I have been designing and building websites since 2003, the prices that most of the companies charged back than was high, so my niche back than was to charge a lot less for the same type of design and got a lot of clients that remained with me for years. Though I would say over the past two years things have really dropped as you have said there is a lot of free software and low cost hosting sites out there. I don't make as much as I did back in '03 through 09' but now I don't really do it as a job anymore and more or less do it on the side for the fun of it and the fact of making a little extra cash.
In todays market a point of advice is charging more than $1000 is going to get you laughed at and the job is going to go to the next guy who is reasonable. As a former professional in the industry I will also tell you that most of the things that companies want to charge people are outrageous and in someways a rip off, like I said I never charged a high price for something that I had a passion to do and enjoyed, but than again I was not trying to support multiple employees and I hired friends to do certain things that I didn't want to do or didn't have time to do.
With the way the ecnomy is going you are going to find that many people looking for a website are going to take the easiest and lowest price they can come across and they want quality for what they pay. The low price firms are going to make a killing today because most of them generate the same type of sites over and over and use the littlest of resources possible.
Coding is not hard to learn if you want to learn it and I have even taught clients coding so that they could upkeep and do their own sites because design is a trade and if you want a website you should know how to maintain it. As for the over-seas designers, well they charge even less than I could imagine charging for a site and that is what companies and most people want today, cheap, quality and easy to navigate and use sites. Though like I will tell anyone, you get what you pay for and if you go cheap, free and low quality you are going to find out in the end that it wasn't worth it because cheapest is going to save you, but might not make you anything.