Once upon a time a clever man wrote a well thought out article entitled ‘The Southtowns Could Use A Street’. He opened the piece with a mention of the pricing out of the West Side, North Buffalo, Elmwood and Allentown, and how all of these neighborhoods are located north of downtown. The article can be seen in it’s entirely at (http://buffalorising.com/2014/01/the-southtowns-could-use-a-street/). The article goes on to discuss possible alternatives to living in these trendy neighborhoods by reinvesting in already developed streetscapes which exist in South Buffalo (Seneca) and Kaisertown (Clinton). The suggestion also caters to the idea that those Southtowners interested in city life may find it more convenient to visit family and partake in more southtown activities if there were a south of the city walkable neighborhood option. I think it’s important to note here that the author was not suggesting a takeover of the streets by trendy boutiques and overpriced t-shirt shops, but instead complimenting the existing local businesses with more mixed use investment.
Interestingly enough, the pricing out of trendy neighborhoods was also covered recently on the front page of the Buffalo News in an article called ‘Bidding Wars and Big Prices: Buffalo Real Estate”. Potential home owners were interviewed by the News about their frustrations with the buying process. The issues were namely the shortage of homes for sale, overbidding and the straight cash offers which were making it nearly impossible for a home seeker to purchase at a reasonable price and with a mortgage.
One might consider the possibility that if demand is high, and supply is low in these neighborhoods than perhaps the answer would be to expand the search area to increase the supply of housing stock. While I understand the desire to live in these trendy neighborhoods (I have lived on the West Side and in North Buffalo), it seems as though there is a missing conversation about how these neighborhoods have come to be desirable. It wasn’t too many years ago that many people would never consider buying a property west of Richmond. Due to investment by some forward thinkers there is now a nice mix of rehabbed properties, single family home owners, blossoming commercial businesses and a large refugee population that calls the West side home.
One can also argue that it’s has been the pricing out of businesses and homeowners from Allentown and Elmwood that has resulted in the increased interest in the West side, North Buffalo and more recently Black Rock/ Amherst Street. If this model has proven successful for city dwellers to move into the trendy neighborhoods, then it stands to reason that the same mentality would work in Kaisertown.
Take for example the property posted below which is currently for sale at 1916 Clinton Street. For less than $140,000 one could purchase a turnkey bar and single family home w 3 bedrooms and an updated kitchen and bathroom. The bar comes fully furnished and includes a pool table, juke box, 3 tv’s, a partial kitchen and 2 bathrooms. I doubt that there are many other parts of Buffalo where an opportunity like this exists, at this price.
Long and short of the story- if you’re unhappy with the prices or the difficulties you’re experiencing in the Buffalo realty market then think outside the box. I know a clever man, who wrote a well thought out article, who has put his money where his mouth is. Maybe you should consider jumping aboard his Kaisertown bandwagon and being an early adopter in the resurgence of this historic area of Buffalo. You never know, maybe you’ll be the next Big Man (or Woman) on Clinton Street.