contrast to Honolulu. While Honolulu sits at almost sea level, the elevation of Las Vegas is 2,030 feet, and the surrounding mountains climb up to over 11,000 feet. If you think you’ll miss the splashing and surfing in the Pacific, you’ll be pleased to know that Lake Mead, about a 30-minute drive east of Downtown Las Vegas, offers all kinds of water-based recreation.
Culture, Diversity, and Demographics
About 621,662 people live in Las Vegas, while Honolulu has 350,788 residents. Over the past ten years, the Las Vegas population increased by 30%, but growth was only 9% in Honolulu. Even though Honolulu has fewer residents than Las Vegas, the population density is greater because Honolulu only covers 61 square miles compared to 142 square miles in Las Vegas.
The Honolulu Civil Beat chronicles how Las Vegas has become “Hawaii’s 9th Island.” Learn about Hawaiian community groups, events, culture, a Hawaiian charter school, and more at civilbeat.org.
You’ll notice a different ratio of ethnicities in Las Vegas – 44% White compared to 16% White in Honolulu, 33% Hispanic compared to 7% in Honolulu, 12% African American compared to 2% in Honolulu. Las Vegas has only 7% Asian compared to 53% in Honolulu, and Las Vegas is only 1% Hawaiian-Pacific Islander while Honolulu is 7.8%. 3% of Las Vegas residents are two or more races compared to 14% in Honolulu.
Voters in Honolulu tend to be more liberal than in Las Vegas. About 62% of voters in Honolulu are registered Democrat compared to 52% in Las Vegas.
Rating crime on a scale from 1 to 100, property crime rates, at 43, are equivalent in both Honolulu and Las Vegas. However, violent crime rates are much higher in Las Vegas. The US average for violent crime is 23. In Honolulu, the violent crime rate is lower at 17, but in Las Vegas, it’s 41.
Crime is usually higher in touristed areas, so take caution when you’re in Downtown or out on the Las Vegas Strip. But crime rates in most neighborhoods are relatively low. As you start narrowing down your desired neighborhoods, google the crime rates to get a good picture of the safety around your new home. Some of the safest areas in Vegas include Sheep Mountain, Kyle Canyon, and Summerlin North.
Things to Do
You may wonder if Las Vegas is all about casinos, gambling, and nightlife. It does offer entertainment-seekers all those things and more, but the recreational and family-oriented opportunities are pretty excellent too. Of course, you won’t have Honolulu’s gorgeous world-renowned beaches, but there are all kinds of water sports at Lake Mead, or snow sports, just 52 minutes northwest of Downtown, at Lee Canyon. Additionally, the surrounding mountains provide hikers and mountain bikers plenty of trails – check out the Spring Mountain Ranch State Park and Charleston Peak, both just a short drive west of the city.
Best Neighborhoods in Las Vegas
Here are some of the top locations to settle down after your move back to the mainland.
Sun City Summerlin
Rated the #1 neighborhood in Las Vegas and Nevada, Sun City Summerlin is an age-restricted community located about twenty minutes northwest of Downtown. Three golf courses, five pools, and clubhouses make day-to-day living feel like a 24/7 vacation. The median home value is $228,717, and rent is also affordable at $1,124. Find out more about Sun City Summerlin here.
Between highly rated schools, contemporary single-family homes, plenty of restaurants, bars, and grocery stores, Kyle Canyon is an attractive neighborhood for young professionals and young families. The median age is 30 – a younger crowd than Las Vegas median age of 37. Kyle Canyon is 30 minutes northwest of Downtown, on the western side of Highway 95. Click here to learn more about Kyle Canyon.
About 20,000 people live in Tule Springs, another neighborhood located northwest of Downtown. However, Tule Springs is east of Highway 95. Floyd Lamb Park, with its series of small lakes, provides extensive walking and hiking trails, and the Silverstone Golf Club fills the southeast corner. Tule Springs schools are highly rated. Ready to learn more about Tule Springs? Click here.
The median home value is Summerlin North is $328,923. Large modern homes, many with pools, and attractive landscaping add to the neighborhood’s street appeal. About 48,600 residents enjoy the nine golf courses and beautifully maintained parks. Restaurants, coffee shops, and grocery stores add to the convenience of living in Summerlin North. Here’s more information about Summerlin North.
Drive about twenty minutes southwest of Downtown, and you find The Lakes, rated as Las Vegas’ most diverse neighborhood and the best neighborhood for young professionals. Families like The Lakes too because the schools rate above average, and there are some lovely shady parks. The median home price is $305,152. Learn more about The Lakes here.
About 15,000 people live in Pioneer Park. Housing ranges from apartments, townhomes, condos, and single-family homes. Prices average $175,000 and rents average under $1,000. Pioneer Park is located about 15 minutes west of Downtown and offers a suburban feel. There are plenty of restaurants, casual cafes, and four parks. Here’s where you can learn more about Pioneer Park.
The master-planned Centennial Hills is about 30 minutes northwest of Downtown, directly east of Sun City Summerlin. One of Las Vegas’ newer developments, housing is available in apartments, townhomes, and detached single-family homes, some with acreage. About 45,700 people live in Centennial Hills, and many enjoy the huge 120-acre park that’s filled with family-friendly amenities. Click here to learn more about Centennial Hills.
Angel Park Lindell
About 15 minutes west of Downtown, Angel Park Lindell has affordably priced housing and is rated Las Vegas’ #8 best neighborhood. About 13,650 people live in this suburban community, where the schools rate above average. Rents average $1,120, and the homes average around $170,000. Find out more details about Angel Park Lindell here.
Cost of Moving from Honolulu to Las Vegas
On average, it costs about $9,500-$11,000 to move from Honolulu to Las Vegas. Though this might sound expensive, consider that you are hauling your stuff about 2,756 miles across the ocean to the mainland. The total cost of your move will depend on several variables, including your origin and destination zip codes, the time of year you’re moving, the size of your household, and which services you require. The best way to get an accurate estimate is by scheduling an in-home or virtual (no contact) walkthrough with a licensed and insured interstate mover. Get free moving quotes from the best Honolulu to Las Vegas movers now!