Back when Moab was a mining town it was very affordable. Unfortunately, the real estate industry discovered that mining tourists is far more lucrative than mining uranium. Tourists in a higher income bracket discovered that Moab is a great place to "Get Away from it All". They come here for an outdoor vacation, find that 1600-1800 sq ft homes that "only" cost $269,000 to $300,000 (with Great Views! Charming Western Settings!) are a bargain compared to the average starter home on .001 acres in LA, Las Vegas, San Diego that goes for $300,000 to $500,000 and more.
In Western New York I had an 1800 sq ft house with finished basement, 3 bed 2 bath, 36 x 25 ft pole barn, separate 800 sq ft studio (with skylights! Used to watch auroras at night over Lake Ontario) on 3.3 acres. Bought it for $110,000, sold it for around $140,000. In WNY it was nothing special, just about average for Wayne County. I saw something similar here in Moab: over 1 MILLION DOLLARS! I thought the sellers misplaced a zero or two!
Summary: Real estate industry marries tourist industry; a heavenly match. Sadly its hell on anyone that grew up in Moab and wants to stay. No way, unless you hit the lottery over in Colorado.
Don't ge me wrong, I love Moab. But the price of a modest home here just blows me away. Check out similar homes in Monticello or Blanding. Huge difference. Because those are just your average good ol' down-to-earth blue collar towns. (BTW, what color is a tourist worker's collar? Spandex?)
I'm a retired disabled vet. I love living in Moab, great town, wonderful folks, especially the folks that grew up here. But if I'm gonna stay I'll have to sell my 4 bed 2 bath 1400 sq ft on .0001 acre lot.
Thats my 2 cents, anyway. Good luck, Texasmommy. I truly hope you've found a nice place here in Moab. It really is a great place to live. Just a bit expen$ive, is all.
Moab is a small community and is still a desirable place to be.
I'd be happy to help you locate a home that works for your budget.