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Spend Small Live Big on Columbus Parkway

Not long ago an asking price near $300K would have been near the top of the real estate market in Buffalo.  Such a stratospheric price would have been unimaginable on the far west side.  This gorgeous house on the far West Side, at 757 Columbus Parkway, should sell fast at just $289,000. Just $289,000?!  This is the new Buffalo and high quality Victorians are in short supply.  As Elmwood and Allentown have become out of reach for many, the next tier of city neighborhoods are starting to see heavy interest.  The Columbus Park neighborhood has always been a beautiful quiet pocket on the West Side.  It is convenient to many city assets and is filled with beautiful and often stunning architecture. It is showing growth now and will be a natural neighborhood for strong price appreciation in the near future.

According to the Realtor, the house was built-in 1880.  It has 10 rooms total, including four bedrooms and two bathrooms in a 2,000 square foot package. They list the taxes at $2,439. Except for its modified front porch the house looks to be in mint condition.  It is jam-packed with exceptional Victorian detail including leaded glass, loads of woodwork, incredible fire places, a wonderful stair and a bunch of pocket doors. Bonus, the neighborhood comes with well-organized neighborhood groups, which means this is an area poised to be one of the city’s destination neighborhoods.

Here is the pitch:

Welcome to this historic and stunning 4 bedroom 2 full bath, 2 story home on one Buffalo’s most desired streets, located seconds to major Thruways, the waterfront, peace bridge. Exterior features original stained, lead, and curved windows, a circular porch, and vinyl windows where appropriate. Dressed with original, natural, and unpainted woodwork from floor to ceiling this home is sure to please all buyers looking for any City of Buffalo zip codes. Interior features three sets of pocket doors on the first floor, a mind-blowing staircase, original hardwood floors, solid wood interior/exterior doors, and marble gas fireplace. Master bed features pocket door, artificial fireplace, three closets, and additional room. Open house Friday 5/12/17 5:00-7:00pm and Saturday 5/13/2017 1:00-3:00pm.

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  • eagercolin

    $289k isn’t “spending small.” There’s no such thing as “just” $289k. It’s a lot of money.

    • Josh Robinson

      $289k doesn’t get you much in the Elmwood Village, Richmond or even Allentown these days. There are homes priced near that on my street (West Tupper) that aren’t nearly this nice. $289k seems fair for the level of preservation and original features on display here.

      • Josh Robinson
      • eagercolin

        Sure, but that’s not my point. I’m simply saying that $289k is objectively a lot of money, regardless of whether this house is a value compared to others.

        • David A. Steele

          I don’t think you can compare this amount of money objectively. For a Somali peasant this would be a fortune for10 lifetimes. For a house in the US it is a very average price. For this neighborhood this is a huge cost based on prices from just 10 years ago but it is a price quickly becoming normal in Buffalos up and coming areas.

          • eagercolin

            If this was Somalia Rising, you might have a point. But we’re talking about Buffalo, a poor city where $289k is a lot of money.

          • David A. Steele

            Is it?

          • eagercolin

            Yes, $289k is a lot of money. It’s almost ten times the median income in Buffalo. It’s objectively a lot of money. It might not be a lot of money in exchange for this house, or for the world’s biggest diamond, or for the Elephant Man’s bones, but it remains a lot of money regardless.

          • David A. Steele

            Are you talking about median per capita or median income? The per capita income of a family of four making $200K is $25,000. I think they could afford it.

          • Matt Gracie

            Median household income in Buffalo is about $31k.

          • David A. Steele

            median household income in Buffalo is $51,775 (2015)
            Media per capita income is $29,207 (2015)
            Median family income is $70,7876 (2015)

            If you believe this site
            http://www.deptofnumbers.com/income/new-york/buffalo/#family

          • Matt Gracie

            The US Census Bureau disagrees.

            https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/RHI125215/3611000

            Those numbers look more like the ones I’ve seen for Erie County or the Buffalo-Niagara statistical area as a whole.

