"Also, contrary to what is happening in other parts of the country, property values remain stable in upstate New York. In 5 years, the value of your investment will probably grow much faster than an IRA or mutual fund."
In upstate NY, buffalo to be exact, a specific judge in the buffalo area be holding special foreclosure dyas and putting in judgements vs lenders to upkeep foreclosed properties. Its likely upstate properties are holding value nominally compared to other areas but much of that is because they're so much cheaper to begin with.
The 2nd point is extremely unlikely. Housing has historically been a poor investment. Even in the hottest areas, like southern california, only beat the market over 20 years if you cherry pick dates. The market has returned nearly 10% over the last 50 years and about 7% vs inflation, housing has returned < 3% vs inflation and it was < 1% before the bubble recently.
Good luck with your house hunt, find nice place but don't stretch yourself or expect it to fund any form of retirement, and you should be fine.