Buffalo – We’re Not in the Top Ten – Again!

For Sale

Article Deja Vu?

Today’s Yahoo News brings this article, which describes the ten most depressed housing markets based on the decline in selling prices over the past year. Buffalo is not in this list. Far from it, from a housing selling viewpoint Buffalo’s performance in 2007 ranked 12th best out of the top 150 metropolitan areas in the U.S.

There is no doubt that housing is cheap in this area – our median selling price was $105,400 while the average price in the Northeast was $261,700. This might not allow us to retire equity-rich, but it puts us in a very enviable position: We are not nearly so financially stressed when purchasing a home as most other parts of the country; we did not need to seek out creative mortgage financing in order to purchase our homes nearly as much as most other parts of the country; we are not defaulting on our mortgages; our housing prices are going up, not down, and it is still easy (relatively speaking) to feel comfortable buying a home.

Last week’s Forbes metropolitan misery index missed something when ranking the ten most miserable cities in the U.S. (see this article) because it fails to even consider the stress that struggling with financing, being in over one’s head, defaulting on a mortgage, and losing one’s home has on an individual’s psyche. Personal misery was left out of the equation.

If there is any unmeasured quantity that deserves to be measured, it’s the level of comfort one feels about one’s own satisfaction relative to where they live. Buffalo would undoubtedly rank near the top of this list, as the financial livability, housing, congestion and stress of pace connected to this area are, respectively, good, outstanding, outstanding and very low.

According to Yahoo, the 10 most housing-depressed cities are

  • Raleigh
  • San Francisco
  • Austin
  • San Antonio
  • St. Louis
  • Houston
  • Portland
  • Dallas
  • Denver
  • Baltimore

Because none of these cities showed up in last week’s most miserable cities list, one might conclude that there is little correlation between the uber-stress of being financially over-extended and metropolitan misery. I would argue that there is a connection, and that it may even factor into such issues as our nation’s ever-expanding waistlines. I think a measure of life satisfaction, by metropolitan area, is in order.

Well we’re not in this week’s Yahoo top ten. Why are they getting so hung up on depressing statistics?


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