          • Eric

            Most cities in the Northeast/midwest are pretty poor in terms of levels of poverty–that’s an American thing, not a uniquely Buffalo thing. 298,000 is not a huge price in Buffalo.

          • Johnny Pizza

            Well considering median home price is about $140k and this is double that, then yes it is a lot of money for Buffalo. The average is $170k (all info from August 2016 article in Buff News). When the median price is below the average price it means there are a limited number of home sales that are drastically above the average that bring the overall average up. This coincides with the general theme that today’s economy produces a few winners and a lot of losers. So for every person who is able to purchase a $300k home, there are a dozen or more people who can only afford $150k. Now generally this site caters to the people who can afford such things but lets not use that brush to paint across Buffalo because there is a whole lot of city outside the now bustling areas of the city.

          • David A. Steele

            Actually Buffalo remains one of the most affordable real estate markets in the cuntry. With one of the highest percentages of people being able to aford the median.

            The point here, likely too subtle is that this is a lot of money for this neighborhood historically but it has become a low price for this kind of house in Buffalo. It is also a statement on the relatively low price compared to other cities.

          • Johnny Pizza

            You’re right it is affordable to buy a house in the city still. You’re also right that this house, compared to a similar house on Richmond which would be $600k that this is comparatively cheaper. The reason you received the comments you did on this article is that reading the article title alone is misleading. “Spend small live big”. To me says you get a lot of money for a price that is at or near the average home price for the area. Well for the average Buffalonian household making $52k (using your numbers below), this is not affordable. If you had featured a $150k home that is affordable the average Buffalonian then I’d get the title. But from the reader’s perspective you are linking the affordability of Buffalo (which we agree with) with a home that is affordable to only a small percentage of households.
            BTW the house is gorgeous, thanks for posting on it.

          • Wally Balls

            Speak for yourself.

        • jonny99

          the monthly mortgage payment would be on par with a decent loft rental, 2 incomes of a modest 40K-50K could easily make this work.

  • David A. Steele

    That is the point. This house sold for just 23,000 in 2002! That said you can’t touch an Elmwood Victorian like this for this ‘low’ price and still it is low compared to many other cities.

    • Wally Balls

      You don’t even live here.

      • David A. Steele

        and?

        • Wally Balls

          The guy who offers his opinion on every development project from the original building of the Coit House on Virginia Street to the construction of 500 Pearl and everything in between, including the price of housing of historic homes and the real estate market, does so from another city, without contributing to the tax base or local economy. Its important that people know your opinion, while valued amongst Mike Brady type architects, doesn’t amount to a hill of beans.

          • BlackRockLifer

            David contributes many articles here that bring different subjects to light and provokes conversation and debate, that’s a good thing regardless of whether you agree or disagree.

          • David A. Steele

            I am not getting your point. You are mad because I reported about an interesting home sale from another city?

          • Wally Balls

            I’m not mad at all. You don’t live here and you write about development and real estate like you matter. I can’t paint that point any clearer.

          • David A. Steele

            I actually don’t write about development and you are reading the stories and commenting on them. I don’t get your need to throw insults. Why expend the energy?

          • Wally Balls

            I live here; the things I comment on are because they directly have an impact on my life. Where do you live? If you think my pointing out the obvious is “throwing insults” then you are precisely as you seem.

          • David A. Steele

            I just don’t understand what you are upset about. If what I write here does not matter, then just skip over the stories. You dont need to read them or comment on them.

          • Wally Balls

            Adversely, you could write unsolicited opinion articles on the blog of your choosing in the town in which you live. Try that.

          • David A. Steele

            Why should I and why do you care? I don’t get the point of your adversarial tone.

          • Wally Balls

            Adversarial; excellent use of your Ziggy Desk Calendar word of the day. I don’t get the point of your interest the sale price of homes in a city in which you don’t live, causing you to write and comment in blogs. What’s going on in Phoenix? Portland? Dallas? Chattanooga?

          • David A. Steele

            I don’t know what is going on in those places. There are probably some blogs on them if you are interested in finding them. If you don’t care about this house or anything else i write on here I suggest you just skip over the story.

