I think the finding of a larger house is a good goal. Since atleast in our area lower midatlantic/upper southern the supplies are almost non existant perhaps this can be a short to midterm goal. If you are handy or have friends that are perhaps you can buy one that needs some work. I know we have the only two houses for sale in our area for under $100,000 and both need about $30K to $50K in work but no one will touch them. Some one will come along and get a good deal. Regular fixed price would be $200K each atleast
I wish we found properties that ticked our boxes for even 4-5x that much here. That said, we're slowly moving toward taking a broken fixer-upper just to get something that has the majors covered and is 1,500+ square feet in the neighborhoods we want. It probably sounds ridiculous, but even with a $1.5 million budget, we are struggling to find something that doesn't require another $250k worth of work, and what we do find has a lousy layout (cannot be fixed), no outdoor space at all (also cannot be fixed), or has ridiculous HOA fees (some are over $2,000/month) that push the affordability out of our comfort zone. The idea that I could still be forking over $3,000+ monthly in taxes and HOA fees for a home that's completely paid off is frustrating.
Even out in the burbs, we struggle. From what we can tell, most developers in suburbia want to buy up the older homes in our size, bulldoze them, and plop hideous McMansions in their place that are too big and too tacky for our likes. Nobody updates older homes anymore it seems.
The buy tear down and rebuild in trendy neighborhoods are what my sister and her deadbeat husband used to do. They got burnt in 2008 because all he knew how to was buy old house in trendy area for $200 to $500K and tear them down and replace with new ones For $1.5 million to $2.0 million . Now he out of business
Older classic home renovation is not easy and certainly does not go as planned. In the late 1980's I renovated an 5,000 ft circa 1880 house paid $300K as is. Dumped another $300 K in renovations. I fought the neighbors tooth and nail in several court battles. They did not like my renovation style. I finally sold it for $500K just to get over it.
My grandmothers house was an older 1920's Tudor 4000 sq ft. Updated once in 1950. It is an area surrounded by several celebraties.
She bought it for $12,500 in 1929 as a foreclsoure. With limited 1950 update on her death we sold it for $250,000 in 1984. The last sale completely updated $2 million. I still like to keep track of it. It was an interesting house quality you don't see any more