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Columbus, Ohio Rental Real Estate Overview 2021

The opportunities that exist for real estate investors are exciting post COVID. After 2020, it’s difficult to know what sort of investments are safe, how much to invest, and how to find the best deals. Having a good overview of a given market is key to buying rental houses.
 
Evernest is here to help you learn about one of 2021’s best investment opportunities: Real Estate. Markets are seeing historic highs at the moment, and interest rates remain very low. There are a variety of reasons real estate can be the right choice for you.
Ready to invest? Let’s talk
 
In the same breath real estate can also be fickle; pick the wrong location and you’ll take a significant loss. That’s why it’s essential to understand and research a variety of areas. This includes not the housing markets, but also:
 
  • People
  • Local trends
  • Economic drivers
  • Environment
  • Opportunities for growth 
 
When looking for investment properties, the places you find as best bets may surprise you. Want to know about a metro area in the Midwest that is a profitable, sustainable place to invest?
 
That place is Columbus, Ohio.  
 
Columbus can bring you success investing in its real estate, that’s why we’re bringing to you the Columbus, Ohio Rental Real Estate overview for 2021. In this article, you’ll learn about Columbus, the market, and why you should invest in 2021 and beyond.  
 
Evernest is ready to take you on that journey. Are you new to investing or a seasoned shareholder? Regardless, you’ll find Columbus’ real estate market to be a great opportunity to grow your wealth. So read on, enjoy, and contact us to learn more!  

About Columbus, Ohio

 
Columbus, Ohio is a lively Midwestern town. Founded in 1812, named after famed Italian explorer Christopher Columbus. It became the state’s capital in 1816 and the county seat of Franklin County in 1824.  
 
The city saw significant growth in the 1950s when major industries set up shop. Industries included manufacturing, healthcare, education, aviation, retail, and food, and many others. By the early 1990s, it was the largest city in Ohio.  
 
Today, Columbus holds the title of the second-largest city in the Midwest. It has an estimated population of 900,000 people as of the 2020 census. As of the 2020 census, the population was 61.5% white, 28.1% Black or African American, 5.6% Hispanic or Latino, and 4.1% Asian. 92% of the population has a high school diploma, and 38% have an undergraduate or advanced degree. 

City Statistics

  • Population: 898,000 (estimate based on 2020 census) in the city itself, 2.08 million in the metro area. The population of the area is estimated to be growing by 50 people per day.  
  • Median Income:  $36,285 per capita, $67,207 per household 
  • Area: 225.08 square miles 
  • Median Age: 36.4 years 
  • Top employers: Business and professional services, education, health care, government, retail, leisure, and hospitality. 
  • Unemployment rate: 5.4%  
  • GDP: $117 billion, up 29% from ten years ago.  

Columbus Real Estate Market Statistics 

  • Number of neighborhoods: 220 neighborhoods
  • Homes for sale as of July 2021: 2,655 
  • Median List Price: $225,000 (up 12.1% year over year) 
  • Median Sold Home Price: $270,000 
  • Median Price per Square Foot: $148 
  • Sale-to-List Price Ratio: 103.44% 
  • Median Days on Market: 45 days 
  • Most Expensive Neighborhoods: German Village, Olde Town East, Downtown Columbus  
  • Least Expensive Neighborhoods: South Linden, Highland West, Franklinton 
  • 1-Year Appreciation Rate: +13.5% 
  • Median Rent Price: $1,250 
  • Price-To-Rent Ratio: 13.14 
  • Percentage Of Vacant Homes: 14.05% 
  • Foreclosure Rate: 1 in every 7,224 (1.3%) 

Five Reasons to Buy Real Estate in Columbus, OH

 
Real estate in Columbus is seeing a positive surge for many reasons. More people are making their way to the suburbs, which is causing home values to spike. Columbus offers urban and suburban living, good schools, jobs, restaurants, sports, and entertainment. The cost of living is low, and the activities are many. 
 
The area is also an outstanding renter’s market, due to the young median age. With rental properties in high demand, property owners receive great rates and profits. Turnover is low and vacancies are rare.  
 
