Sunday, August 14, 2005

Must have been a typo

"No f***ing way -- they must have left the 1 off in front of the price." This was the response Doug had when I showed him this house on the cover of today's Parade Sunday supplement. I had to admit, that was my reaction when I saw it. It was a new 1,160 sq. ft. home in Austin listed for $98,000. I figure it must be a typo as houses are not that inexpensive here. While not as expensive as say California, when we were house hunting four years ago it was hard to find anything livable for less than $120K. In parts of central Austin, houses run close to $200/sq. ft. and you feel lucky if you can find a 1950's style 1050 sq. ft. Bungalow for $200K (before renovation). The house in the photo must be non-existent or just for show to attract new residents to Austin, pulling the old bait-and-switch once they get here.

Originally we were looking at living far northwest in Leander, thinking we could get more house for our money there. We were wrong. Instead we settled for Pflugerville where we found a seven year old 1,550 sq. ft. house for $82/sq. ft. We found a nice, quiet little neighborhood, nothing too fancy, where we didn't have to worry about keeping up with the Joneses or making our mortgage payments. This strategy has been our saving grace.

Admittedly, there are times when we want a nicer place; when we are near downtown we think how cool it would be to live down there, near Whole Foods and the hike & bike trail. There is just a different vibe in central and south Austin that you don't get in the 'burbs. Still, when we think about it, we know we made the right choice and that ideally our next house will be further out, on a piece of land.

Of course, if what Parade depicts is true, we should be able to move to the country before too long.

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