The UX31A only ships with SSDs, it was probably the VivoBook SC300CA you saw. And yes, it you're OK with integrated graphics, there are many models and brands to choose from. Here in the US, a Core i5/4 gig RAM/ 128 gig SSD premium Ultrabook averages $1,000 to $1,100 with a touch screen. Sounds like your prices are a little higher there? Less expensive models usually have lower resolution displays and a plastic casing.
I don't think we'll see Ultrabooks with 512 gig SSDs at reasonable prices in 6 months. 2 years, yes. And yes, Ultrabooks in the 13.3" category almost always have an SSD. That's considered better and premium since they're so much faster, are shock-immune and use less power. Of course, it limits your storage space, and that's the downside.