Friday, May 30, 2008

Real estate hotspots...Buffalo?

Great Lakes Guy, an excellent blog that tracks "the ideas and trends moving America's Rust Belt from the Industrial Era to the Digital Age, or not," has a surprising post that shows there are some signs of life for Rust Belt cities after de-industrialization:

Despite the housing crisis, job losses, factory closings, and fear of change, the greater Great Lakes region is the place to buy real estate these days. The Mega Midwest is home to five of the top 10 fastest growing markets in the United States, according to Money Magazine. Here's the list:

1. McAllen, TX
2. Rochester, NY
3. Birmingham, AL
4. Syracuse, NY
5. Buffalo/Niagara, NY
6. New Orleans, LA
7. Scranton, PA
8. Grand Rapids, MI
9. Baton Rouge, LA
10. El
Paso, TX.


  1. As a frequent visitor to Buffalo, NY, I can attest to its likeness to Flint.
    It may be a great housing market, because like Flint, there isn't much more "down" to go. Whatever property you buy there will be at rock bottom prices and probably will only go up, unless the city simply ceases to exist.
    Someone asked me recently, what would Flint look like if GM had never started there?
    First, it's a stupid question, for sure, but wouldn't Flint - without GM - look pretty much like Flint - now without GM - looks today.
    It's a question similar to asking a child - what would your life have been like if your father hadn't abandoned you at age 10?
    Who the heck knows, but it surely might have been better if the father didn't abandon them, wouldn't you say.

  2. Yeah, I was noticing that a lot of the cities on the list have bottomed out economically in the recent past and have fairly high foreclosure rates. So I guess if you have a good, secure job in those cities, real estate is a bargain. But that "good, secure job" part is missing in Flint.

  3. Publishing lists like these must make for big sales or at least alotta views. Every other magazine compiles some sort of ranking of urban areas. They're usually based on flimsy data and the whims of the staff.

    About 5 years ago some major magazine (can't remember which) created a list of the top 3 "up and coming" cities in the U.S. They divided it into 4 categories: cities with populations over 1 million, between 500,000 and 1 million, 250,000 and 500,000, and those under 250,000. Ann Arbor was ranked first in the 500,000-1 million category even though it's population doesn't come close. Saginaw was ranked second in one of the smaller groups. Flint didn't make the cut. Rest assured within the year some rag'll rank cities by some sort of criteria that'll make Flint a shoe-in. Maybe we'll be the fattest, or most depressed, or most violent, most boring, or cheapest.


Thanks for commenting. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at