The housing market in the United States is in shambles, but looking at some of these comparisons will definitely make you want to buy elsewhere.

Take for example, the beautiful Stratford Castle in South Africa. You can buy this thing for $500,000 and reenact all your favorite Lord of the Rings scenes everyday. The castle comes with stained glass windows and a great proximity to a beautiful lake and golf course.

Compare that to what you might find for $500k in the San Francisco market and you’re looking for a big disappointment. Hippies everywhere, pretentious neighbors, tiny apartment, all for the same price.

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Now we travel to Europe where everyone’s favorite, the French, are offering a jewel of a chateau in a quiet town with 5 bedrooms, sauna, swimming pool, and gardens. Plus all the frog legs you can eat for that same $500,000.

Compare that to the Downey neighborhood of Los Angeles, where you can get what appears to be an old crack house with some serious landscaping issues. Jennifer Lopez’s nanny dated a guy in the 80s who lived here!

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In the Ukraine you can use $1.8 Million to buy this sweet medieval castle. It’s gotta have all sorts of crazy torture chambers, Soviet riches, and Siberian babes in it somewhere. Try not to use them all at once.

Compare that to mutha effen New York City where $1.8 Mil gets you a little converted 2-bedroom in Chelsea. The thing was probably an industrial revolution-era factory not more than 10 years ago. But now it’s close to Penn Station and you can barely fit your twin-sized bed in it.

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Let’s not forget that South Africa, the Ukraine, and France, might not be your ideal places to live. Even though you bought yourself a cheap house, all those dollars you saved will disappear when you start converting your money into Euros.

Plus South Africa is hosting the next World Cup in 2010, are you sure you want soccer hooligan nonsense all over your doorstep?

via [DivineCaroline] +photos