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Old 03-28-2012, 11:39 PM
 
2 posts, read 1,836 times
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We are a young married couple planning on moving to the US and starting a family. We are a mixed-race British couple who have quite a few years living in Hong Kong and working very hard to save for an early retirement. Our situation eventually will be to buy a cheap house in cash (no more than $150k - condos are fine as long as they are family friendly), and to live a frugal lifestyle using investment income from the remainder of our money.

Coming from the UK we are done with overcast skies and back-to-back rainy days. Hong Kong is an improvement but not a huge amount better with only about 1800/1900 annual sunshine hours I think (less than Seattle). We both hate the 6 months of oppresive humidity here where the night-time tempurature is barely lower than the daytime temp. So we'd like to avoid humidity if possible, but having looked at weather data I don't think places like Houston are as bad as here. It is all an improvement on UK weather though!

So we are looking for somewhere which is:

* Sunny - (hot is not necessary though)
* Dry - if possible
* Cheap - 3 bed property for $150k
* A favourable tax regime - for our frugal existance
* Liberal - we will be raising mixed-race children and are both relative foreigners to the USA so need somewhere with an open-minded population
* Athiest-friendly - we are not raving athiests, but we are non-religious. Religion in the USA is much stronger than in the UK and while I don't care what people believe, I don't want to hear about it all day long and I don't want our kids to be converted away from us
* Artsy - I play in bands and my wife is an artist/illustrator
* Dog-friendly - we're dog people and get tired of anti-dogists and OTT dogist rules

We like to live a healthy lifestyle, so the ability to live a healthy lifestyle is another factor we will look for. This is things like walkability, bike-ability, access to farmer's markets/organic food stores and access to recreatonal activities for us and our children.

So far we have looked at (in no particular order):

* Houston
* Austin
* Albuqueque
* Pheonix
* Las Vegas


Can anybody comment on how suitable these places are for us? Any other/better places you can add?

Southern Californian weather would be amazing, but it is out of our price range I think (unless you're in the desert = too conservative for us?) and has a high tax burden.

Austin seems to tick a lot of boxes but it is more expensive than the others. Am I right in thinking that properties which are $150k or under will be in Texan-style ultra-conservative areas?

*****Just in case anybody is wondering, I am perfectly aware of the need for VISAs. I am a US citizen by birth (though not upbringing) and my wife can quite easily get spouse visa with a fast-track to citizenship.

Thanks everyone!
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Old 03-29-2012, 05:41 AM
 
21,218 posts, read 30,435,315 times
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FYI, Houston and Austin have considerably high levels of humidity and scorching heat half the year. Furthermore I would rethink your complete aversion to humidity and precipitation as there are some great choices that would tick all of your boxes (except for lack of humidity and precipitation). My thought was Colorado and places like Boulder which are quite expensive, however the suburbs (such as Longmont which is 15 miles from Boulder) offer a nice selection of 3 bedroom/2 bath homes around 150K.

About Longmont, City of Longmont, Colorado
Longmont, Colorado - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 03-29-2012, 09:18 AM
 
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Ah. I had been under the impression that Austin was a lot less humid than Houston.. Oh well.

I had thought about Colorado and actually we don't mind cold/snow if it comes with sunshine and dry weather. I discounted it because I thought the prices would be too high. I liked the look of Boulder but it's way expensive we'd for us. I'll definitely check out Longmont though... Thanks!
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Old 03-29-2012, 11:33 AM
 
Location: Atlanta, GA
443 posts, read 774,560 times
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NM maybe?

West Texas?

Maybe Colorado but i suspect there may be more in terms of cold...
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Old 03-29-2012, 11:44 AM
 
Location: Austin, Texas, USA
1,309 posts, read 2,356,296 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clickybiro View Post
Ah. I had been under the impression that Austin was a lot less humid than Houston.. Oh well.

I had thought about Colorado and actually we don't mind cold/snow if it comes with sunshine and dry weather. I discounted it because I thought the prices would be too high. I liked the look of Boulder but it's way expensive we'd for us. I'll definitely check out Longmont though... Thanks!
Well, they're not as different as some make it out to be but it would definitely be incorrect to say that they have the same levels of humidity. It's way off to say that Austin has 'oppressive humidity' for much of the year, I've lived in both places and Austin is less humid but hotter than Houston. It's not a knock on either place it's just a fact. Personally I prefer to take an increase in heat for a bit less humidity. Coming from Hong Kong I can't imagine you'd find the Austin humidity that bad - it's all a matter of perspective. Obviously both are much more humid than ABQ, PHX or Vegas.

