I just saw read that Buffalo was listed by Forbes as One Of America’s 25 Strongest Housing Markets (see listing). Not only that, but Buffalo got it’s mug plastered at the top page of the article. How’s that for some PR? Of course, one of the reasons that the Buffalo market is so strong is due to the city missing out on the housing boom. Oh well, we missed out on the housing boom, but I can tell you right now that there are a lot of folks out there who wish that they had not bitten off more than they could chew. And while we’ve seen upswings in commercial districts like Elmwood, Hertel and Chippewa, many of our residential neighborhoods have been rallying around them.
After seeing the Forbes article, I called Mike Hananel, Chief Operating Officer of Horizon Realty, who has been praising the Buffalo market for its stability. Hananel resides in LA, but has been spending more and more time in Buffalo, scoping out real estate opportunities while building his portfolio. Many of his handlings and transactions we have covered right here on BRO. As a matter of fact, Mike has been so pleased with market performance in Buffalo that he has brought friends along for the investment ride. Even in this economic-troubled time, Mike looks back at his original decision to invest here and is is constantly reassured that ‘the risk’ paid off. Even Mike’s investors are thankful that their investment dollars have landed in Buffalo. “Coming from Los Angeles, I have always been impressed by the incredible architecture found throughout the City of Buffalo,” Mike told me earlier. “A few years ago when Los Angeles real estate prices seemed like they could only go up, I recommended to many of our Los Angeles real estate investor clients that we sell some of our Los Angeles holdings and invest that money into Buffalo real estate.
“It was a hard sell. Most people searching on the internet three years ago mostly found only negative stories about how Buffalo was a dying city with the population continuing its multi-decade long decline. But when I visited Buffalo, I saw something very different going on. I saw some new developments going on in the downtown area, along with a culture of people who are extremely passionate about their city. I believed that the nationwide trend of people moving back into the urban core of old cities would also become the trend in Buffalo. I believed that the beauty of these old buildings could really be accentuated and brought back to life to relive their former glory. In the three years since I have been invested in Buffalo, I have seen just that – an accelerated trend of old buildings being renewed and people moving back into the city. Buffalo has too much going for it to die – proximity to Niagara Falls and Canada, the second largest city in New York state, it’s extraordinary history and of course its architecture, arts and culture (just to name a few).
“So far, I have brought 32 investors into the Buffalo real estate market and we now manage just under 600 residential units here. I have a local staff of twelve of the most dedicated, hard working team members who are extremely passionate about helping to renew their city. We have invested almost $2.0 Million dollars into the properties since we acquired them three years ago, and plan to invest approximately $2.5 Million into these buildings in 2009 with assistance from the NYSERDA Multi-Family Energy Reduction program. With the Southern California real estate market plummeting, we are thrilled that we chose Buffalo to invest in as a safe haven for invested capital.”
Along with Mike, there are other aggressive out-of-state real estate investors, such as Dane Chapin and Adam White, who are looking at Buffalo as a place to not only ride out the storm, but to take stock in a city’s future. And it’s not just the out-of-towners who are capitalizing on the housing market. WCP recently updated us with an overview of the urban development scene (see post), and forecasted a bigger and brighter built and renovated playing field for 2009. With the added investment surges brought from within, thanks to believers like Prish Moran, The Martin Group, Don Warfe, the triumvirite of Johnson, Ferdman and Frizlen, Termini, etc., Buffalo will hopefully continue to pull its weight, escaping many of the current pitfalls seen facing the rest of the country.