Rental demand in Buffalo

I get asked a lot about the rental market in Buffalo and whether the market for rentals is strong. Clients have asked me that if property is so cheap then why do people rent?

Owning property is a very British way of life. Not every society sees ownership as a mark of personal success. And in current times more and more people are adjusting to renting as well. In fact I have spoken to quite a number of renters in the UK that say they will never own again. Anyone that has been on the wrong side of a mortgage company will usually agree with this.

Renting in Buffalo and right across Western New york is simply the done thing. Ownership costs are considered high for owner-occupiers and with the success of the Section 8 program, it would be hard to justify owning if you could have your rent paid by the state. It’s also not that easy for lower income families to get a mortgage and even harder in today’s market.

Buffalo ranks as 4th strongest housing market

Buffalo ranks fourth among the 25 strongest housing markets in the nation, according to a Forbes magazine report.

It’s an honor area home owners and real estate agents can take some comfort in, although reflects the region’s lack of a run-up in values.

The region’s housing strength is a result of Buffalo not being a “boomtown.” It’s the same story with the other urban areas at the top of the list, according to Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Economy.com, which conducted the research for Forbes.

“None participated in the housing boom,” Zandi said, refering to his rankings which put McAllen, Texas, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Buffalo and El Paso, Texas, as the top five markets on the list.

The Forbes piece explains housing markets in upstate New York never had the ups and downs of some hot market in the rest of the country. Zandi predicts home prices in Buffalo, Syracuse and Albany should remain steady in the coming year. For Buffalo, he forecasts no more than a 1 percent decline in values.

Moody’s is predicting an average 15 percent decline across the U.S. housing market as a whole.

Local residential sales data collected by the Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors bear out the Forbes/Moody’s research. In November, the most recent month for which BNAR data is available, the number of residential sales in Erie and Niagara Counties dropped a whopping 21 percent, but among the 714 units that sold, the average sale price climbed 23 percent from the prior year.

But from January through November, the region’s home sales were down just 7 percent from the same period a year ago. That drop was not been as precipitous as in some metro areas that enjoyed more robust gains when the housing market was booming.