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Thread: Living/moving to Buffalo

  1. #1
    Jan 2005
    San Diego, California

    Living/moving to Buffalo

    As someone currently living in Southern California (not a SoCal native, just been here four years -- long enough to see house prices go from crazy to completely absurd), I've been searching for a more economical place to live... and one of the places I've been thinking about is Buffalo. I know -- the weather is very different -- but I've always lived in cold climates until the last few years, so the snow doesn't scare me! What draws me to Buffalo is the friendliness of the people I've met from there, the reasonable costs, and the fact that the city seems very sports-minded. I know there's a good contingent from Buffalo on here, so I thought I'd ask a few questions if nobody minds....

    1) People -- what are the people like in Buffalo -- the people I have met have always seemed very friendly to me. I'm a nearly 30-year-old single male... will I find other people in a similar situation as me -- in other words, late 20s/early 30s people, particularly at least some single people? As far as my personality type.. I'm a big sports fan, enjoy going out to restaurants/bars (not clubs though -- I'd far rather grab a beer and watch a hockey game), pretty casual, not into trends or anything like that.

    2) Jobs -- What is the job market like? My background is in journalism/public relations/media/marketing fields... is there much for jobs in those fields? Also, how "formal" are the workplaces? Are they still suit and tie, or are they more casual?

    3) Housing -- what is the housing market like? Can you still get a condo or townhome in the $200,000 or under range (there isn't a chance in SoCal)... is there a reasonable amount of new construction? What areas do you recommend? I generally prefer new housing, as since I have a lot of allergies, it tends to create less issues.

    Thanks everyone!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian jsk1983's avatar
    Feb 2004
    Chicago, IL
    Quote Originally posted by Blue

    3) Housing -- what is the housing market like? Can you still get a condo or townhome in the $200,000 or under range (there isn't a chance in SoCal)... is there a reasonable amount of new construction? What areas do you recommend? I generally prefer new housing, as since I have a lot of allergies, it tends to create less issues.

    Thanks everyone!
    First off let me say that we have had a few other people inquire about relocating to Buffalo here. If you have not already done so I would suggest you search through past threads. Also, Dan, one of the moderators and the founder of this site is a Buffalo native and has profiled several Buffalo area neighborhoods and has included exstensive photos.

    You may already be aware of this, but Buffalo is one of America's most affordable housing markets. You would have no trouble at all finding a house under $200,000. The most comprehensive website of Buffalo real estate is BuffaloNiagarahomes.com The Buffalo area is rather stagnant in population but in my opinion we have more than enough new construction going on. You didn't say whether you prefer to live in the city or the suburbs. The city and the adjacent suburbs see very little new construction so if you are looking for a new build you may very well end up in a second ring suburb. I'm not sure what type of setting you wish to live in so I'll wait until you respond before I post anything else.

  3. #3
    These web sites will give you some good info on Buffalo. they are mostly focused on the City rather than the Burbs.

    Buffalo Rising Journal - is constantly updated on city events, news , places to eat and shop and includes an on going discussion of issues. Check the archives. It is loaded with stuff. http://www.buffalorising.com/home/

    These sites document new development and construction in the city

    This one show some of the things to do surrounding the city

    And the beautiful city its self

  4. #4
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Mar 1996
    Upstate New York
    Blog entries
    It'll be hard to give ya' a Buffalo 101 in a few short paragraphs, but let's see if I can answer your questions:

    1) People: Based on my experience, I always found it was easier to meet people in cities where there were more transplants. Fewer people have those close-knit circles of friends that go back to elementary school. It was easy to meet people in New Mexico (where I plan to retire) and Denver, but in Cleveland it's been more of a challenge. You really have to work at building a circle of friends here, while in a city of transplants things seem to fall into place more easily. Most of the people you'll meet in Buffalo will born and raised there, but being in your late 20s, you won't be too out-of-place among the college crowd.

