Ok, I'll be buying a house in the next year and three distinct "types" of options stick out to me. Background information first:
I'm 21 (22 in a week), single, no kids. I do want to entertain, and ideally family would be able to stay with me. The town I live in (and I have to stay here for work) has a built in market with two major employers and housing values have not significantly moved in years. Just over 12k people and it'd be an 8 minute or so commute from option A or B and a 15 minute commute from option C. I do not have specific houses in mind, just specific areas.
A) A smaller bungalow with a basement and 2-3 bedrooms, on an older, quiet street. Nice sized lots and solidly built homes. In the $180-250k range. Pros: House is inexpensive, it's all I need space-wise, lots are nice, could leave from the house to ride my mountain bike, very low traffic. Cons: I'd have to upsize were I to have kids, not a whole lot of space for toys (boats, trailers, big garage, etc.), I don't really want other people's kids or cats running around my property, small driveways.
B) A larger home in a new subdivision, either buying an existing one or having one built. Small lots and questionable quality on some of them. $350-450k range. Pros: More space in the house, would last me longer, maybe more equity. Cons: More kids around most likely, small lots, could be a badly built house, more money tied up in the house, no close trails, higher traffic.
C) A really large home just outside of town near a small lake, on a 1-2 acre lot. Very expensive, 500k+ plus, and old houses and possibly poorly maintained lots. Pros: Lots of space, all of the outbuildings I want, could have an inground pool, a big garage, etc., lots of privacy. Cons: Lake could make things buggy, house would be old and probably neglected a bit, absurd amount of money tied up into my house with not much of an increase in equity, no real rules on what my neighbours can have on their lots, I'm a shift worker and the drive could suck in the winter since it's basically on a highway, low-ish but fast (80km/h speed limit) traffic.
I know roughly what I'm leaning towards but I'm curious as to what Foo would do.