Location, location, location! I'm surprised they don't vary the amount by locality. (Or maybe they do, and that's just the NYC limit.) I'm not surprised that doesn't cut it in NY. Not at all. Hell, even here in MD that's not enough to cut it plenty of places. We have a townhouse, ~2400 sq.ft., postage stamp yard, in the sticks, in a new development without much of anything special (no pool, fitness center, walking trails, etc.)...and it was $270k when we bought it. My brother just bought a small, 30-year old house, in an older community, near Annapolis, for what had to have been $450k. Hell, there's lots of places in central MD where you can't even rent a decent apartment for our mortgage. It's interesting.