According to Fortune Builder, here is why Columbus is a good investment opportunity:
 
  • Interest rates are at a record low for traditional loans 
  • Higher acquisition costs justified by long-term cash flow 
  • The spike in home prices is increasing the demand for rental properties.  

 

Below are 5 reasons the Columbus Real Estate Market is an excellent investment

 

1. Healthy and growing economy 

 
In the past decade, Columbus has seen enormous growth in its economic landscape. Many cities across the nation suffered as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Columbus did fine. The area continues to draw visitors and new residents. Mix that with the need for housing and you have a strong investment opportunity.
 
One reason many people are moving to Columbus is its low unemployment rate. As of July 2021, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the unemployment rate at only 5.4%.  
 
The low unemployment rate is due to the plethora of essential industries that have set up shops in the city. The area has a high level of manufacturing, wholesale, and retail trade. All were industries that saw less impact from the COVID-19 pandemic. Health and education make up 15% of the job market, and neither of those industries slowed down in 2020. This chart shows the breakdown of percentages of people employed in each sector.  

Startup hub

Columbus is popular for startups and businesses with long track records of success. Home to five Fortune 500 companies, with most providing essential services. Those headquartered in Columbus include:
  • American Electric Power
  • Cardinal Health
  • L Brands
  • Nationwide
  • Big Lots
  • Victoria’s Secret
  • Express
  • Safelite Autoglass
  • White Castle 
 
Columbus also has many of its residents employed by John Glenn International Airport. Many major financial institutions in the area include:
  • JP Morgan Chase
  • State Farm Insurance
  • Huntington Bancshares

Education

Technology and research have also continued to thrive during the pandemic. Columbus is home to Battelle Institute, which employs 3,200 people. The Ohio State University Campus in Columbus employs more than 49,000 people. The city is home to many other educational institutions including:
  • Columbus College of Art and Design
  • Fortis College
  • Ohio Institute of Health Careers
  • Franklin University
  • Ohio Dominican University
Education is a primary economic driver in the city. Healthcare is important as well. Nationwide Children’s Hospital is a network that joins many other hospitals and specialty institutions.  
 
As job opportunities arise, the cost of living in Columbus stays at 7.5% below the national average. With steady employment and affordable living, Columbus continues to maintain a healthy economy. This is a very attractive reason to invest in real estate in the area.  

 

2. Landlord-friendly 

Ohio ranks as one of the country’s most landlord-friendly states. Investment in rental properties is popular and smart due to a sharp increase in demand.  

The city is a mixture of houses and rental units, and also has many locations that can be repurposed or converted. The income in different neighborhoods ranges significantly, offering landlords the opportunity to succeed at a variety of income levels, and with different-sized investments.   

Landlord-tenant laws

Ohio’s landlord-tenant laws are not as stringent as in other states. This makes Columbus rental properties a very manageable and profitable investment. For example, tenant laws do not address pets, grace periods, or re-keying. Meaning landlords can determine many of their own rules (within reason). Judges tend to favor landlords in tenant disputes.  
 
These benefits to investors come from the demand for rentals in the area and the age of many citizens. They make becoming a landlord in Columbus a profitable possibility.  

 

3. Low cost of living 

A reason Columbus attracts many new residents is due to its reasonable cost of living. According to Bestplaces.com, and the area’s cost of living is 7.5% lower than the national average. Groceries, healthcare, utilities, and transportation all rank below the national average.
 
Like most housing markets, home prices in Columbus have spiked since the pandemic. The 2021 median home price is $272,000. This is more than $35,000, or 15%, higher than 2020.  
 
Yet, Columbus’ home prices are still favorable to the rest of the country. According to the National Association of Realtors, the national median for home prices is $356,700, $100,000 more than the average home in Columbus.  
 

Access to many major cities

Columbus also offers comfortable living within the vicinity of many other metro areas. The city is within easy driving distance to many other major cities including:
 
  • Indianapolis
  • Cincinnati
  • Pittsburgh
  • Chicago
  • Detroit
  • Louisville
  • St. Louis
  • And more!
 
