My Housing Dilemma

As part of my job’s compensation, my employer provides housing for me and my family. The only reason I would have for purchasing a home in the next 20 years is if I decided to change careers. So, I have 20 years or so to save for my first home purchase. (If something unforeseen were to take place, I would rent a home while I continued to save for a home purchase.) I do not want to borrow to purchase a home. At a minimum, I would like to save $200,000 over the next 20 years for a home purchase. (In today’s dollars.) $500 per month saved for 20 years at 8% would equal 280K+. (I might use a Roth IRA for my home savings. In a pinch, I could withdraw my contributions penalty-free, plus I get the tax-free growth as well. My 403b is my main retirement vehicle, and my Roth IRA could serve as a back-up retirement account / savings account.) I’ll probably just save $500 extra in my ING Direct account each month, and transfer my saved-total to an investment account at the end of each year.

If any of you have saved up and paid cash for a house, how did you do it, where did you do it, and how much did it take to do it?