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What You Get For $400K Around the Curbed Universe

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Welcome to Curbed Comparisons, a 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!

Palm Springs isn't in Los Angeles, not even close, but while it lies more than 100 miles from downtown, the desert town sees so many Angelenos in the winter months—and has so much stunning midcentury architecture—that it might as well be. This 1959 build might not have the architectural distinction of a Neutra or the pedigree of Frank Sinatra's former home, but at just $409K, it's much cheaper. The low-slung home includes four bedrooms and three baths, along with a coveted swimming pool. As a benefit to owners who can only be around part time and would like to make some extra income to offset costs, the house is equipped with a lockable master suite, to make short-term renting easier.

? Similar to Palm Springs, slender Plum Island, a one-hour drive north of Boston, is primarily a seasonal escape for Bean Town locals looking to get out of the city. The low-lying sandy island is largely comprised of a state park and wildlife refuge, so overdevelopment is hardly an issue. This modest cottage on the island's inhabited north end houses three bedrooms and one bath in just 760 square feet, but it has a casual, beach-appropriate feel and is literally just steps from the sand. The asking price of $420K puts us just over budget.

? Belvedere, Calif., located across the bay from San Francisco, is known as one of that city's most expensive suburbs, but this $430K condo sneaks in among the multi-million dollar mansions and even manages to bring a view of the bay. The compromise here is on the size. The unit has just two bedrooms and a single bathroom, but at least shares a giant swimming pool with the other condos.

? For something that feels remote without straying far from the city center, this Philadelphia townhouse, or at least the rendering, looks pretty tempting. Listed for $400K, the as-yet-unbuilt brick house faces a private driveway, while the rear garden provides a buffer against avenue noise. The three-bed, three-bath house is a strikingly modern take on the townhouse, while retaining the familiar brick.

? Described in the brokerbabble as the "In-City Resort Lifestyle," this condo in the high-rise Olive 8 building in downtown Seattle costs $395K, cheaper than the others on this list, but boasts sky-high views of the city and the surrounding waters, along with ten-foot ceilings, a fireplace, and a modern kitchen. The buildings amenities are where the resort comes into play, with a "fitness center, day spa and 65-foot lap pool." Despite the nice amenities and new construction, there are some downsides, like the space, which is just 690 square feet and has just the one bedroom.

· 312 E Glen Cir N [Zillow]
· 10 6th Street [Zillow]
· 395 Cecilia Way [Zillow]
· 259 Leverington Avenue [Zillow]
· Olive 8 [Sotheby's International Realty]