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Home values soar in some Buffalo neighborhoods, while holding steady in most others

Buffalo neighborhoods like Elmwood Village, Allentown and North Buffalo have enjoyed recent years of appreciation, but their growth eventually could be overshadowed by up-and-coming areas like the West Side and parts of the near East Side.

While the former three districts still maintain their allure and higher home values, the number of deals and the price tags are soaring in areas between Richmond Avenue and the Niagara River to the west and between Main Street and the Kensington Expressway to the east.

There were more home sales last year on Buffalo’s West Side than in Orchard Park’s 14127 ZIP code, and more transactions on the near East Side than in Blasdell’s 14219 ZIP code.

Renewed interest in urban living, coupled with the hefty prices and shortage of options in preferred neighborhoods, are driving home buyers further afield. In turn, the flurry of new activity in the newly popular areas is sending housing values up as buyers compete.

Buffalo streets like Baynes, Jersey and Vermont are seeing home-sale prices exceeding $200,000, while homes on West Avenue and 16th Street, among others, are selling for more than $150,000.

Across Main Street, properties on Hughes, Loring and Blaine avenues sold for more than $100,000 last year, while others on East Delavan and Oakgrove avenues topped $90,000.

That’s still a far cry from the average home price in Elmwood Village – $282,098 – or in Clarence, at $328,107. But it is also significantly higher than what those neighborhoods used to see just a few short years ago.

To see which residential areas are hot and which are not, The Buffalo News analyzed home sales from 2010 to 2014 throughout Erie County, examining the number of deals and the average values.

The study found that average sale prices in the 14213 and 14208 ZIP codes – the West and near East sides, respectively – rose 45 percent and 20 percent from 2010 to 2014, while the number of deals increased 31 percent and 49 percent, respectively.

The data on this two-page spread is for Erie County. What follows is what’s hot in Erie County, what’s not – and the neighborhoods and towns that show signs of being the next big thing.

What’s hotElmwood Village

Elmwood Village – one of the city’s premier local shopping and entertainment strips – and the neighboring Delaware District remain popular with homeowners and buyers. The activity of Elmwood and nearby serenity of Delaware Park and some of the city’s grand avenues increase the area’s real estate values.

In Elmwood Village, average sale prices in the 14222 ZIP code rose 26 percent from 2010 to 2014, according to The News’ research. That’s significant, since many of those homes are relatively pricey by Western New York standards. In 2014, 161 homes changed hands at an average price of $282,098, but the priciest exceeded $800,000. In 2010, there were 117 sales at an average price of $223,399.

With its restaurants, shops and other businesses along Elmwood itself, the trendy neighborhood is attractive for its urban lifestyle and ease of living. The area has become so popular that prices in adjacent neighborhoods have risen.

Downtown

Downtown Buffalo is mostly known for office buildings and institutions, but it is also home to condominiums like the Avant, Waterfront Place and Waterfront Village, as well as some single-family homes on the northern end of the downtown area, such as Virginia, Franklin and Pearl streets.

So while there aren’t a lot of residential options, much of what exists is pricey – downtown Buffalo’s 14202 ZIP code has Erie County’s highest average sale price – and downtown residents here are even more likely than Elmwood Village residents to be singles or couples. From 2010 to 2014, home values rose 25 percent to $384,481, but the number of deals in the 14202 ZIP code declined from 53 in 2010 to 39 in 2014.

North Buffalo

North Buffalo continues to be a strong family community, with fairly consistent activity and rising price tags. In the 14216 ZIP code, average sale prices rose 24 percent from 2010 to 2014 to $170,004. The same number of homes – 284 – sold both years.

With neighborhoods near Hertel and Parkside, the area tends to attract more-established households that are drawn to city living but want more space and a wide variety of price options. Streets like Nottingham Terrace, Middlesex Road, Lincoln Parkway and Dana Road are among the most upscale, with homes selling for $300,000 to nearly $1 million last year. On Rachel Vincent Way, Starin Avenue, North Park Avenue and Commonwealth Avenue, some sales exceeded $200,000.

Villa, Crestwood and Tacoma avenues had lower sales prices, while Taunton Place, Knox Avenue, St. Lawrence Avenue and Sanders Road are among the streets that had sales under $100,000.

Clarence

In Buffalo’s suburbs, Clarence remains the sales price champ.

Average sale prices in Clarence’s 14031 ZIP code rose 26 percent from 2010 to 2014, to $328,107. Average sale prices in Clarence Center’s 14032 ZIP code increased 15 percent over the same period, to $346,164 – the second-highest average home price of any ZIP code in the county, behind downtown Buffalo.

Known for the tony neighborhood of Spaulding Lake, Clarence is also a hotbed for new homes, with freshly launched subdivisions like Spaulding Green dotting the town. Home values are high here, as are the sizes of many homes and lots.

Amherst

Amherst continues to be desirable because of its strong school districts, amenities and services.

Just on the other side of Transit Road from Clarence, average sale prices in East Amherst increased 17 percent to $269,785 in the 14051 ZIP code, while North Amherst rose 15 percent to $178,548 in 14228 and Getzville homes in 14068 rose to $217,323, up 13 percent. Average sale prices in Williamsville’s 14221 ZIP code inched up 10 percent to $208,865.

Orchard Park and Elma

From 2010 to 2014, the average sale price in Orchard Park rose 13 percent to $248,003 in the 14127 ZIP code, with 14 percent more sales in 2014 than 2010. Similarly, the average sale price in Elma’s 14059 ZIP code increased 17 percent to $221,742. The number of sales increased 19 percent to 127.

