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Monday, June 17, 2024
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

Buffalo Ranks No. 2 in College Town Real Estate Affordability

Cheap housing has its consequences

As many University at Buffalo students have learned firsthand, the cost of living in and around the city of Buffalo is almost unparalleled. In a survey, conducted by Coldwell Banker Real Estate, Buffalo ranked No. 2 in real estate affordability, coming in second behind Muncie, Ind., the town of Mid-American Conference rival Ball State University.

The average price for a house in Buffalo, according the survey, is around $117,000. While many college students cannot afford to shell out that amount to buy a home, as a consequence of cheap real estate, renting off-campus housing is extremely affordable compared to most other cities.

But just like with everything else, you get what you pay for. University Heights residents will attest to a general feeling of danger around their homes and will usually tell you that their apartments are no great shakes.

Landlords in the University Heights charge so little for shoddily built homes that it becomes affordable for drugs and subsequent crime to integrate themselves into the student housing areas. The result is a neighborhood mix of college party noise disturbances and mild to violent crime.

The bright side is that we gain a solid education in street smarts, whereas students in a more sheltered college environment might panic when they are forced to live in the South Bronx while they work their first postgraduate job.

Some UB students would rather pay more money for their temporary home than to risk having a rendezvous with the trouble that inevitably finds several college students each year. Still, their housing is cheaper than most metropolitan living costs.

But the other problem is the quality of the housing itself. Each resident will typically have at least one story about a household nightmare, be it a stubborn appliance or a consistent leak. These residents might also suffer from noisy neighbor syndrome.

Landlords then become the center of attention, and each resident has a landlord story as well. Many believe that there is a special circle of hell reserved for their landlords, whether they do not return phone calls, or they stiff their tenants on deposits for frivolous expenses.

But as a result of a landlord's capriciousness, student residents are forced to learn basic household maintenance skills. So instead of waiting two days for the repair guy, it would help to learn how to change blown fuses and to spackle holes in the wall.

So though there is a good amount of independence and growth involved in maintaining an affordable off-campus house, it is not like living in The Four Seasons for four years of college.

The poll should tell its audience about the quality of living in Buffalo as it makes note of its affordability. Though the University Heights area may be one of the most affordable areas in terms of U.S. college towns, it certainly is not the most luxurious.


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