Posted by Robert Escalante on November 19, 2002 at 21:36:09:

I hate to say it but the local media outlets constantly bash Spfld. Unfortunately, perception is reality. This keeps some good people from not investing in the area but most locals know that it’s not as bad as it’s played out to be. Downtown is bad. I wouldn’t invest there. I didn’t realize the foreclosure rate was that high. I guess that means some seasoned investor will be profitable.



Posted by IZZY on November 18, 2002 at 02:06:15:

I am looking at a property in Holyoke, MA.

Is anyone familiar with the city, or can someone give me a link to a website where I can find out more information?



Posted by Mattt on November 18, 2002 at 22:34:36:

Holyoke/ Springfield is definetly cheap compared to Eastern MA, where I live. You can buy a bank REO in springfield for 25k-40k. I think it would be a very good area to invest in. I am actually thinking about heading out that way and trying to put some deals together.


Posted by Robert Escalante on November 18, 2002 at 18:22:51:

The city of Spfld, Ma. is also known as “The city of homes.” I lived there for 25 years until 8/00 when I sold my home myself in six days! I got my asking price too! The average single family home in Western Ma. Is 182,000 and the average in Eastern Ma. is about 365,000! It stands to reason that people are going to move in to the more affordable area. I think Spfld. Is on the verge of a mini boom.

Hope this helps,



Posted by Frank Chin on November 18, 2002 at 08:33:12:

Hi Izzy:

While I am a NYC investor, but I have family and condos in the Springfield MA area. I posted a similar question about a years ago. I cannot find the thread, but kept one of the responses which you may find helpful:


Jim Rayner has posted a response to your message titled
Rehabbing in Springfield MA - Need Advice in CREOnline News Group.

The posted reply can be found at the following URL:

If the reply pertains to an ongoing discussion, it is
requested you go to the above URL to post any response.

The posted reply reads as follows:

Dated : February 22, 2001 at 07:56:11
Subject: Re: Rehabbing in Springfield MA - Need Advice


Welcome to Massachusetts. Springfield is an area I have been watching for the past 9 years. What you see today is the best its been in that time. although there has been a come back from the days of 0f 25% vacancy rates, Springfield has not enjoyed the economic resurgence of the Eastern half of the state currently enjoying .6 percent vacancy rates for nearly 3 years now.
From about Worcester county westward there has been very little growth in market rents probably due to the high vacancy rates. There are many multiple unit properties listed as well at seemingly great per unit costs until you look into the vacancy and credit loss issues in these markets.
I looked at one last year 178 units …great neighborhood but 25% vacant and needed major rehab and had below market rents. Seller had bought it the previous year for 600K as an REO wanted 2.1M and hadn’t done much if anything to the property in that time. I passed.
There are several other cities in this region all with similar problems Pittsfield and Holyoke. Paul(MA) can tell us about Pittsfield.
The current wave of growth ends at western side of worcester county. People have been driven from the coastal regions due the high cost of housing, congestion and a need for open space. Worcester county has enjoyed growth over the past five years, well ahead of the year 2010 projections. The vacancy is in the less than 3 percent range with increasing demand rental rates are beginning to climb. With the commuter rail system extending to this region many are moving to the “country”.

Hopefully Paul will jump in here with his report on Pittsfield.

Further Info

I visited there this year and the situation hasn’t changed much.

I started investing in Springfield in 1992. At that time, stores on Main Street were all rented out, and new ones opening up every month. Old buildings were being rehabbed.

Several years ago, around 1998 I think, Monarch Insurance, one of the major downtown anchor businesses closed, and soon after, stores started emptying out. The downtown mall had a overpass that extends across the street to the other side. The major dept store closed and the overpass had since been torn down.

I stay at my sisters during my vistis, and earlier this year, I arrived an hour or so early, while she was still at work. I walked round and round downtwon looking fro the “Burger King” I used to go to. But I was told that its been closed for a while.

Heading north out of downtown, businesses are busier at the malls. But the major employer in town, Mass Mutual is cutting back.

There’s a good proportion of “section 8” rentals. My niece’s husband is a rehab contractor, and does a good business fixing the units in large complexes where these tenants move, and its a given that the management company had to install a new kitchens and bathrooms before the next tenant can move in.

Hope this helps.

Frank Chin

My Trip Report from Last Year - Posted by Frank Chin

Posted by Frank Chin on November 19, 2002 at 08:57:00:

Hi Matt:

I headed up that way last year, and I wrote a post about it. You’re right, REO’s can be had for 25K to 40K.

I found the thread, and here’s the link:


Good luck.

Frank Chin

PS: My neice’s husband is a rehab contractor there, and done a number of them for investors.

Investor Properties, Crime, Drugs & Schools - Posted by Frank Chin

Posted by Frank Chin on November 19, 2002 at 09:52:11:

Hi Robert:

A 182K house in Springfield is pretty much on the hight end. Investors are looking for those selling for 75K or so.

I looked at MF’s, and small aparmtent buildings in Springfield. I’m told that the problem with Springfield is the perception of “crime and drugs” and the mayor led an agressive effort to clean up the town.

Unfortunately, some small property owners live out of town, or moved to FL in some cases. The city did not want to hear any excuses, and forced these owners to come back and deal with the drug dealers or else lose their property.

I had no plans to commute from NYC to Springfield to deal with drug dealers. But my brother in law, who’s the condo association liason with the police department tells me that the situation has improved greatly the last two years, and does not hear gun shots at night anynmore.

My sister who works at Mass Mutual, a major Springfield employer, tells me that most of the middle management people and above lives south in Longmeadow, or commute from northern CT rather than live in the Springfield vicinity.

A story that made national headlines last year in West Springfield was the approval funding for a new Senior Citizens center, while voting down a Bond issue for new schools. Another reason why high income professionals do not live in Springfield area if they have school age children.

Then there was a mini scandal reported in the local papers where a Springfield City department head rented a condo in the complex where I own my unit, doesn’t actually live there, but in a neighboring town with better schools.

Frank Chin


Posted by Vlad on November 18, 2002 at 21:50:29:

I don’t mean to disagree, but rather to inquire. How would you explain that there are so many foreclosures in Springfield itself? When some cities have one-two at a given time, Springfield boasts over 20!


Re: SPFLD, HOLYOKE area… - Posted by Robert Escalante

Posted by Robert Escalante on November 19, 2002 at 21:18:01:

Plenty of good inexpensive real estate opportunities in the Western Ma. area. When I stated the Western Ma. SFH average of 182,000 I didn’t mean that was Spflds average but the average price including Longmeadow, Wilbraham…

Unfortunately drugs do grab the headlines more they should, creating the perception that Spfld. has major drug problems but since Mayor Albano and police chief Paula Meara took over things have improved a bit.

Spfld. anchors the entire Western Ma. area and when the economy declines in Spfld. all the other communities suffer too.

There are lots of professional people that reside in Spfld. Most of them live in the Sixteen Acre section or in East Forest Park. I can tell you that Spfld. is loaded with decent, hard working people. They don’t get any air time though.

I agree with you about Spfld’s public school system. It’s a mess! Luckily there are also good schools too. Pioneer Valley Christian School is outstanding. There are some private and charter schools that are very good as well. In fact kids actually get bused in from Longmeadow for these exclusive schools.

A good website to check out Spfld. real estate and just about everything else about Western Ma. Go to www.masslive.com You can also check out some investor properties listed in the business section.