The rugged landscape that makes Honolulu beautiful also makes it expensive. Located on a narrow strip of land between the sea and the mountains, lots are scarce and incrediblypricey.
Home prices reflect that fact -- as well as the cost of materials, most of which have to be shipped in from the mainland.
Salaries, while higher than average, don't quite match the high cost of housing on Hawaii. Many jobs are in service industries like hospitality, and job-seeking locals often have to compete with mainlanders seeking to build a life in paradise.
Source: National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index *The percentage of new and existing homes sold in that metro area that families earning the area's median income can afford based on standard mortgage underwriting criteria.
By Les Christie @CNNMoney - Last updated November 29 2012 02:02 PM ET