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A desert oasis condo
A desert oasis condo
Rachael Dalsin moved into the swanky Phoenix neighborhood of Biltmore, just 10 minutes from her office.
Location: Phoenix
Home: 2 bedroom, 1 bath condo
Price: $199,000

A para-professional with a big accounting firm, Rachael Dalsin hated her commute from the eastern reaches of Tempe, Ariz., to downtown Phoenix. It cost her 50 minutes coming and an hour going, even though, as a hybrid driver, she was permitted to use the HOV lane.

So when prices began plunging, she decided to buy in Phoenix's swanky Biltmore neighborhood, a mere 10 minute commute to work. What she found was a remodeled "patio condo" that cost her a lot less than the $370,000 that her broker, Kevin Ratkovic of Coldwell Banker, estimated that it would have sold for a few years ago.

She also got two-and-a-half years of her association fees paid for and locked a great interest rate of 4.875% on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage. That makes her mortgage payment less than $850 a month. - just $110 more than her rent, even factoring in property taxes.

Calculating her tax savings, possible home-price appreciation and what she saves on gas, it's a great deal for her.

"Besides," she said, "it's nicer in Biltmore: safer, quieter and with nicer restaurants."

NEXT: Dream house on Puget Sound

Last updated July 09 2009: 5:00 PM ET
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