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7 Mansions (and an Island!) That Cost Less Than an NYC Apartment

Considering a move from the Big Apple? Choose from one of these eight fantasy-worthy destinations and you'll be living like a king (seriously, some are castles). These jaw-dropping homes and properties are also incredibly cheap. That's a bit of an exaggeration, but if you put things into perspective you'll see why they're a steal. For the week ending July 16, the average list price on Trulia for a home in New York was more than $2.9 million, and the average price per square foot was $1,373. What can the same amount buy in other parts of the country (or world)? Flip through and you'll be shocked to find out.

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The Tuscan Estate: $1,760,200.

For just $164 per square foot (about eight times less than the asking price in New York) you can become the proud owner of an ex-convent in Siena, Tuscany. The 16-bedroom, 13-bath Italian estate offers breathtaking views, a history dating back more than 800 years, and, of course, a pool. There is a manor house, guesthouse, and pool house/gym. An existing arrangement for renting out a few rooms can help recoup costs.

A Real Investment: $1,033,600.

Looking for a roomier living situation, a quaint French town, and a business to run? At slightly more than $1 million, this four-story hotel provides all the above. This cheap mansion features 20 guest rooms, two owners' apartments, a reception floor, kitchen, spa, and storage space in the basement. It needs a little dusting as it hasn't been occupied recently, but a renovation completed in 2008 means it's fairly up-to-date.

The Horse Lover's Paradise: $1,976,015.

Less than 10 years old, this beautiful home lies on the Costa Blanca in Spain and features a large pool, terraces, barbecue, home theater, and a stable. (Check out the bathroom.) At only $229 per square foot, this five-bedroom, five-bath property is six times less than the average New York home and a total steal.

Space to Stretch Your Legs: $1,358,350.

This eco-friendly solar mansion in Nelson, New Zealand, is small by some standards, with a mere two bedrooms and two bathrooms. But it makes up for that with an eye-popping 360-degree view (seriously, look at the pictures) and 88 hectares (about 217 acres) of land. It's the choice site for anyone who enjoys a bit of isolation and a lot of ocean scenery. Included are two sheds and a large workshop.

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A Renaissance Castle: $1,797,400.

No list comparing the absurd housing prices in the United States is complete without showing off the fact that you can buy a castle overseas for less than the cost of a meager house here at home. A cheap castle in central France includes a tower room, two stone spiral staircases, castle doors, a large wine cellar, a billiard room, home cinema, and pool. Oh, and there's a guesthouse with two bedrooms, as well.

Back in the USA: $2,000,000.

After scoping out budget-priced European mansions, we wondered what our money would buy back home. At Sotheby's Realty we found an answer: a five-bedroom home in Castle Rock, Colo., that's only $261 per square foot (about five times less than the average price in New York). Remodeled earlier this year, the small mansion boasts gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains, three fireplaces, a three-car garage, and a steam room.

An Island: $799,999.

Admittedly this option costs a bit more if we use the square-foot calculation, but that's because it's a private island. Unlike many similar listings that simply proffer a plot of land to plant your flag on, this island comes with a three-bedroom, two-bath home. Complete with a protected marina and wrap-around deck, the isle with its small and cheap mansion is located in New York's famed Thousand Islands region bordering Canada.

An American Castle: $1,500,000.

To wrap things up we found a very castle-like property stateside. More than 80 years old, this 15-bedroom, 17-bathroom mansion is a bargain at just $69 per square foot -- almost 20 times cheaper than New York. Sunrooms, sketching rooms, a library, lounge, and billiard room fill in the rest of the space. Why the cheap price? It's in foreclosure in Detroit, Mich.

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