My recommendation is to first speak to your banker or mortgage broker to ascertain how much you qualify for. This will determine the real amount you can borrow and, thus afford to spend. Your budget must be the first "need" at the top of your requirement list.
Depending on the monthly carrying charges you can get a great apartment up to $800,000. The key is to look for apartments with low to average carrying charges be them maintenance charges in a Co-Op or common charges and taxes in a Condo. This factor is key in your formula.
But, I sincerely recommend that, at these historically low interest rates, you buy a property so you can begin building your own wealth. Don't pay someone else's mortgage, pay your own.
If you need to discuss this further please get in touch with me.
Sanjeev Ahuja NMLS # 148731
Home Funding LLC
110 Jericho Turnpike Ste 214
Floral Park, NY 11001
Direct Ph 917-517-2552
NYS Registered Broker, Department of Financial Services, Loans Arranged through third parties NMLS # 885573
I completely agree with everyone else. Your first step should be to speak with a mortgage broker. I helped a renting couple buy their first place last month. They were renting in Tribeca for $7k a month and didn't think they could qualify. I connected them to an broker with Wells Fargo and then helped them find a place that they now own. The place is increasing in value as more new development sprouts up in their neighborhood. I'd love to help where I can; just let me know.
Once you know what you can comfortably afford, go for it. Good luck.