The cost of a home in WNY can be summed up with the word "affordable." The cost of a home as a multiple of median income is low here as compared to the rest of the country. The percentage of income used for mortgage payments in also low. This means that in WNY people spend less of their disposable income on housing. In addition, rents generally cover mortgage, insurance, and taxes. The amount of activity from investors looking to flip properties is less here. So we have a true market based upon people buying a home simply for the purpose of living in it, without the expectations of wild appreciation. All of this helps to keep our prices from fluctuating widely. So, you should be able to obtain a nicer home in WNY while spending less of your monthly income on housing. This, hopefully, will afford you the opportunity to spend a little more money enjoying the many benefits of living in this area. I moved here 23 years ago from the NYC metro area and I can tell you how nice it is to live here. Less of my income is spent on housing and less of my time is spent in traffic. That combination benefits my family greatly.