    Dating for me was always something of a challenge in Buffalo. There's still some ethnic insularity, taking the form of singles who will only date others of the same nationality or religion, but it's less prevalent now than a decade or two ago. If you're not Catholic, it might make things a bit more challenging, but again it's not as bad as in the past. There's lots of opportunities to meet other people, though.

    Nonetheless, people in Buffalo are extremely friendly. There's a sense of genuineness about them that you don't see in other parts of the country. For example, Buffalonians (expecially in the eastern 'burbs) enjoy bowling not because it's the hip, ironic thing to do, but because they actually like it. The sports fanaticism is absolutely rabid, even more so than in Cleveland. It's unreal. When the Bills or Sabres lose, it's like a collective punch in the gut. You'll find sports on the tube at most bars, not just sports bars or blue collar gin mills.

    2) Jobs: Buffalo's economy has been in a recession since the 1960s. Buffalo is a back-office town, and there aren't many corporate headquarters there. Competition will be tough for marketing and PR jobs. In journalism, things are a bit rosier. The reporters and columnists for the Buffalo News I've ever met are quite interesting, and I've always found myself clicking well with them. Buffalo doesn't have a full-blown alternative weekly, unlike most cities its size, but there are a bunch of other weekly publications like Artvoice, The Beast, Alt Press and so on.

    3) Housing: One quirk about the Buffalo housing market is that there is very little mid-end new housing being built, except for some infill projects in the city's more troubled neighborhoods. I noticed the same thing in Cleveland, too; new houses are usually at the higher end of the market. You might be able to get a new patio home for about $200,000, but it's not as inexpensive as the price tag would have you might think. Property taxes in the Buffalo area are very high. You'll also have large gas bills during the winter; my parents usually have a couple of gas bills every year that top $500.

    Neighborhoods: hot areas in the city are Elmwood Village, the Delaware District, and North Park. Very walkable, lots to do, other young residents, very safe, and housing values that are appreciating faster than the region as a whole. Check out Allentown, too. People who live in Parkside, a neighborghood laid out by Frederick Law Olmsted, really like it, but there's not much to do within walking distance except Delaware Park. If you're an urban pioneer, have a look at West Village, Symphony Circle, and the lower West Side. Suburbs: much as it's despised, your best investment outside of the city limits will be in Amherst. If I had to live in Amherst, I'd look in the Snyder and Village of Williamsville areas.

    Here's a Buffalo Rising article about a former Los Angeleno who moved to Buffalo.

    My advice: find a nice Arts and Crafts-style bugalow in North Park in the $130,000 range, or something else in the same price range on the fringes of Elmwood Village, and recarpet, refloor, repaint, and get the ducts cleaned. Having allergies myself, Buffalo is NOT a good place to be unless you've got a lifetime prescription for Zyrtec. It's a very, very, very green city, with very, very, very green countryside surrounding it. Grass stays green through the winter. Soils are well-drained, and trees love it. Buffalo may not produce much steel anymore, but it produces a lot of pollen.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
    Aug 2005
    in a meeting

    Whoa, Nelly...

    I grew up in Syracuse, hung out in Buffalo alot with friends at UB, and Buff State and Niagara, my Dad worked in Buffalo commuting from Syracuse on the railroad, so let me tell you:

    Don't do it, you're crazy - stay where you are -

    Yes, you can buy a house writing a check once you've sold any property you may have in S Cal, but you'll be unemployed so what's the point - the job market is lousy, the city is depressed (though it's attempting a Renaissance which will only work if they can get real companies to locate there) -

    I don't know how the Planning office there is staffed or is looking for anyone so if that's where you want to be, I guess you'd go for the job and make sure you had it in hand before submitting your notice where you are

    The other thing about Buffalo that was really hard was that the bars don't close until 4 AM - I always had to get the #ell out of there when I was in my 20's just to get some sleep

    Plus, the Bills $uck - even if they replace Drew, it's "re-building" years for sure

    but the one thing that is really great about Buffalo is it has some of the finest examples of architecture anywhere in the country and the Park system equals many other metropolitan areas (although they are diamonds in the rough, or tropical islands in the desert) - so if you are going to move there, go for that, stay to get your fill, then move on

    the other thing that's great is the ethnic food restaurants, so make sure you go to the gym if you move because you eat lots of really good but high in calories and fat foods

    I know I'm going to get flamed for posting this but I'm entitled because I grew up in Central New York so you can always make fun of yourself - just ask me about Syracuse sometime (ouch, don't get me started)...