Southtowns

Closer to Lake Erie, the communities of Blasdell and Lackawanna also saw gains. The average sale prices in Blasdell’s 14219 ZIP code rose 23 percent, to $120,486, as the number of sales increased 17 percent from 2010 to 2014 to 136. Nearby, in the 14218 ZIP code of Lackawanna, the average sales price increased 21 percent to $78,958, with a slight uptick in sales to 170 in 2014 from 162 in 2010.

email: jepstein@buffnews.com

WHAT’S RISINGWest Side

With prices in the most alluring Buffalo neighborhoods getting out of reach for many, buyers are looking farther west or east.

On the West Side, beyond Richmond, average home-sale prices soared 45 percent from 2010 to 2014, rising from $40,836 to $59,292. Even more, the number of sales rose from 317 in 2010 to 414 in 2014.

Homeowners and investors are bidding up properties as the neighborhoods, with homeowners and renters sharing the roadways.

Parts of the area from Route 198 south to Porter Avenue had once been considered less desirable, even poverty-stricken or crime-ridden on some streets, and that was reflected in the prices. But that is changing as homebuyers move in, eager to be close to the action in nearby Elmwood Village.

Homes on parts of Bird Avenue or Baynes, Hoyt and Breckenridge streets are selling for $125,000 to $175,000. Others nearby still sell for well less than $100,000.

Allentown

Average sale prices in Allentown and the lower west side near downtown, in the 14201 ZIP code, rose 42 percent from 2010 to 2014, to an average of $132,283 from less than $100,000 just five years ago.

The hip Allentown area, along Allen Street and such side streets as Wadsworth, College, Mariner and Park, is a historic neighborhood with rising appeal.

Those who want to buy on those streets could pay more than $200,000, based on recent deals, while parts of Edward, Allen, North and Niagara are more likely to come in just above or below $100,000.

Black Rock

To the north of the Scajaquada Expressway, average sale prices in the Black Rock and northwest neighborhoods rose 12 percent from 2010 to 2014, to an average of $40,182, while the number of sales in the 14207 ZIP code rose 30 percent to 368.

Bordered by the river, the expressway, the train tracks and parts of both Elmwood and Delaware avenues, the area has traditionally been more working class and blue collar, and includes the DuPont Co. and General Motors Co. plants in the Town of Tonawanda, as well as other industrial and commercial strips. But it is also growing in demand as it lies adjacent to the West Side, North Buffalo and SUNY Buffalo State.

Near East Side

The near East Side neighborhood, northeast of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, saw average sale prices rise from $33,160 to $39,898, with 143 deals in 2014 compared to 96 in 2010.

Sandwiched between Masten Avenue to the west, Route 198 to the north, the Kensington Expressway to the west and Best Street to the south, the lower income community is bisected by Jefferson Avenue and East Ferry Street. But as downtown and Medical Campus development have moved north, the area’s proximity to both the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and University at Buffalo’s South Campus, as well as convenient access to Main Street and the Metro Rail, have increased its draw.

Nearby, the northern East Side ZIP code of 14215 – from just east of Main Street to the Cheektowaga border, from the Amherst line in the north to Lang Avenue and Scajaquada Street in the south – is also seeing some appreciation. It is also a lower-income area, but average sale prices rose 12 percent over the five-year period, to $38,997, while the number of sales increased 6.2 percent to 583. Kensington Avenue and the Kensington Expressway run straight through the middle, as does Bailey Avenue from north to south.

Southern Erie County

Prices soared in several rural communities in southern Erie County, but the number of deals were small.

For example, average home-sale prices in Gowanda rose 54 percent from 2010 to 2014, to an average of $87,825, but there were only 20 deals in both 2010 and 2014.

Similarly, Holland and Chaffee average sale prices rose 45 percent and 44 percent, respectively, in the 14080 and 14030 ZIP codes, but with only 50 and 15 deals last year. Average sale prices in Collins, West Falls, South Wales and Marilla also rose by 30 percent to 40 percent, but each had between 15 and 31 deals to compare.

What’s nothotLower East Side and West Seneca

Housing is still cheap, and dropping, in hard-hit parts of the lower East Side, parts of the Old First Ward and West Seneca.

In the 14212 ZIP code on Buffalo’s East Side, average sale prices fell 10 percent from 2010 to 2014 to an average of just $35,188 last year, despite a surge in deal activity from 107 in 2010 to 177 last year.

Even worse, sales prices in the Old First Ward ZIP code of 14204 fell 39 percent – the second-worst performer among 65 ZIP codes in Erie County. There were 44 deals last year, up from 38 in 2010.

Just outside the city, in West Seneca’s 14224, the deal activity has been flat from five years ago, at 552, but average sale prices declined 2 percent to $134,605.

And in Cheektowaga’s 14225 ZIP code, near Walden Avenue, average sale prices dipped 1 percent to $85,929, while the number of sales rose to 532 in 2014 from 477 five years ago.

What’s STABLESouth Buffalo and the inner suburbs

Stability is the name of the game in more blue-collar parts of Buffalo and its suburbs. Average sale prices in South Buffalo’s 14220 ZIP code is up 10 percent, Depew’s 14043 is up 7 percent, and three Kenmore and Tonawanda ZIP codes – 14150, 14223 and 14217 – are up 5 percent to 6 percent, as is Cheektowaga’s 14227.

Except for South Buffalo, at an average of $73,513, and Tonawanda’s 14150 with 578 transactions, all range from $105,000 to $119,000 on average, with 250 to 360 deals each last year.