Hartford, New Britain or New Haven?

21 Replies

Hello Bigger Pockets!

I am a relatively new investor. I live in Central MA and am looking for a new property(s) to buy and hold in CT. 

My target tenants are young professionals. I'm not too familiar with the markets yet but research I've done suggests that the towns of New Britain, New Haven and Hartford all have a good mix of inventory and low prices coupled with plenty of amenities, night life, cafes, etc and local colleges to bring younger people to the area year after year. Of course the high crime statistics cannot be ignored in these cites, however I'm planning to buy only in the nicer/low crime neighborhoods which hopefully eliminates most of the crime risk.

I was wondering if any of you could provide feedback on comparing these 3 cities. It looks like New Britain has the best ROI, however it also has the least amenities from what I can see. The history of New Haven and Hartford lead me to believe that these major cities could make a comeback in the next 10-20 years. What are your thoughts and which city would you choose? Would love feedback from anyone with personal investing and/or property management experience in these cities.

Hi I would stay away from New Britain. Focus on Hartford and New Haven. Both have crime but if you focus your search around university areas specially you should be ok. Things vary street to street. I would check out university housing websites and forums to find specific neighborhoods to target. Yale is a good starting point. University of Hartford. 

@Kevin Chandler Welcome to BP!

What kind of investing are you looking to do?

Very generally speaking the areas of Hartford and New Haven where you can hope to attract qualified tenants (assuming that is your goal) are very expensive because most of the people with something to lose that live in these cities generally live in 2 or 3 areas. What this leads to is higher purchase prices but also higher rents in these areas. 

New Britain is where you are going to get the best ROI like you mentioned and this is because as a whole there are more areas within the city where qualified tenants are looking to live and the purchase prices are lower while still maintaining competitive rents. Also, living in a better area of NB is still much cheaper than the rent in the suburban towns that surround NB which will always be an advantage of owning there. Just like investing in any city though there are a couple areas to stay away from, but they are not hard to identify and they are not large.

This all comes down to how much you are looking to spend and the class of property/class of tenants you want to deal with.

Originally posted by @Diamandia Lingos :

Hi I would stay away from New Britain. Focus on Hartford and New Haven. Both have crime but if you focus your search around university areas specially you should be ok. Things vary street to street. I would check out university housing websites and forums to find specific neighborhoods to target. Yale is a good starting point. University of Hartford. 

 Thanks for the feedback Diamandia. Will definitely check out the university housing websites! Why do you recommend staying away from New Britain? 

Originally posted by @Michael Noto :

@Kevin Chandler Welcome to BP!

What kind of investing are you looking to do?

Very generally speaking the areas of Hartford and New Haven where you can hope to attract qualified tenants (assuming that is your goal) are very expensive because most of the people with something to lose that live in these cities generally live in 2 or 3 areas. What this leads to is higher purchase prices but also higher rents in these areas. 

New Britain is where you are going to get the best ROI like you mentioned and this is because as a whole there are more areas within the city where qualified tenants are looking to live and the purchase prices are lower while still maintaining competitive rents. Also, living in a better area of NB is still much cheaper than the rent in the suburban towns that surround NB which will always be an advantage of owning there. Just like investing in any city though there are a couple areas to stay away from, but they are not hard to identify and they are not large.

This all comes down to how much you are looking to spend and the class of property/class of tenants you want to deal with.


Hi Michael,  Thanks for the feedback.

I am looking to invest in 2, 3 or 4 family houses. I would like to maximize value. I'm hoping to buy something in the $300K-$400K range so I'd like the highest quality tenant possible in that price range. I'd be okay with sacrificing some ROI if it meant higher quality tenants. Would this be feasible in quality neighborhoods in Hartford and New Haven or am I way off?

 

$300-$400k will likely not get you even a 2-family in the best area of New Haven unless it needs a lot of work, but will get you a property in a top flight area of Hartford. The East Rock area of New Haven (near Yale) is a huge outlier in terms of pricing, very expensive. 

Originally posted by @Michael Noto :

$300-$400k will likely not get you even a 2-family in the best area of New Haven unless it needs a lot of work, but will get you a property in a top flight area of Hartford. The East Rock area of New Haven (near Yale) is a huge outlier in terms of pricing, very expensive. 

Okay, good to know. Thanks for the info. Greatly appreciated!

 

@Kevin Chandler Hartford can vary street to street but with your price range you should be able to land something there based on what you're looking for.  In that range you should be able to find a duplex & maybe even a triplex in the West End.  It typically has pretty good rental demand with UCONN Law School, St. Francis Hospital, UHART all nearby.  Cash flow is not great since properties are priced accordingly though.  

