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Surprisingly Pricey Homes Lurk in America's Cheapest Town

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The town of Harlingen, Texas, located at the state's extreme southern tip, was recently named the cheapest town in America; a price index compiled by the Council of Community & Economic Research has the cost of living in Harlingen at 18 percent cheaper than the national average. Trouble is, the income level is 28 percent lower than the national average, meaning many residents are living under the poverty line despite the low-priced goods. So we found it surprising that the city plays host to some expensive—and, dare-we-say—gaudy real estate. Take this 9,300-square-foot sprawler replete with palm trees, a fountain out front, a swimming pool out back, and five bedrooms inside. At $795K, this manor seems a little out of place in these parts.

? Built in 1971, this house has been inhabited by its original owners ever since, with updates to the kitchen and backyard keeping it from being listed as "estate condition." In fact, the backyard swimming pool and patio area would be swank enough for any 2011 build, uh, anywhere, nevermind a 40-year-old resale in America's cheapest town. The 3,800-square-foot three bedroom is listed for $599K.

? This place also has a swimming pool—and boasts an additional bedroom—but costs less than half of the previous example at $200K. Built in 1954, the interiors aren't inspiring but are certainly move-in ready. Which begs the question, why is this place so cheap? Must all come down to "location, location, location."

? Prices plunge even further for those willing to renovate. This 1938 classic looks pretty dark and gloomy in the listing photos, but, for $110K, the looker on a leafy lot is one hell of a deal. Plus, the three-bedroom has been chopped all the way down from $179K. Low price for historic details that seem to be rare in Harlingen.

? Looking to invest in four rental properties on a charmless street? Harlingen has you covered. Totaling 11,000 square feet, the units lack appliances and have the boring look of beige and white, but at $325K total, that's just $81,250 per unit. Too good to pass up or a major sham? Hard to tell from this angle.

· America's Cheapest Town [Curbed National]
· Be Poor for Less in America’s Cheapest Town [Gawker]
· 1110 S Ed Carey Dr [Zillow]
· 310 E Austin Ave [Zillow]
· 538 Lake Drive [Zillow]
· 721 E Taylor St [Zillow]
· 3606 N Arroyo Park [Zillow]