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Third place: Honolulu
Third place: Honolulu
A like-new, 3-bed, 2.5-bath on Ewa Beach goes for $449,000.
Median home price: $450,000
Median income: $79,300
Affordability score: 33.8%

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 helped inflate home values.

Median home prices have bounced around a lot, topping out at around $585,000 during the last three months of 2007 and dropping to $360,000 in the first quarter of 2009. They bounced back to $450,000 late in the year.

The economy is as heavily dependent on tourism as any American city, and that industry has suffered as more Americans think twice about taking expensive vacations. 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 5.3% in December, down a full percentage point from three months earlier and well below the national average.

Foreclosures are also not a big problem with just a total of 3,985 properties with filings during the third quarter, according to RealtyTrac. That was 128th among 203 areas covered. Still, the total was more than twice was high as three months earlier.

If that trend continues, it could unleash a host of distressed properties on the market, which should bring down prices and raise affordability.

NEXT: Fourth place: Santa Ana, Calif.
Last updated February 19 2010: 7:45 AM ET
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