BUFFALO, N.Y. — Recent lists from The Simple Dollar, Mental Floss and Livability have all claimed Buffalo is one of the top places to live in the country in terms of affordability, but they don't give the full picture.

Those online publications all point to the relatively cheap cost of housing in Western New York, and they're correct. 2 On Your Side can VERIFY it's more affordable in Buffalo to own or rent than in most other places around the country.

Clear Capital, a real estate analytics firm, says the median home price in the Buffalo metro area was $141,000 last year. Compare that to $240,000 for the entire country.

The website Apartment List found the median cost to rent a 2-bedroom apartment in Buffalo is around $870, compared to $1,170 nationally.

Because housing is one of the biggest expenses for a family, those statistics are significant in terms of the overall cost of living.

However, 2 On Your Side found Buffalo pays more than the national average in terms of the cost of transportation (gas and car insurance), utilities (natural gas bills), food and taxes.

The Economic Policy Institute crunched the numbers and also included expenses like child care, health care and "other necessities." The group concluded a 2-parent, 2-child family in the Buffalo metro area would spend $7,339 per month for a modest standard of living. That was the 36th highest cost of living in the entire country.

So 2 On Your Side can VERIFY it is cheaper in Western New York for some of the essentials, like housing. But when you factor in other items -- especially taxes -- it's not as cheap to live here as some may think.