On paper other areas of the city have much higher cashflow but they come with their fair share of hassles.   

Originally posted by @Ryan Allison :

@Kevin Chandler Hartford can vary street to street but with your price range you should be able to land something there based on what you're looking for.  In that range you should be able to find a duplex & maybe even a triplex in the West End.  It typically has pretty good rental demand with UCONN Law School, St. Francis Hospital, UHART all nearby.  Cash flow is not great since properties are priced accordingly though.  

On paper other areas of the city have much higher cashflow but they come with their fair share of hassles.   

 

@Ryan Allison

Thanks Ryan. That’s great info. The West End is definitely on my radar for Hartford. Are there any other neighborhoods you recommend? I see Downtown is highly rated for young professionals but the crime rates look pretty high. 

Hi @Kevin Chandler , looks like you've done a bunch of research. If you're looking for areas with nightlife/ young people, have you also looked at Middletown? It's not as big as New Britain, Hartford, and New Haven, but it does have a great little main st with restaurants, and the walkability that young people like, while being centrally located for people who want to get around the state for work or fun. Wesleyan University is there, which is not huge, but is prestigious. (Can you say Lin Manuel?) Prices for MF there are not crazy either. If you keep looking in New Britain and Hartford keep Middletown on your radar as well. ;)

@Kevin Chandler, 

I agree with everyone's comments about investing in Hartford and New Britain. I was born and raised in Hartford. My favorite area in the west end, 06105. There are also a few nice areas in the south end, 06114.  I currently live in New Britain, 06051, but prefer the other end of town closer to Central CT State University, 06053. I have my first property under contract in that area.

@Kevin Chandler , you've gotten some great info here. After having managed in both New Britain and Hartford, I would pick a nice area of New Britain over a Nice area of Hartford - unless you are speaking specifically of the West End of Hartford. 

I would say that the West End of Hartford trumps all of New Britain. But there's some really really nice areas of NB (like the Farmington and Berlin sides) that we've been fortunate enough to manage in. Those are desirable areas where a nice 3 bed 1 bath unit can rent for 1,200 all day long.

Don't fall victim to the pro formas showing New Haven and Hartford to be these amazing places. Pro formas don't show crime rates, vacancy because of said crime, and overall quality of tenant. 

@Renita G Ezell - congrats on being under contract on your first CT property!

Originally posted by @Renita G Ezell :

@Kevin Chandler, 

I agree with everyone's comments about investing in Hartford and New Britain. I was born and raised in Hartford. My favorite area in the west end, 06105. There are also a few nice areas in the south end, 06114.  I currently live in New Britain, 06051, but prefer the other end of town closer to Central CT State University, 06053. I have my first property under contract in that area.

Thank you for the feedback Renita. Nice to hear from someone who grew up in the area! 

Congrats on your first New Britain property! Is this property targeted at students, young professionals or families?

Originally posted by @Filipe Pereira :

@Kevin Chandler, you've gotten some great info here. After having managed in both New Britain and Hartford, I would pick a nice area of New Britain over a Nice area of Hartford - unless you are speaking specifically of the West End of Hartford. 

I would say that the West End of Hartford trumps all of New Britain. But there's some really really nice areas of NB (like the Farmington and Berlin sides) that we've been fortunate enough to manage in. Those are desirable areas where a nice 3 bed 1 bath unit can rent for 1,200 all day long.

Don't fall victim to the pro formas showing New Haven and Hartford to be these amazing places. Pro formas don't show crime rates, vacancy because of said crime, and overall quality of tenant. 

@Renita G Ezell - congrats on being under contract on your first CT property!

 

Originally posted by @Kevin Chandler :

Hi Felipe, that’s great info. Thanks! I’ve had concerns about the crime rates so I’m trying to only buy in the better sides of town. Appreciate the overview!

 No problem. Also check out neighborhoodscout.com. It's a free resource that you can use to see crime maps for each town. It's very insightful. When you use it, search for a town, not the address because if you use a specific address it reroutes to a webpage where you have to pay. You can search a town the just zoom in on an area.

Thank you Kevin. I will be "house-hacking" this property. So for the additional three bedrooms, I plan to Airbnb and/or expand the shared-housing community I currently have for women in transition at my duplex .

@Renita G Ezell

Very nice! The house hacking will pay dividends for a long time I’m sure. I like your strategy of AirBB’ing the rooms. Sort of a unique way to make money, meet new people and not get stuck with a tenant you don’t like for too long! Best of luck!

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