NEW YORK (MainStreet) — It's no secret that city real estate prices have gotten off the wall expensive. New York City owns the reputation, down to inspiring a popular blog about the city's worst rooms, but no matter what city you're in, coast to coast, buying property has gotten pretty brutal.

Just how bad is it? Bad enough that, for many people, they could easily give up their apartment in the city and move to a real life castle. Like one of these below:

1. Castle in the Alps - Roanne, France
Price: $2.13 million
Costs as much as: An empty lot on Staten Island.

So you've decided to enter the exciting world of homeownership. In competitive markets like these, you've got some tough decisions to make.

With a little over $2 million to spend, you could move into this castle that's for sale near Roanne, France. A beautiful little town near the French Alps, Roanne is known for it's amazing food and scenic location on the Loire River. Your new home sports a grand hall, five bedrooms, a library and approximately 183,000 square feet of wooded park in the French countryside.

Or, you could move into this charming little zero bed, zero bath, zero building empty lot on Staten Island. It does, however, have a wooden fence running along one side of the property, so you'll have a little privacy while sleeping in a tent.

2. Townhouse Chateau - Provence, France
Price: $2.14 million
Costs as much as: A Cupertino Bungalow

Let's not just pick on New York.

Moving out to the West Coast, you could settle down in Cupertino, Calif., one of America's hottest real estate markets Still, $2 million is a lot of money, and it's plenty to buy you a charming four bedroom one-story with a sunny porch and a nice back yard. All of which could fit nicely inside your other option: a chateau on the French Riviera. With three levels, six bedrooms and a 1,000-square-foot courtyard at the heart of the mansion, your new manor home even offers an attached apartment for houseguests you never really want to see.</p> <p>Who knows? With a little luck, it may even be haunted.</p> <p><strong>3. The Hacienda San Jose Poniente - Hoctun, Mexico</strong></a><br /> Price: $3.25 million<br /> <strong>Costs as much as:</strong> <a href=">4263 22nd St., San Francisco

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you 4263 22nd St. in San Francisco.

It may be brown today but just think, years before all of this extensive water damage, it once upon a time used to be white. The house may not have much in terms of character, class and style, but for $3.2 million you at least get what appears to be a very nice bush. Plus, the conspicuously run power lines let you know that electricity probably runs into the building.

Of course, this is if you live in San Francisco. Those lucky enough to have a few million dollars to spend in the Yucatan Peninsula can set themselves up in the Hacienda San Jose Poniente. This lavish nineteenth-century estate comes not only with grounds and gardens but also the ruins of ancient Mayan homes.

Or you could go with the bush. Your choice.

4. Tavern Island - Connecticut
Price: $10.9 million
Costs as much as: A New York City penthouse

I'm not going to lie: I'd live in either of these places, but just for a moment let's pretend that you only have one $10 million to spend.

As apartments go, 610 Park Avenue is a marvelous living space. With four bedrooms, hardwood floors and a prominent location in Lenox Hill, it's like having a complete house right in the middle of the city. 3,000 square feet is lot of space to move around in.

Until you compare it to having your own private island. Yes, for the same price as a condominium in Manhattan you can anoint yourself lord of a personal fiefdom. Hold summer games, gaze out upon the water or build a fleet of ships to make war upon Westeros, whatever you like. It's your own, private island.

5. Nuclear Silo, New York
Price: $750,000
Costs as much as: Two bedrooms in London

If conquering a small piece of coastal America doesn't satisfy your megalomaniacal needs, perhaps you should invest in a super villain's lair from which to plot your real ambitions. Fortunately less than $1 million can fetch that, in the form of a decommissioned nuclear silo in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. While the listing is unclear about whether this property comes with tools to hold the United Nations hostage to your evil demands, this author feels that's implied in the bargain.

Or you could save James Bond the trouble and simply head to London yourself. For the same money that got you an underground fortress, you can instead purchase a two bedroom flat in Alberon Gardens.

Before you go jumping to any conclusions, remember: the apartment comes with its own parking space. Now that's a value.

6. Biarritz Castle, France
Price: $2.9 million
Costs as much as: 150 Union Place, Los Angeles.

Congratulations, you're now a slumlord!

Once again out in France, Sotheby's has listed this magnificent castle a little less than an hour's drive from the coastal resort town of Biarritz. Commanding a view of the Pyrenees Mountains, along with its own swimming pool in case you get tired of the Atlantic waters, this building also lists 35 bedrooms. You can pick a different room for every day of the month and still have some leftover for short or long term guests who come over to stir with envy.

Or you could buy two magnificently brown apartment buildings in L.A., along with what either appears to be a battered water heater or the world's largest baked potato. It costs a little more, almost half a million dollars, but you'll own two buildings instead of one. Who can argue with that kind of deal?

--Written for MainStreet by Eric Reed, a freelance journalist who writes frequently on the subjects of career and travel. You can read more of his work at his website www.wanderinglawyer.com.