Last time I reviewed Wilton Manors pricing during this past high season. I found the median sales price of a single-family home in Wilton Manors (arms length transactions only) was $360,000.

As a practical matter, what this means is that unless your household income is comfortably into six figures, or you're bringing a large bag of your own coin to closing, you're not going to be buying a single family home in the Island City.

But do not despair. Dry your tears and consider some other options nearby.

Previously I have done extensive research on one Wilton alternative, and I will update that in my next column. Today, let's consider another alternative, the North Andrews Gardens neighborhood of Oakland Park. For those unaware, North Andrews Gardens is generally the area bounded by Prospect, Route 95, Cypress Creek and NE 6th Avenue. (There is also a small section between NE 6th and Dixie, bounded by 56th and Cypress Creek.)

From the heart of that neighborhood, you're just a straight (or if you prefer, gaily forward) shot of 8-9 minutes (maybe 2.5 miles) down 6th Avenue to Wilton Drive. You're probably five minutes to the Crunch, and six minutes to LA Fitness Cypress Creek.

No it's not the same as Wilton Manors. It's also not priced the same.

The chart here shows pricing trends in North Andrews Gardens since the overall market trough in mid-2011. (The low point in this neighborhood didn't come until a couple quarters later.)

I've found, generally, the area south of Commercial has seen stronger pricing than the area north of Commercial, even though the homes in each area are similarly sized (generally 1000-1200 square feet under cooling). More importantly, pricing in North Andrews Gardens runs half of pricing in the Island City.

In closing, I will remind you of a point I've made before. Yes many got burned in the 2006-2011 market crash. Still there are points in the cycle where real estate can be a sound investment and not just a place to live.

From their low point, valuations in the area south of Commercial have doubled over just 42 months. Assuming a conservative down payment of 30 percent, that's a cash on cash return (after brokerage but before taxes) of more than 33 percent per year, compounded.

James Oaksun, Broward's Real Estate Geek(SM), is a Realtor at the Wilton Manors office of RE/MAX Preferred. In addition to having degrees from Dartmouth and Cornell, he is a graduate of the Realtor Institute (GRI).