          • Wally Balls

            Other than stealing pics from an MLS posting on a real estate listing, you don’t know what’s going on in Buffalo, either. I suggest next time you come across Buffalo Rising, you just skip over it.

          • David A. Steele

            I know quite a bit about what is going on in Buffalo. I have been writing on this blog for fifteen years. Why should I stop? I really don’t understand what your problem is with this story.

          • Wally Balls

            You’ve been meddling for 15 years? Boredom? Nothing going on where you live?

          • Wally Balls

            What’s going on today in Birmingham?

    • david cory

      That 23k is a home equity I am certain, It sold in 2009 for $155k. Same owners after both sales in public records.

      • David A. Steele

        It is reported as a sale. I don’t think they report home equity loans. That said They likely bought it at a low price and put some renovation money in and maybe sold it to another family member with the same name? Either way its a nice gain over the last7 years.

  • le80

    Is a bout of asthma included in the asking price?

  • Sabres00

    $289k and low taxes is nice if you don’t have kids. Buffalo needs to improve the image of their school system if they want to get families back into neighborhoods like this.

    • BlackRockLifer

      It is more of an image problem than a reality, middle class children in city schools perform at or above their suburban peers. Parents might have to make more of an effort in the city but quality schools are available. I also think soft racism plays a part in the image of city schools.
      Graduation rates are often used to pick on city schools but when you look at individual schools the city comes out pretty well. The state graduation rate average is 79%, here’s a short list of area schools.
      City Honors 98% (buffalo)
      Orchard Park 98%
      Williamsville 96%
      Olmsted 96% (buffalo)
      Kenmore East 91%
      Amherst Central 91%
      Da Vinci 89% (buffalo)
      Frontier 89%
      Emerson 88% (buffalo)
      Hutch Tech 87% (buffalo)
      West Seneca West 84%

      • Johnny Pizza

        That is incredibly misleading. All of those Buffalo schools are lottery schools which farm the best students in the city away from the ordinary public schools. That’s how they can “compete” with the burbs while still having a less than 60% graduation rate overall for BPS. Some of those schools have less than 30% acceptance rates as well. Every single comparable suburban school accepts all students within district boundaries.
        If the state average is 79% then the city is well behind with a less than 60% graduation rate.

        • BlackRockLifer

          The point is a quality education is available in Buffalo. I agree City Honors and Olmsted can be difficult to get in to but it is not too difficult for a decent student to be accepted at Da Vinci or Hutch Tech. I believe Emerson accepts all applicants though I am not certain.
          School performance is directly related to the demographic of the student body, Buffalo’s average is dragged down by the concentrated poverty in the city (over 50% of children live in poverty) Of course we lag behind the state average.
          For the record I sent all four of my children to Buffalo schools including P.S. #51, P.S. #17, Olmsted, Da Vinci, Hutch Tech, McKinley, City Honors and Our Lady of Black Rock. Some of those schools are highly rated, some not so much. All my children have since done very well, my oldest two are professionals and my youngest two are completing degrees at this time.
          Finally, city’s tend to attract and turn out many of the best and brightest and also city children are more likely to be exposed to diversity and different ideas. I have no regrets sending my children to city schools.

          • Sabres00

            I have to agree with Johnny Pizza, Buffalo cherry picks the students. I’m not really concerned about City Honor’s or schools like that, what about the average school that most students fall into? People aren’t going to move back into the city if only one of their kids qualifies for a decent school but the other one gets stuck at Mckinley. My friend has three kids, and all three go to different schools, that’s a huge pain in the ass. I don’t really subscribe to your statement about cities only turning out the best and the brightest, most large cities suburbs have the best schools with the exception being expensive private schools or something similar to city honors. Also maybe you should go to a sporting event in Clarence some time, it’s a pretty diverse group of students. I think you confused “diversity” with “black”. I do agree that there needs to be some image consulting within the schools, but they also need to fix some issues that are non starters for people with kids. I moved to the burbs before my kids hit school age and I have no regrets leaving Buffalo despite them actually qualifying for advanced classes.

