Honolulu, HI (Moving-To-Hawaii.us) October 23, 2012 – Since the peak of the 2006-2007 real estate bubble, housing in Hawaii has seen a steady decline in the median sales price. However, recent month-to-month MLS data also shows that Hawaii is currently experiencing an upswing in housing prices. If this is an indication of recovery in Hawaii real estate, is now the time to consider owning property in paradise?

Honolulu, HI (Moving-To-Hawaii.us) October 23, 2012 – Since the peak of the 2006-2007 real estate bubble, housing in Hawaii has seen a steady decline in the median sales price. However, recent month-to-month MLS data also shows that Hawaii is currently experiencing an upswing in housing prices. If this is an indication of recovery in Hawaii real estate, is now the time to consider owning property in paradise?

It's no wonder Hawaii is the dream destination for relocation and retirement. Hawaii is not only one of the most popular vacation spots for people from the mainland, but also for people as far east as Japan. Almost any photo of Hawaii portrays a stunningly gorgeous composition of lush, tropical mountains dropping down into cool, pristine waters. The laid back way of life has an enduring appeal, and anyone who enjoys an active lifestyle can pick from an unlimited set of activities, from water sports to hiking and biking through some of the most beautiful scenery on the planet.

The Annual Residential Resales Data for Oahu released by the Honolulu Board of Realtors reports that the median price of a home in Oahu dropped from $643,500 in 2007 to $575,000 in 2011. With the housing market starting to show signs of recovery, mainlanders may see this as the opportune time to seize property in paradise. As enchanting as Hawaii's images of serenity seem to be, living in Hawaii might not exactly be the paradise it's portrayed to be.

A quick scan of forum posts from mainlanders who have made their move to Hawaii will reveal that the pleasures of island living also comes with its own share of challenges. Let's take a closer look at what it takes to live in Hawaii full-time.

Increased house prices and the higher cost of living compared to the mainland is a reality that simply can't be avoided. This is due in part to the idyllic climate, limited available land, and the remote geographical location that requires building materials to be shipped from overseas. Once you've accepted this fact, the next question is whether to rent or purchase a new home. Whether you buy or rent depends on your own personal situation. 45% of Hawaii residents are renters, with rent averaging upwards of $1200 a month. If you haven't settled on any particular island to serve as your permanent home, renting can be a good way to feel out the different environments to see which island is the best fit. If you have a stable job and plan on living in Hawaii for at least five years, it may be in your best interest to purchase a home in Hawaii.

The average price of a house in Hawaii was $408,000 in July 2012, compared to $297,000 in California and $139,000 in Pennsylvania. Although the home price is relatively higher than on the mainland, so is the demand. People from the mainland are constantly looking for island property, whether it serves as their permanent residence after retirement or as their private holiday retreat, making it easier to sell your home if you wish to relocate in the future.

On average, wages don't match the high cost of living, so working two jobs is common among locals. The median household income in Hawaii is $66,000 compared to $52,000 in the United States. Tourism is the biggest industry in Hawaii, with most jobs in leisure travel, hospitality, accommodation and food services. Hawaii has also experienced growth in the fields of Information Technology and Health Services.

Aside from working a double job, there are many ways local residents adjust to the high cost of living in Hawaii. Supermarket chains like Costco, Foodland, and Sam's Club make groceries more affordable, but thanks to the rich, fertile soil in many areas, you also have the option to maintain your own garden or visit a local farmer's market. Likewise, many residents look to natural resources like solar power and natural rainfall to alleviate the cost of utilities.

Online shopping is another excellent way to purchase household goods. The cost of shipping to Hawaii from Amazon.com depends on the product category, but is generally $5.00 more for most products. Although shipping is higher and delivery can take a few more days compared to the mainland, online shopping is often more affordable than purchasing household goods in-store.

To make up for the high gas prices, many residents make use of the public transportation present on many islands – including TheBus system in Oahu and Hele-On Bus in the Big Island of Hawaii. It's also highly recommended that you opt for more fuel-efficient models if you decide to buy your own car, preferably hybrids or electric vehicles.

The idyllic tropical landscape, spectacular views of the Pacific, and the calm island vibe of the locals are some of the images that make the prospect of moving to Hawaii most alluring. What photo journals and travel magazines don't reveal is that the increased cost of living and housing keeps the starry-eyed yet ill-prepared island newcomer from staying in Hawaii for more than a year. As long as you make the right adjustments to a higher standard of living, your new island home in Hawaii will be well worth the price of paradise.