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More Than Half of Columbus Residents are Now Renters

Walker Evans Walker Evans More Than Half of Columbus Residents are Now RentersNew apartments under construction — Photo by Walker Evans.
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Over the course of past decade, Columbus has become a “renter-dominated market” along with 21 other major U.S. cities. That means that more than half of the population of the city of Columbus now lives in a rental units rather than an owned unit.

“There’s no nice way to put this — the idea of owning a home lost much of the charm that once made it a structural element of the American Dream,” states Rentcafé’s Balazs Szekely. “Although the most recent data shows that the growth of the rental segment is losing momentum, it’s in part because homeownership has great losses to recover and it’s just starting to bounce back from the impact of the recession. In the late 2000s everybody was talking about the housing crisis, but the same wave that crushed the mortgage market — sending millions of homes to foreclosure — turned the apartment market downwind.”

A new report from Rentcafé shows that in 2006, just 46.9 percent of Columbus residents were renters. In 2016, that number has grown to 55.1 percent. Some of the other cities that made the switch to renter-dominated markets include Cleveland, Austin, Chicago, Minneapolis, Detroit, San Diego and Toledo.

“The total US population has increased by about 23.7 million people during the past decade, but this growth is far from evenly distributed between the two occupancy categories,” explains Szekely. “The number of renters has increased by more than 23 million, and that of homeowners by less than 700,000.”

In Columbus specifically, over 135,000 new renters have been added to the population between 2006 and 2016, while the total number of new owners is 7,400 during that time period. The boom in local apartment development is physical evidence of that trend with demand continuing to outpace the supply provided by housing developers.

While conversations are taking place about the lack of new workforce (middle class) and affordable (low income) housing units being constructed, the rental rates in Columbus have continued to be ranked affordably compared to other major metro areas around the country.

“The February data shows that, as of today, Columbus is the 95th most expensive rental market in the U.S., showcasing a median one-bedroom rent price of $693,” states Sam Radbil, Sr. Communications Manager at ABODO. “In terms of rent change month-over-month, the price of a 1-bedroom apartment in Columbus experienced a 0.43% increase from January to February.”

The latest report from ABODO shows that the average two-bedroom apartment in Columbus rents for $997 per month. For perspective, average one-bedroom rents in other metro areas include $3,293/mo in San Francisco, $2,788/mo in New York City and $2,492/mo in Washington, D.C.

“Throughout the past year, rent increases have been occurring not just in the city of Columbus, but across the entire state,” states the newest report from ApartmentList.com. “Of the largest 10 cities that we have data for in Ohio, nine of them have seen prices rise. Dublin is the most expensive of all Ohio’s major cities, with a median two-bedroom rent of $1,120.

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