MRD, when I moved a few years ago I was having so much trouble finding an affordable place in a nice neighborhood. I was feeling really discouraged until a friend suggested a property management company where a friend of hers worked. They handle smaller properties and don't really advertise on those apartment/housing search sites. They had lots of affordable houses and apartments that I never would have known about. Maybe there are some smaller property management companies in your area that you could try. I moved here from a large, gated community and initially looked for the same thing, but I love my little house and would never go back. Because it's a smaller company, it's much more personal too.
I've had more than one friend who's rented a gate house/mother-in-law house on a property and it worked out very well and was much cheaper.
Hang in there. You'll find something that will work for your budget and makes you happy!