As is my custom I am spending the winter holiday period in the USA, as it is a time to catch up with people, by visiting relatives and some professional contacts on this side of the pond. This particular trip to the USA included a side trip to visit some relatives in the Buffalo NY area. Though not as popular as Detroit, Buffalo is one of the US cities often being promoted to UK property investors. This got me thinking why anyone in the UK would consider investing in the USA and why they might consider Buffalo, Detroit or any other US location. Can a UK investor really compete with the local real estate investors knowledge and are there any good deals that the locals have passed onwards?
In Buffalo, the city suffers from being an important transportation hub which has lost its primary reason to exist. At one time there was no shipping canal connecting Lake Erie to Lake Ontario. After the locks and canal were opened the large ships no longer needed to unload at Buffalo plus the rail hub was no longer needed to transport the raw materials, baked goods and heavy manufactured products like automotives and steel. That is the core of what triggered the decline of Buffalo.
With a falling economic importance the cities population has also been in decline. If you look up the statistics you will see the population has been falling for well over 20 years. Each year they need a few less houses than they needed the year before with no obvious end in sight. We are talking about a multi-generational decline in the population. Some residents will never have seen a time when the city was on the up.
You can look up a summary for Buffalo if you go to the USA Census website. I found the details by putting in the following string to Google: "census Buffalo NY". Or you can also go to www.quickfacts.census.gov and then use the pull down menus to select a city and state. Check the poverty line and then look up Detroit to also compare the poverty there. To me the poverty levels were shockingly high for two cities that once represented the manufacturing heartland of the USA.