My dream location is the suburbs Tampa, FL. Trinity or something. The real estate there is crazy too. Take a $500K here in MA and put it in that area and we're talking $150K. It's nuts...
I did an internship in Tampa in the mid-80's, (ouch!), and lived in Temple Terrace, (northeast suburb, near USF and Bush Gardens) ... I had left Boston and gone to St. Croix for a year's internship there, then on to sunny Florida.
When I left Boston, I left a (very old and run-down) one bedroom apartment on upper Commonwealth Avenue that, (at the time), was $800/month, nothing
When I got to Tampa, I got a modern two-bedroom apartment, with marble sills, wall-to-wall, (which was a big deal then), washer/dryer/dishwasher/dispoasl/security/gated community, etc., (everything), included
for $250/month ... no security deposit, and the first two months rent were free!!
I was completely stunned at the real estate prices being so low, but at the time there was a glut of living spaces and not enough people to fill them ... it was awesome! I know it's not quite
as inexpensive today, but still, compared to New England, there is a big difference.
And while I was born in Maine and will always love it and call it home, (and require a "white" Christmas every December), in a few years I hope to move to Florida and my favorite Tampa suburb, Clearwater ... either that, or Captiva Island, (which I also fell in love with).
Some of our nicer members here at CB are from that area, and I'm sure would recommend it, too!