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For those wishing to live the good life on a modest budget, leading global franchisor ERA Real Estate proudly presents four could-be sister cities to the luxe locations of New York City, Paris, Honolulu and Valais in the Swiss Alps.

“ERA Real Estate takes pride in challenging the norm,” says Charlie Young, ERA Real Estate’s president and CEO. “Across the country, ERA® companies are rooted in cultural and adventurous settings waiting to be explored so we drew inspiration from a few world-renowned dream destinations and found a way for people to enjoy some of the opulence without the splurge.”

Manhattan of the Midwest

Ohio’s Cleveland Heights has an uncanny parallel to the city that never sleeps. Less than 20 minutes from downtown Cleveland, this suburban haven offers easy access to Broadway blockbusters, ethnic festivals and even its own Little Italy. Not unlike New York City, Cleveland offers the educational and cultural mecca of University Circle – think Union Square and Central Park rolled into one.

“Cleveland is currently hailed as the comeback city,” says broker James Lentz of ERA Lentz and Associates, Inc. in Cleveland, Ohio. “Cultural and entertainment enhancements are on the rise, making Cleveland an exciting place to live. For those wishing for a little more quiet time, Cleveland Heights offers the best of both worlds because of its peaceful community and close proximity to the downtown area at an average home selling price of $113,000.”

More New York-like facts about Cleveland:

  • The Playhouse Square Center is the second largest performing arts center in the U.S. behind New York’s Lincoln Center.
  • As in the Big Apple, celebrity sightings are the norm thanks to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and film productions such as Spiderman 3 and The Avengers.

South Florida’s Island Luxury

The idea of a “fantasy island” often conjures up images of bronzed sunbathers, stunning celebrities and stand-out surfers on the pristine beaches and waters of Honolulu. However, with this life of luxury comes quite a price tag, making a Hawaiian home just a fantasy for many. Enter Sarasota, Fla., a great metro area surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico and several barrier islands, including the white sands of famed Siesta Key Beach. Surfing, shopping, sun worshipping, sightseeing and boating are all rolled up into the breathtaking city of Sarasota.

“Sarasota is known as an affluent and well-preserved city with spectacular waterfronts and island day trip opportunities,” said broker Thomas Ward of ERA Waterside Realty in Sarasota, Fla. “While the average sale price on the island of Siesta Key is $653,000, there are various real estate options in surrounding areas offering something for everyone and every budget. Prices range as low as $100,000 up to the $4 million range. Deals can be found for under $200,000 in Sarasota from condos, townhomes and single-family homes.”

Island Living Notables:

  • Siesta Key Beach was ranked the Best Beach in America by Dr. Beach in 2011 due to its pristine beaches, calm waters and superior shell searching. Nearby Longboat Key and Lido Beach offer beach bars, high-end shopping, marine sports and the world-renowned Mote Marine Laboratory and public aquarium.
  • On the mainland, Sarasota is known for its arts and theatre scene including the annual Sarasota Film Festival and the famous John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. Sarasota’s downtown bay-front park, first-class golf courses and attractions such as the Sarasota Jungle Gardens deliver endless opportunities for outdoor fun.

The South’s River Walk Runway

Are fine dining, history lessons or quaint river strolls your passion? Skip Paris, one of the most expensive European cities; try San Antonio, Texas. One of the fastest growing cities in the United States, perhaps for its great job opportunities, San Antonio is famous for the Battle of the Alamo and its River Walk – a two and a half mile cobblestone path along the San Antonio River lined with unique shops, outdoor and fine dining and a sophisticated nightlife.

“Just as in Paris, one can roam along the river, visit galleries and well-kept parks, then dine in splendor without the credit card debt,” said sales manager Willy Peniche of ERA Troy Realtors in San Antonio, Texas. “Houses, on average, sell around $145,000, and job opportunities are on the rise so you can experience a city steeped in business, history, arts and waterfront views without leaving the country or nearly doubling your cost of living expenses.”

More Romantic River Walk and San Antonio Facts:

  • In Paris and San Antonio alike, cathedrals are popular tourist spots and places of worship. If you cannot make it to the Sacré-Cœur Basilica or Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Paris, light a candle and make a special intention at the Cathedral of San Fernando in downtown San Antonio. Originally built between 1738 and 1750, it is the oldest cathedral in the country.
  • You do not have to travel to the River Seine for a romantic boat ride. Boat tours of the River Walk via the San Antonio River offer all of the scenery at a fraction of the cost.

The Alps of America

Nestled in the Swiss Alps is the city of Valais, a small mountaineering town and home to famed ski resort Zermatt. Pressures on the Euro and increasing airfares mean that this little luxury could cost a fortune. Alpinists rejoice! Here in the United States, the quiet city of Sandy, Utah, a Salt Lake City suburb, is also etched into a picturesque and adrenaline-pumping landscape without the high climbing costs.

“At the base of the Wasatch Mountain Range sits Sandy,” said broker Thomas Webber of ERA Webber Real Estate in Ogden, Utah. “Sandy is within minutes of the Alta, Brighton and Solitude ski resorts and offers a wide array of breathtaking scenery and challenging terrain for mountaineers. With the money you save – the average home sells for around $271,000 – you can spend on more gear or try a new sport.”

More snow-filled Sandy facts:

  • The average snowfall is over 42 feet per year and unlike Europe’s hard-packed, icy snow, Utah enjoys light-as-a-cloud powder. Skiers and snowboarders – what are you waiting for?
  • Other attractions include Gardner Village for shopping, the Sandy Annual Hot Air Balloon Festival and great golf courses.

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