Each week MainStreet takes a look at what we call Extreme Real Estate. Extreme could mean comparing properties that can be had for less than $200,000 with similar spots that go for $2 million or more. Or we might present three houses in the U.S. for less than $40,000 (they do exist). Or a selection of castles in eastern Europe for under half a million. Whatever they are, you’ll be extremely impressed. This week we bring you: The American Dream, Cheap.

The American dream of home ownership can be yours for $50,000 (or less).

In case you didn't know, that's way below the average price. The U.S. real estate bubble has burst in a big way, but according to the National Association of Realtors, the average price of a home still hovers at around $175,000.

But what if your home buying budget doesn’t stretch to the hundreds of thousands? What it if stretched only to $50,000? Can the proverbial American dream still be yours? The answer is yes.

Here are two dream homes for less than $50,000:

Budget House No. 1: A Sweet Deal in South Carolina

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About 45 miles east of Columbia, S.C., sits the small town of Sumter (population: approx. 43,000) where an 1,100 square foot bungalow style house offers three bedrooms, one bathroom, a living room with a fireplace and an eat-in kitchen, all for the almost unbelievable asking price of $35,000. Sure, according to listing information, the property does need some TLC, but with a traditional mortgage, the monthly payments ring up to just $175. Taxes for the property are estimated to be another $25 per month, which should leave just about everyone with a few extra pennies for paint and a couple potted plants for the front porch.

Contact: Eloise Conyers at Century 21 A Walton Agency in Sumter, S.C., (803-469-9800) for more information.

Budget House No. 2: Interested in Iowa?

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The heartland of America continues to offer some of the most affordable real estate in the country. Located just 35 minutes from metropolitan Omaha, Neb., a vintage farmhouse sits on a spacious .38-acre corner lot in teeny-tiny Malvern, Iowa (population: approx. 1,300) and is currently listed at $49,999. The two-story, 1,400 square foot house was built in 1870, has three bedrooms, one bathroom and a single car detached garage. The home boasts original woodwork, walk-in closets, new paint inside and out and a recently replaced roof. Based on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage of 6% with a 20% down payment, the monthly nut comes to $240. The taxes are estimated at another $1,050 per year, making the total pre-maintenance costs just $330 per month which, according to the Manhattan Rental Market Report, is less than one tenth the average rent of a one bedroom apartment in a lower Manhattan doorman building.

Contact: Lynn Christensen at Re/Max Real Estate Group in Glenwood, Iowa, (712-527-1234) for more information.

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