It’s time to reflect upon Buffalo’s strengthening housing market.
We’ve known it for a while. Buffalo’s housing market, for the most part, is booming. Just take a look at this WaPo article (posted in April) that offers up an interactive look at housing values in the US. Input your ZIP Code and see where your neighborhood is standing. The charts shows the changes in the housing market since 2004. Inputting ZIP Codes from Elmwood area (14222) pulls up the following:
And then there’s North Buffalo – Hertel area:
Relatively speaking, no matter where one looks, houses are still very affordable, especially coming from cities like Chicago or Boston. Those who live in Buffalo might not readily agree. Almost every day, I hear of friends who moved away (hightailed it out of Buffalo), who are now looking to relocate back home – many of whom have a family in tow.
Pull up a ZIP Code on the map, hover your mouse over various parts of the city to see the varying degrees of change.
With the explosion of restaurants opening, people fixing up old homes, bike lanes, urban farms, affordability, connectivity, a newfound Buffalo fervor, waterfront developments, buildings being rehabbed, environmental projects underway, close proximity to Toronto, and exciting destinations such as Canalside, RiverWorks and Larkinville, there are countless reasons that this city’s real estate is climbing year after year.
Even the East Side appears to be escalating in value, partially due to the aphorism “A rising tide lifts all boats”. But that’s not the only reason. Housing values on the East Side are beginning to look mighty attractive, especially when compared to the rest of the city.
A few weeks ago I met a taxi cab driver who just moved to Buffalo from Brooklyn. He bought three houses on the East Side. He told me that he was previously living in a tiny apartment living paycheck to paycheck. Now he has a backyard and is growing his own vegetables and wants to start to raise chickens. All of his relatives, he said, are now looking for properties in the same East Side neighborhood.
It wasn’t that long ago that the West Side was in a similar boat (with fewer leaks). But now that the West Side is shoring up real estate-wise, the East Side is starting to look more and more attractive to people looking for affordable homes. It won’t be long before the Main Street divide begins to blur. It’s crucial that The City begins to fix the Main Street infrastructure between Canisius College and Edward/Goodell. That investment will help to launch the East Side revival.
I am talking to more and more young people who feel that East Side living is the way to go. Mainly, these are artists and urban farmers who are looking to become part of a movement that integrates the entire city, until there are no more hardline East and West. This younger generation of Buffalonians is respectful of the plight of the East Side, and is trying to come up with a sensitive balance where everyone can be a part of the rejuvenation. That might be easier said than done, because those living on the East Side are extremely wary of outside investment that is not inclusive. This is understandable, but we heard similar grumblings when the West Side began to shape up, and look at it today – it’s a melting pot of people.
At this point, the East Side might appear to be a quandary, and understandably so. The East Side represents half of our city size-wise… half! There are great neighborhoods and not so great neighborhoods. There is racial divide. But there is opportunity at hand, especially when we take a look at the incredible advancements made throughout the rest of the city.
The interactive WaPo real estate guide might not be completely accurate. It might be over-exaggerating the rise of real estate values on East Side. Or maybe it’s even predicting the rise that is sure to come.