Buffalo Niagara Partnership Releases Report Examining Downtown Buffalo Housing Market


Buffalo Niagara Partnership Releases Report Examining Downtown Buffalo Housing Market

BUFFALO, N.Y. – The Buffalo Niagara Partnership today unveiled a report examining the current state of the housing market in downtown Buffalo. Downtown Buffalo: Looking Ahead with a Clearer View aims to stimulate important conversation and drive effective strategy to keep Buffalo growing.

The Partnership, with support and cooperation of the Buffalo Urban Development Corporation (BUDC), recently commissioned a downtown residential market study to take a closer look at downtown Buffalo. The 2018 report provides a snapshot of the downtown housing market and evaluates the effectiveness of economic development programs in the city’s revitalization efforts. In particular, this was an assessment of the Buffalo Building Reuse Project (BBRP). The primary goal of BBRP is to propel residential growth and reduce vacancy in the downtown core.

“Overall, the market study tells the story of a healthy downtown market that has increased in population and is becoming more diverse,” said Dottie Gallagher-Cohen, President and CEO of the Partnership. “But the data also suggests that continuing the revitalization will require enhanced strategies and an updated toolset. The report that we are releasing today synthesizes the findings of the market study with other recent reports and critical data regarding downtown Buffalo.”

The data presented in Downtown Buffalo: Looking Ahead with a Clearer View suggests that downtown Buffalo’s real estate market has seen significant improvement in recent years. Some major takeaways:

  • The population of downtown Buffalo has increased by more than 10% since 2010
  • BBRP has been successful in converting vacant commercial space into residential real estate
  • Downtown Buffalo’s rental market has seen a significant increase in both production and demand since 2011
    • 1,065 new rental units have been introduced downtown since 2011
    • Rental unit vacancy in downtown Buffalo stands at 4.2%, significantly lower than the industry standard of 5%
    • 1,400 residential units are projected over the next 5 years
  • For-sale units are selling above market value, indicating a demand for more similar development
  • Since 2011 nearly one third of units proposed, under construction and completed are affordable

Downtown Buffalo: Looking Ahead with a Clearer View  also outlines concerns that need to be addressed to ensure this growth continues. The report identifies several strategies focused on maintaining downtown’s momentum:

  • Downtown is healthy, but the market must be supported through:
    • Implementation of new initiatives to drive growth
    • Consideration of major new public projects and economic development anchors
    • Facilitation of investment at all price points
  • Align economic development programs with incentive tools
    • Most all downtown residential development requires a mix of incentive programs to be economically viable in the local market
    • New incentives are necessary to support evolving development priorities in downtown
  • Update BBRP strategies to respond to the changing new demand market by:
    • Focusing resources around targeted geographies, creating critical mass and new demand
    • Establishing a toolset to stimulate infill development on empty lots. There are 29 football fields of parking lots in the central business district alone

Downtown Buffalo: Looking Ahead with a Clearer View
synthesizes the findings of the 2018 Downtown Buffalo Residential Market Demand Study, the Erie County Industrial Development Agency’s study of its Adaptive Reuse program and the city of Buffalo’s project database for 2018.  The report also builds upon the information contained in the Buffalo Housing Opportunity Strategy.

The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is the area’s regional chamber of commerce and privately-funded economic development organization. Partnership members employ more than a quarter of a million people in the Buffalo Niagara region. By mobilizing members and strategic partners around common goals, the Partnership grows private investment and jobs in Buffalo Niagara through advocacy, business development, and convening.

For Press Inquiries, Please Contact Grant Loomis, Vice President, Government Affairs at gloomis@thepartnership.org or 716-541-1736