To answer your real estate question: no, at that budget in Austin you would not be stuck out in the 'Texas-style ultra-conservative' areas, as you call them However it will be a tall order to find a 3-br house or condo at that price in central Austin, but it would be possible in parts of South and East Austin proper. Texas has no state income tax but that won't make a difference to you...but we do have high property taxes, which will affect you. So all in all Austin/Texas isn't the most favorable to your family tax-wise. If you could find a place though, I think you'd love it here - Austin is liberal, artsy and LOVES its dogs!

Colorado would be an excellent choice, i lived there for 15 years and it would fit your criteria well but I can't imagine finding a decent 3-br home in or around Denver/Boulder/Fort Collins for 150K.

Any other criteria that are important to you? Do you prefer a larger city? Outdoor activities? Water? Scenery? Music? Museums? Lots of Kid-friendly stuff? What do y'all do for fun?
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Old 03-29-2012, 07:25 PM
 
Location: Indianapolis
3,895 posts, read 4,575,440 times
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Indianapolis has the nations most affordable housing market which is great for buying a home.
Property Taxes are capped at 1% of your homes value across the state.
Plus our weather is balanced with all 4 seasons and not to hot summers or to cold of winters.
Indy is very friendly and accepting of other races and cultures and beliefs.
Also there is a major growing art scene in the city. With venues like the Indianapolis Sympathy orchestra hiring a new highly valued director and playing some outstanding performances. Plus Fountain Square and Mass Ave is teaming with Artwork.
Indy is also dog friendly too. Heck alot of our state parks are flexible on allowing dogs in too like Eagle Creek State park.
Were the fastest growing city/metro in the midwest and 8th in the nation. Also were a 3 hour drive from Chicago/Lake Michigan and within a days drive to 75% of the US population for easy vacations and we have a brand new International Airport Terminal
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Old 03-29-2012, 09:11 PM
 
Location: Austin, Texas, USA
1,309 posts, read 2,356,296 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Broadrippleguy View Post
Indianapolis has the nations most affordable housing market which is great for buying a home.
Property Taxes are capped at 1% of your homes value across the state.
Plus our weather is balanced with all 4 seasons and not to hot summers or to cold of winters.
Indy is very friendly and accepting of other races and cultures and beliefs.
Also there is a major growing art scene in the city. With venues like the Indianapolis Sympathy orchestra hiring a new highly valued director and playing some outstanding performances. Plus Fountain Square and Mass Ave is teaming with Artwork.
Indy is also dog friendly too. Heck alot of our state parks are flexible on allowing dogs in too like Eagle Creek State park.
Were the fastest growing city/metro in the midwest and 8th in the nation. Also were a 3 hour drive from Chicago/Lake Michigan and within a days drive to 75% of the US population for easy vacations and we have a brand new International Airport Terminal

Dude, did you even read what the OP is looking for, or are you just copy/pasting from Indy's Chamber of Commerce website? Indy is a great city but really doesn't match up with what they want. To wit:

Dry -- Indy can have some good weather but is generally humid.
Sunny -- Compared to the average U.S. city, Indy has fewer sunny days.
Liberal -- Indy has gotten more this way but can't really be defined as liberal by any means, esp. from the OP's perspective. It could be called moderate.
Walkability -- Indy's WalkScore is 37/100, or "car-dependent", 45th out of the 50 largest cities.
Bicycle-friendly -- Indy has pretty weak infrastructure and a "bronze" rating from LoAB, which is just OK.
Healthy/health-conscious -- Indy has high rates of obesity and diabetes and low rates of eating produce, according to Gallup Healthways.

I'm not trying to bash Indy, it really is a nice place, I'm just trying to illustrate that it's not necessarily a good fit for the OP & their circumstances. Overt cheerleading posts are just not that helpful for people wanting practical info.
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Old 03-30-2012, 08:45 AM
 
56,752 posts, read 81,082,761 times
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Maybe a liberal part of Utah? Perhaps parts of Salt Lake City or cities with colleges like Logan or Cedar City.
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Old 03-31-2012, 11:24 AM
 
Location: plano
6,588 posts, read 8,121,458 times
Reputation: 5839
Quote:
Originally Posted by clickybiro View Post
Ah. I had been under the impression that Austin was a lot less humid than Houston.. Oh well.

I had thought about Colorado and actually we don't mind cold/snow if it comes with sunshine and dry weather. I discounted it because I thought the prices would be too high. I liked the look of Boulder but it's way expensive we'd for us. I'll definitely check out Longmont though... Thanks!
You are correct about Austin being less humid than Houston. Replace Houston with Dallas area if you are wanting less humidity
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