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3rd place: Honolulu
3rd place: Honolulu
$729,000 scores a two-bedroom mountain retreat minutes from downtown Honolulu.
Median home price: $450,000
Median income: $79,300
Affordability score: 32.7%

The biggest city and metro area in the Aloha State has been an expensive place to live for decades; little developable land and the need to import building materials from far away help keep home prices high.

They have bounced around a lot, according to NAHB and Wells Fargo, topping out at around $585,000 during the last three months of 2007 and dropping to $360,000 in the first quarter of 2009.

The economy is as heavily dependent on tourism as any American city and that industry has suffered as job losses and rapidly declining investments have made more Americans think twice about taking expensive vacations. The entire state of Hawaii has suffered a deep downturn in tourism. Hotel occupancy rates declined for 18 consecutive months before rising slightly in September.

People are still working, however, with the official unemployment rate at just 6.3% in September, far below the national average. Foreclosures are also not a big problem with just a total of 1,616 properties with filings during the third quarter, according to RealtyTrac. That was 133rd among 203 areas covered.

NEXT: 4th place: Santa Ana, Calif.

Last updated November 25 2009: 10:08 AM ET
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Source: National Association of Homebuilders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index for the third quarter of 2009.
The NAHB judges a home to be affordable if a family making the metro area's median income could devote no more than 28% of their take-home pay toward housing costs.
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