          • BlackRockLifer

            There are many decent schools to chose from in Buffalo, it’s a myth that your child will be stuck in a bad school, parents just need to make an effort to
            find the best choice.
            As for McKinley, my daughter and her husband both attended that school, she’s a nurse and he

          • Johnny Pizza

            There are a lot of points you make with which I agree. There is quality education available, but not for everyone and that is my point. Say you’re a parent and you’re deciding where to live based on schools. Would you select say Kenmore East where 9 of 10 students will graduate, or would you choose the city where your child COULD have a 99% chance of graduating at City Honors BUT they only have a 37% chance of getting in? That is why families move away from Buffalo, in general. Some stay and get into good schools and graduate and that’s great. But if your child’s future is on the line, are you going to essentially gamble that they maybe end up in a school where only 50% of students graduate? And the point of parenting that you bring up, yes parents can get their kids through a regular public school with a low graduating rate, but it is definitely harder to do so. If teachers are spending time addressing disruptive students in class, how much time can they spend teaching your child who is doing everything they should?
            In summary – can it be done? yes, your story proves that point. But given the option of taking a perceived risk with your child’s future or taking a safer bet, most parents are going to take the Kenmore East’s of the county over the city.

          • BlackRockLifer

            It might take more effort on the part of the parents but that’s a good thing in many ways. Parents being more involved in the school and more involved with their children is a win win. As for disruptive students, that’s really only a problem in a few of the
            schools and the suburbs are starting to have the same problems, especially the older first ring suburbs. If more parents were willing to put a little effort in we could turn the tide and make Buffalo public a better district while also improving our city and neighborhoods.

        • David A. Steele

          Yea like the suburbs don’t farm the best

          • Sabres00

            They don’t, they have the luxury of having kids from a much better family/social situation live within their district, more tax money, and higher wages for teachers.

          • Johnny Pizza

            Which plays a massive role no doubt. Which is why I continually advocate on BRO for putting our resources into creating jobs for Buffalo families. It is the catalyst that can create lasting improvement, moreso than any quality of life project that has been put forth (highway removal, bike paths, etc.).

          • David A. Steele

            That is what I mean

  • mightyNiagara

    hahahahaha “spend small”!

  • david cory

    Tried to convince my wife to look at this house. It is a beautiful home but the neighborhood lacks shops and restaurants nearby giving it a poor walkability score. But the way things are going its just a matter of time for those to develop. I’m sure somebody will buy it though. Open house this weekend will be packed!

  • FreedomCM

    Beautiful interior preservation. Kitchen and baths, not so much.

    Truthfully, not many are willing to pay this price and not have parking, much less a garage. And then there are the schools..which despite BlackRock’s protestations, are not acceptable for many middle-class folks with kids.

    How is the air quality on Columbus?

    • BlackRockLifer

      Not acceptable? That’s an insult to those of us that made the choice to live and raise our children in Buffalo. My oldest son is moving back to Buffalo from Denver because he wants his daughter to live in the city and attend public schools. My son started out at P.S. #51 here in Black Rock and eventually graduated from Yale Law School, apparently Buffalo Public did a pretty good job. Saying Buffalo Public is not acceptable reeks of elitism and undermines efforts to attract more middle class residents to the city.

      • FreedomCM

        Clearly you did a fine job and took advantage of the resources available via the Buffalo public schools. As you can see, I wrote “many”, not “all”. That said, residents have voted with their feet.

        • BlackRockLifer

          Repeating the standard line that Buffalo schools are unacceptable perpetuates the false narrative resulting in many simply not bothering to consider the city. A little investigation into the actual options and opportunities at Bufalo Public schools would open the eyes of those that have written off city. How can the city ever increase the number of middle class residents when there is a constant drumbeat against city schools?
          Finally as I noted previously I think many use the excuse of city schools not being “good enough” to provide cover for their own soft racism or even overt racism.

  • S.L.Hawks

    The woodwork and windows might provide much value, but the noise and truck fumes from the Peace Bridge and Thruway might counter that. I wonder about “Spend Small ! ” statements from a publisher who relies heavily on advert income.