  6. #6
    Jan 2005
    San Diego, California
    Thank you for the responses -- this is exactly the kind of information I'm looking for! As far as housing costs, I feel pretty confident I could find something to my liking in my price range -- I know I've seen the median costs are very inexpensive for Buffalo, and it seems that you can get something pretty nice for your dollar. One possibility would be that I would be self-employed -- actually, Buffalo holds some potential opportunities for me in that sense that many other cities don't, so the job situation isn't as big of a factor as it might otherwise be, but the overall health of the economy is always an issue for everyone.

    There's two things in your post, Dan, that were things I was very curious about... the first issue was allergies. I spent three years in Minneapolis/St. Paul, and I don't think I got completely healthy once. I was continually sick from pollen and mold (except for the times when there was snow cover -- so hey, that works in Buffalo's favor, doesn't it?? ), and California has been completely the opposite. The one relief I got in Minnesota, however, was going up to Duluth on weekends, which by the end, I did almost every weekend. Going to the lakeshore city made an incredible difference for me, and I was hoping Buffalo might have enough lake influence to keep the pollen down somewhat. Also, I've heard Niagara Falls is one of the best ciites anywhere for allergies, as the pollen attaches itself to the negative ions created by the falls and spends less time airborne (my engineer father tells me this is very true scientifically). The very green landscape, while it might look good, is my single biggest fear. Generally, I do worst with weeds, grasses, and molds -- trees aren't usually a big problem for me -- but it's the grasses that tend to get me in Midwestern terrains, and Buffalo might be a little closer to that terrain than I'd ideally desire.

    As far as meeting people in a city without a lot of transplants... that is also a major concern for me. I also lived in Denver and had no problem meeting people literally within days -- of course, I was in high school at the time and most of our school had recently moved there (Highlands Ranch in the early 1990s), so it was incredibly easy to meet people. But the Twin Cities were the opposite -- three years and I met virtually nobody. However, I was handicapped somewhat by the fact that my allergies to smoke kept me out of bars and restaurants -- I turned down many invitiations for dinner or going to bars, but the smoke made that impossible. That's one very big thing that draws me to Buffalo -- the non-smoking laws of New York.

    Still, I have to say many of the friendliest people I have met have been from upstate New York -- in particular, Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse -- and some other places that I'm not exactly sure where they were. So that makes me think that if I can find a way to meet people, it might work out. I've always met a lot of people through sports -- I'd be a Sabres and Bills season ticket holder the day I got there, I've always had sports tickets everywhere I've lived, so I suspect that would be a way to meet people.

  7. #7

    Oct 2001
    Solano County, California
    Quote Originally posted by Dan
    Grass stays green through the winter. Soils are well-drained, and trees love it.
    That's pretty weird. EVERYTHING dies off in the winter in the Midwest (or, unirrigated, in the summer out here Is it a different kind of grass?

  8. #8
    Apr 2002
    Buffalo, NY
    My family is very allergy prone, but with the exception of a few days a year I never had problems in Buffalo, it was when I went down to Pennsylvania or out to southern Ohio that I ran into allergy problems.

    Being young (35 and below) in Buffalo it sin't too difficult meeting people, I have never had problems talking to random groups in bars, especially about sports. If you lvoe sports you will fit right in and have no trouble meeting people.

    I also can't stand smoke in restaurants and bars, makes my eyes water, allergies, etc. I love places with the no smoking laws, so Buffalo and all of NY win in that regard.

    Nice inexpensive housing is one of the great selling points of Buffalo, you can sell your CA home and buy a house in B-lo thats twice the size for half the price.

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