A few things from a non-realtor. First, why do you want to buy a house? If you feel you're "throwing away money" on rent, you're wrong, The real return on housing as an investment is very small over the last 30 years, even with our insane runup recently that is being hammered down now. If you'd like to own a home for the stability, having your own place to do as you see fit, etc, then that's fine. Just make sure you can really afford it and have the down payment. Mortgage brokers can still do plenty of flexible things to get you approved for a loan you really shouldn't have, so what they'll qualify you for is not a number to use as a starting point. Ask yourself, what is the maximum you'd pay in rent on your current salary (preferably alone unless you're planning on getting a roommate if your boyfriend moves out). Then compare:
Your max rent payment
your anticipated mortgage payment
+ your monthly taxes (in NYC area, these are easily more that 1500/mo)
+ your homeowner's insurance, which may be high since you're in a hurrican area
+ Homeowners associate dues (if you buy a co-op, condo or townhouse)
+ 10% of your mortgage payments for repairs
remember, when you're renting and the hot water heater goes, you call the landlord and he fixes it for you. When taxes go up, its not immediately passed on to you. Does your rent currently cover any utilities? In NY its common for rent to cover heating the apt which with current oil and natural gas prices, is becoming a huge expense. Anything else your rent covers (water bills, internet connection, etc) add onto the list of things you have to pay for when you own a home. Also, do you have the 20% downpayment? If you do not, with the current market freefall, you could be upside down in 6 months (meaning you owe more on your house that its worth). In this scenario, it becomes nearly impossible to sell unless you're willing to take a loss and pay off that loss over a few years. If you were to become sick/pregnant, does your work pay you short term disability? Will this amount cover your bills and will your job be there are ready for you to come back when you're done? I'm young also and when I hear "getting sick" I think often that I'm too young for serious illness. But consider also getting something like mono. Its not that uncommon and you'll be out of work for 4-6 weeks. Can you cover this?
I'm not trying to be overly negative but all the advice you've gotten so far seems to imply that if your mortgage = your current rent, you should be able to buy. Homeownership is a much greater expense and responsibility and you should be prepared for it.