A report in today's paper lists Vancouver, Canada, site of the 2010 Winter Olympics, as the 4th least affordable city in the world. It is calculated based on the ratio of the median house price to the average income for the city. The figure is 8.4, meaning it will take 8.4 years of an average income to be able to afford a house in Vancouver. The factor for Canada, as a whole, is 3.5.
Number 1 least affordable is the Australian Sunshine Coast, number 2 is Honolulu, Hawaii and number 3 is the Gold Coast in Australia.
It appears that sunshine, being on the ocean and a moderate climate are the main factors that affect housing prices.