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Niagara and Erie County Ranked by Forbes as #1 "Most Affordable" Metro Area in America

By Frank Parlato

Least affordable house.
Most affordable house.

Forbes magazine named the Buffalo-Niagara Falls metropolitan area the "Most Affordable" in the nation.

A dubious distinction, the #1 ranking, according to Forbes, was based predominantly on the low sales prices of housing here.

The Forbes list is limited to America’s 100 largest metropolitan areas - those with populations of 600,000 or more.

The Buffalo-Niagara Falls metropolitan area encompasses Erie and Niagara Counties which, combined, have a total population (as of the 2010 census) of 1,135,509.

In addition to housing prices, the cost of food, utilities, gas, transportation, medical expenses, and other daily expenses were also considered by Forbes in their ranking system.

The rest of the top 10 "most affordable" areas on the Forbes list are: Memphis, Tenn. (No. 2); Cincinnati, Oh. (No. 3); Dayton, Oh. (No. 4); Knoxville, Tenn. (No.5); Akron, Oh. (No. 6); Grand Rapids, Mich, (No. 7); Louisville, Ky. (No. 8); Oklahoma City, Ok. (No. 9); and Warren, Mich. (No. 10).

None of America’s "Most Affordable Cities" were in the nation’s West.

Forbes, referring to the Buffalo - Niagara Falls Metropolitan Area, writes, "With a median family income of $63,500 and a median home sales price of $100,000, home ownership is attainable for 88.5% of the local population.... Coupled with daily expenses that are about 4 percent below the national median, 'Buffalo' claims the No. 1 spot on our list.”

Forbes references the fact that the region and state have to create programs to pay businesses to locate here or make up competitions for government prizes where, under normal circumstances, the market place would inspire competitive innovation.

"The former industrial hub," Forbes writes, "which saw its population plummet last century as its importance to transportation, steel manufacturing, and grain milling declined, is working hard to bring new companies to the area. Local efforts include such carrots as 43North, a business plan competition with a $1 million prize, and Start-Up NY, an effort to get companies to move or expand into space at the State University of New York at Buffalo by offering [ten year tax holidays]."

Paul Pfeiffer, director of investor and public relations at Buffalo-Niagara Enterprise, is quoted in the article as saying that people here will work for lower wages. Labor costs for highly skilled workers in Buffalo, he adds, are 55 percent less for high tech, 39 percent less for advanced business services, and 54 percent less for life sciences.



Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr. www.niagarafallsreporter.com

Mar 18, 2014