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What You Get For $625K Around the Curbed Universe

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Welcome to Curbed Comparisons, a new column that explores what set dollar amounts buy in the ever-growing list of cities that comprises the Curbed universe. Is one man's studio another man's townhouse? Let's find out!

At just $500 below the mortgage loan limits set by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, $625K is the most one can borrow these days without venturing into the more-money-down, higher-interest territory of jumbo mortgages. Keeping below that magic number, while still scoring a luxurious home, is a goal of many a homebuyer. In Chicago, $625K buys this light-filled, loft-like apartment with dazzling views of the city skyline in a modernist tower downtown. With three beds and two baths, this place looks like a deal at that price—especially considering the rooftop pool—but it's the current owner who got the real bargain: he or she paid just $270K for the space a little over a year ago.

? In our nation's capital, Washington, D.C., the tidy sum of $625K will secure this one-bed, two-bath unit in the infamous Watergate complex. As politically-motivated break-ins are on the decline, the new owners can rest easy leaving the floor-to-ceiling doors open, allowing Potomac breezes to sweep through the open living area. The decor could certainly use an update, but that terrace, with its views north into Georgetown and across the river into Virginia, makes up for any momentary headaches.

? Off to the Big Apple, where we'd expect to find some smaller spaces for this price. Surprise, this one-bedroom flat is a bit on the cramped side, with a kitchen tucked away in a closet. On the plus side, it's located in one of NYC's storied buildings, The Alden, right on Central Park West, carries a manageable (by Manhattan standards) maintenance of $1,100 per month, and comes in six grand under budget.

? It is only fitting that off-beat San Francisco would serve up today's oddest offering, with circular windows, a floating fireplace, and a strange corner skylight. With two beds and one bath, this 1981 condo offers more space than its NYC counterpart, plus an outdoor space and lovely views of the surrounding hills.

? Take $625K to Detroit and you could probably afford to buy three stunning antique mansions within the city limits. In one of the city's more prominent suburbs, Grosse Pointe Farms, it'll fetch just one, this 3,450-square-foot, five-bedroom brick mansion built in 1935. There is plenty of space to stretch out and entertain. This cute Colonial also just so happens to be located not far from the links at the Country Club of Detroit and a few blocks from the lake.

· 260 East Chestnut St [Zillow]
· 700 New Hampshire Ave NW [Zillow]
· The Alden [Elliman]
· 236 States Street [Zillow]
· 217 Merriweather Road [Zillow]