While the average outlook for real estate markets in 2012 is a bit gloomy, Buffalonians shouldn?t be too discouraged by national trends.? Since the housing crisis began in 2008, Buffalo has remained relatively untouched by the problems that are paining the rest of the country.? Investment in the city, too, seems to be strong: this year we can look forward to the opening of the Hotel Lafayette (with restaurants, a hotel, and a number of apartments) and a number of other restaurants.? While the news that HSBC would be selling a number of branches scared us earlier this year, First Niagara, a local bank, showed its commitment to the city by buying up most of those banks.? And while the Sabres and Bills aren?t shining right now, there is increasingly strong commitment to both teams via the owners (and presumed future owners)?let?s just hope we?ll be able to see the Sabres play on MSG sometime soon!? A number of local festivities continue, like the Powderkeg Festival, the Ride for Roswell, Garden Walk, and the like.? Indeed, the last few years seem to have been full of efforts to reinvigorate our beloved city, so here?s to more of the same neighborly spirit in 2012.? Happy New Year!