Buffalo, New York is not a great place to live.
It succeeded as a city, briefly, due to the Industrial Revolution.
According to Wikipedia:
Upon the completion of the Erie Canal in 1825, Buffalo became the western end of the 524-mile waterway starting at New York City
The city’s importance declined in the later half of the 20th century for several reasons, perhaps the most devastating being the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1957. Goods which had previously passed through Buffalo could now bypass it using a series of canals and locks, reaching the ocean via the St. Lawrence River.
Another major toll was suburban migration, a national trend at the time. The city, which boasted over half a million people at its peak, has seen its population decline by some 50%, as industries shut down and people left the Rust Belt for the employment opportunities of the South and West.
Erie County has lost population in every census year since 1970. The city also has the dubious distinction along with St. Louis, Missouri of being one of the few American cities to have had fewer people in the year 2000 than in 1900.
Why do I mention Buffalo?
Well, not surprisingly, given its economic base (or lack, thereof), Buffalo missed out on the great housing boom of the past five years.
The old saying is that a house is the biggest single investment most people will make in their lives.
But not in the Buffalo Niagara region. Here, a house is a place to live.
While the United States has been in an unprecedented housing boom that saw median sale prices soar by 83 percent from 1995 to 2005, the typical homeowner in the Buffalo Niagara region, where housing values grew by 22 percent, has seen barely a quarter of that increase.
As an investment, housing in the Buffalo Niagara region has generally been a bust over the last decade. After factoring in the corrosive effects of inflation, the median sale price here actually dropped 5 percent in real dollars, while homeowners across the country enjoyed a 43 percent real increase in sale prices.
About the only good thing that can be said of Buffalo is that, because they missed out on the housing “bubble” of the past half-decade, homeowners won’t suffer from any housing bubble burst, either.
Also, if you were wondering what Boston’s immediate past and current life could be like, just look at Buffalo. If not for the healthy economy we have all enjoyed here, we’d be just like them. Oh, right, some people would prefer that.
Source: In Buffalo, a house is a home, not an investment – By David Robinson, The Buffalo News
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Updated: January 2018