Both!! In the sense that I would plump for somewhere inbetween, a trade-off. But neither I nor my lifestyle is very Mumsnet!! And I sort of believe that behind big financial decisions there is another trade-off that we often don't talk about: between time nad money.
I live in an area that isn't the poshest or trendiest in the city by a way, but is broadly on the up. We were able to buy a cheaper place with a bit more space, and have a bit more financial freedom to do what we wanted as a result. No-one would look at my house and be impressed - it is a small, very standard semi, not a picturesque farmhouse with acreage or a smart townhouse in a desirable postcode!! But it has been a strategy that's been very kind to us - when I became very physically ill, we could manage on one salary which allowed me to focus on recovery. Subsequently, I've been able to work reduced hours and follow some dreams. We still hope to have the place renovated and to be mortgage free by the time I'm in my early 40s. I am hoping that in 4 years DH and I can take a year out and just travel.
Space to an extent. There were a few areas I wouldn't touch with a barge pole even if there was a mansion in my price range. However I do still live in an area that I initially said I wouldn't, in a street I said I wouldn't, so we could get a decent size house. It's ok where we are, we have good neighbours and it's the better end of a very long street so we don't get trouble where we are. I looked on the police.net site and hotpots are further away to the point where we don't even hear about it. However on walking around the area, it's pretty clear what type of area it is and the DCs faith school, where a lot of children come from elsewhere, is now attracting more locals and it's quite obvious.
We looked at houses in a better area, one I said I wanted to live, but they were pokey. 2nd and 3rd bedrooms were tiny, small kitchen, tiny dining room, usually an entrance square from the front door which was straight I t the front room or straight up the stairs, no hallway. As we were coming from a 2 up 2 down where you walked straight into the front room and the stairs were also in there with just a kitchen and no dining area at all, space was important to us so we chose the 3 bedroom house with an extension and big gardens in not so nice area over the pokey houses in nice area.
Even now, we could afford more and I look at houses in the naice areas that we could just afford and they are still pokey or on main roads or not very accessible. We have a really low mortgage and I'd rather have that than he able to say I live in a naice area.