you can definitely rent for 400 to 600, although I would be a little cautious of anything less than 600...some of the areas that some rental properties are in are pretty sketchy, my first and second years I rented 2 bdrm apartments for 600, both were lowers of houses, one was in Snyder and the other in Amherst.
Yup! It's for real! Just know that in Buffalo, the bad neighborhoods are mixed right in with the good ones. But on a decent, safe street, I'd expect to pay 350 for just a room-in-a-house, 450-500 for a shared apartment, or 650 for a one-bedroom, all inclusive. TRY to get something with utilities (esp. heat) included. My first year we rented a 2 bedroom house with a loft for 900 (not inclusive)
For a city located in the rust belt and the snow belt and with a population decline, what kind of housing prices did you expect?
Seriously, make sure you are typing in words like "Snyder" and "Amherst" and maybe "Kenmore" in your searches so you don't end up in a run down hood. The school sits right on the border of Amherst and Buffalo. The neighborhoods on the Amherst side of school versus the Buffalo side of the school are polar opposites.