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Apartment renters rate Buffalo ‘C+,’ survey shows

Apartment renters in Buffalo are not happy campers.

At least, that’s according to a new report by Apartment List, an online apartment rental marketplace, which surveyed renters across the country to find out how satisfied they are with various cities.

And when the firm asked about Buffalo, the Queen City barely got above a passing grade, with an overall city satisfaction report card of “C+,” ranking the city near the bottom of the list.

“Creating an environment that is attractive to renters is more important than ever now, and Buffalo could do better,” said Andrew Tam, vice president of data science for the San Francisco-based firm.

According to Apartment List, such a low ranking typically reflects concerns about safety, and Buffalo renters graded the city a D for safety and crime rate. But other factors were at work, as well.

Quality of schools also dragged the city down, with another D grade. And renters apparently really hate the city’s 19-minute average commute – normally a real selling point for Western New York when compared with, say, San Francisco – because they flunked Buffalo with an F for satisfaction with daily commute.

State and local taxes received a C. But the city also received a C+ for homeownership plans, as 58 percent of renters locally plan to buy a home in the future, just under the national average of 60 percent.

On the other hand, Buffalo scored a B for confidence in the economy, as 1 in 4 renters believe that the local economy “is on the right track.”

And the city earned an A- for access to recreational opportunities. More than 7 in 10 renters said they’re satisfied with parks and community activities in Buffalo.

“Buffalo renters expressed below-average city satisfaction, with particular concern for safety and crime,” Tam said. “The U.S. renter population is at its highest level in 20 years, and Buffalo renters show lower than average scores for both safety and quality of local schools.”

Overall, Apartment List surveyed 18,675 renters nationwide, posing questions about their current city or neighborhood and their plans to buy a home, and then evaluating cities and states in comparison to one another. Seven New York cities were included, with Buffalo graded in the middle of the pack.

New York City received an A, while the Bronx got an F. Albany had a B+, and Rochester scored a C-.

Nationally, the top-ranked cities included Plano, Texas; Boston; Arlington, Va.; Austin, Texas; and Torrance, Calif. The worst-performing were Newark, N.J.; New Haven, Conn.; Bridgeport, Conn.; Hartford, Conn.; and Columbia, S.C.

About 36 percent of Americans are renters, according to the firm.