Building a new house vs buying an old one

My friend Donna called me the other day to invite my family to the Crawfish Festival this weekend. We love hanging out with Donna and her husband and kids - our toddlers were born days apart and can entertain each other while we discuss other more important things over pizza and beer. Like potty training. (Funny how four adults, each with graduate degrees, have regressed to discussing poop. Ah, the joys of parenthood).

Anyway, Donna was also very excited to report that they're building a new house in Steiner Ranch, which is on the way west side of town, near Lake Travis. It's a gigantic subdivision known for its highly rated schools and views of the lake. They live in Pflugerville but don't really like the elementary school that they track to, and have been thinking of moving to Steiner Ranch for a while. Turns out housing prices on new home construction for the area have come down about $100k (this is according to Donna - can't find any research to show), and right now her builder is offering half-price upgrades as well. So, in her words, a new house with a view is going to cost less than a 20 year-old house with no view, all in the same neighborhood. Here's a link about building new homes in Steiner Ranch.

Donna has one reservation-- the commute is going to be worse for both her and her husband (who both work downtown). I'm not sure how long it takes to get into town from out there, but I would imagine it's 45 minutes or so.

Maybe, could it be? I'm one step closer to finding boat friends?