These cities make for easier weekend getaways and family trips. It also allows large companies to work with Columbus’ many businesses. 
 

Enjoyable city life

Columbus’ affordability allows residents the extra income needed to enjoy the city life. This includes things like sports, concert and performance halls, museums and public art, outdoor attractions, and the popular Ohio State Fair. Oh yea, don’t forget about the thriving restaurant industry.  
 
The affordable nature of the Columbus metro area is drawing more and more people, adding to the list of reasons that the city’s real estate market is a great investment.  

 

4. Growing rental investment opportunities  

One exciting aspect for Columbus investors is the increased demand for rental housing.
 
Rented housing accounts for 46% of housing units in the metropolitan area! Even if tenants pay less in Columbus than in other cities, the profits for landlords look great. The rental market in Columbus has seen fewer peaks and valleys like the national trend. but Columbus is unique given its higher concentration of rental units. As rents rise and owners rehab their units, rental properties become more attractive.
 

Cheap Housing

An advantage for investors in rentals is the number of cheap houses available for sale. A recent report says foreclosures increased by 111% between May and June of 2021. The fallout from the pandemic didn’t hit Columbus as hard as other cities. Foreclosures still occurred, making local auctions important to finding cheap homes to buy.  
 
Distressed homes are higher in Columbus than the national average. According to RealtyTrac, the number of distressed homes estimates increase by 52%. This means that more cheap homes will be available for investors to buy and turn into rentals.  
 

Attractive cap rates for investors

Since we manage over 500 properties in Columbus and have our Brokerage services set up, Evernest has the ability to source properties for investors now. We’re finding that even with Columbus’ tremendous growth, the cap rates investors can expect are much more attractive than other high-growth cities.
 
Columbus is in the unique position of:
  • Having many cheap properties up for sale
  • Seeing an increasing demand for rental housing
  • Being the perfect market for young professionals.
This is a significant reason real estate investors double-take at Columbus.  

  

5. High quality of life  

As mentioned earlier, the quality of life in Columbus continues to draw people to the area. It’s ranked among the best places to live in the U.S. and the best city in Ohio.  Many benefits come from living in the metro area.  
 
As people move or graduate from local colleges, they have a great opportunity to find a significant other. Those who have grown their families will find the schools and activities excellent for children.  

Local weather

The weather can often be brutal in Midwestern cities, but Columbus is one of the exceptions. According to U.S. News, winter temperatures generally don’t dip much lower than the 30s. Summer temps tend to max out in the mid-80s. Spring and fall are balmy and breezy in the 50s and 60s.  

Columbus has been working on reducing its carbon footprint. In 2020, a measure passed that will supply the city with 100% renewable energy by 2023.

Active lifestyles

The city lends itself well to active lifestyles, with biking being a popular mode of transportation and exercise. Driving is the main form of travel. Of course, there will be traffic, but the average commute to and from work is 24 minutes (2% lower than the national average). People who love the outdoors can take advantage of a variety of parks, hiking trails, and gardens. For animal lovers, the city is home to a zoo and aquarium, as well as a birdwatching center.

Historical Sites

There are many historical sites and buildings including:
  • The Ohio Statehouse
  • The Ohio Judicial Center
  • Rhodes State Office Tower
  • LeVeque Tower
  • One Nationwide Plaza
 
The benefits of living in Columbus are hard to ignore. A hub of happy citizens means a hub of happy investors.  

Ready to invest?  

There you have it, the Columbus, Ohio Rental Real Estate overview for 2021. 

EVERNEST has what you’re looking for in a team with extensive experience investing in single & multi-family, cash-flow rental properties. Since 2008, our team has remained dedicated to providing investors & owners with the best in-house rental property services around. Everest can offer investor-friendly brokerage services, white-glove property management, and in-house maintenance for all our customers. 

Are you an investor not just limited to Columbus? You can invest in some of the best real estate markets in the United States by working with Evernest’s in-house Brokerage team of investor-friendly Real Estate Agents. All you have to do is fill out this form, and one of our agents will reach out within 24 hours.