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Columbus is 2019’s Hottest Housing Market

According to Realtor.com Columbus ranks #1

June 10, 2019

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Jan 22, 2019

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According to a recent study done on U.S. housing markets on Realtor.com, Ohio has overtaken California for the top spots on the hottest markets list. Just a year ago, the list was full of pricier markets such as San Francisco and San Jose-- but this year’s list seems to be more reflective of midwestern markets. This is great news for first time home buyers-- especially in the Columbs, Akron, and Canton market places-- which have all seen an uptick in buyers and home purchase satisfaction. But what happened to the market that allowed a couple of cities in Ohio to dominate the Realtor.com list?


In this article, we’re going to discuss why the Columbus market seems to be so appealing for people these days-- and why it’s a great idea to get a home here especially if you’re a first time buyer.

view of Columbus
Columbus has ranked number one in a recent Realtor.com hottest markets list.

The Realtor.com List-- What Does it Mean?

Each month, Realtor.com puts together a list of all the housing markets in the United States and ranks them as the hottest metros for real estate. This list takes the aggregate cost of homes, the amount of homes bought, and the amount of interest shown in these markets towards homes. It gives a good perspective on what people are looking for and what they’re interested in buying. It also allows us to see what markets in particular have seen the most interest from prospective home buyers.


The housing markets on this list also tend to see homes move more quickly from being on the market-- to purchased-- much faster than the national average. This shows analysts that the demand is high in these markets and the supply of homes is keeping pace or is being outpaced by buyer interest. The methodology behind this report aims to indicate which markets in the U.S. have a strong relative demand and limited relative supply.


In addition to the hottest markets in the U.S., Realtor.com also tracks the most improved markets as well. This list consists of markets that have shown an uptick of interest among buyers-- as well as have had homes sold faster than they did at this time last year. The driving force behind the most improved markets continues to be affordability-- and the majority of the markets on this month’s list-- have median home prices well below the national average.

picture of Columbus
Columbus has been experiencing population growth as well as an increase in per capita income.

The Market

The housing market in general has seen a decline in mortgage rates since the beginning of 2019-- which is the opposite of what we experienced at this time last year. Higher end markets seemed to have finally gotten what they wanted as well-- a surplus in buyable homes. However-- as the Realtor.com report makes evident-- people are not lining up to purchase homes in the pricey neighborhoods of Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Sales in these areas are sinking-- while they appear to be growing in small to medium size markets.


The reason behind this is again-- affordability. Buyers are not looking to put down roots in expensive neighborhoods that have expensive houses. A jump in mortgage rates made it more expensive to purchase a home-- and the recent change to the tax plan has added to the slow down in more expensive markets. Forecasters predict that the prices of homes in these areas will need to come down before buyers return.


So where are buyers turning their focus if it isn’t to traditionally higher demand markets? They’re interested in cities that are more affordable-- but still offer the urban feel of a good size city. The markets on the Realtor.com list prove that the midwest, smaller California cities, and Texas round out the 20 spots on the list. These metro areas are offering below average home prices and coupling it with a better quality of life. You can purchase a much larger house for your family in Columbus than in San Francisco and still have access to good schools, nice community areas, and first class attractions. This is what’s drawing people away from the higher end markets, and leading them to seek out some hidden gems.

Why Columbus?

Columbus came in at number one on the hottest market list-- and for those who already live there-- it’s easy for them to see why. This is a city where buyers are willing to pay more to live in a certain area-- especially in the downtown. Columbus has also experienced a significant growth in population-- which is due to two factors:


  • A greater number of births than deaths
  • Migration


The population of Columbus has almost doubled since the 1960s and due to good jobs in the area, this city has not suffered the population drain that so many other Rust Belt cities have experienced. There is also interest in the homes of Columbus from around the country-- as many people seek to move here due to the good housing market.


Columbus has also experienced a per capita income growth of 25%-- which is higher than other Ohio cities like Cleveland and Cincinnati-- and is higher than the national average of 22%. These numbers show that Columbus is a productive city-- and one where more and more people want to live. College educated professionals in particular want to live in an urban or semi-urban environment-- and their desire for places in Columbus that come with a high amount of walkability has increased. This has lead to the revitalization of formerly underused or vacate properties across the city.


There are many factors that affect why a city is livable and why there is such a high demand for property-- but in Columbus there are a couple of obvious reasons for their success.

downtown Columbus
Image courtesy of the Columbus Museum of Art. Columbus has so many attractions and things to do-- it’s easy to see why this market is at the top of the list.

Downtown

The revitalization of the downtown Columbus business district is one of the main reasons for the attraction of the Columbus housing market. Over the past 10 years, this area was transformed and now offers some of the best dining, nightlife, and cultural attractions to rival any other city. There are all kinds of eclectic and unique homes available in the German Village, Polaris, and Old North Columbus.


These areas are full of shops and local store owners who want to keep Columbus shopping small. There has been a real sense of community that has sprung up in the past couple of years-- and you’ll find everything from gluten-free bakeries, to boutiques, to artisan pizza shops.


There are also lots of companies that provide a growing amount of jobs to the regional area-- including Nationwide Insurance, American Electric Power Corp., and JP Morgan Chase and Co. These employers offer a diverse selection of jobs-- and are another reason people are making the move the Columbus.

Sports

Columbus is no stranger to sports-- and not only is Ohio State University one of the largest universities in the U.S.-- it also has a huge following for their successful football program. Many people flock from around the state to catch a game on Saturday-- or just participate in some of the many tailgates across the campus.


Columbus is also home to the NHL Blue Jackets-- and they have grown quite a legion of fans in the 21 years since they’ve been playing in the league. This team has produced some fantastic players-- and have even gone deep in the playoffs a couple of times. As the state’s only National Hockey League franchise, their games are usually sell outs-- but you can always catch the action at one of the many amazing sports bars around the city.


There is also a Major League Soccer team in Columbus as well-- the Columbus Crew SC-- which play in the first soccer-specific stadium in the country. Soccer is an extremely popular sport in Ohio-- as well as the rest of the country-- and their games are always a big draw to the downtown area.

Attractions

In addition to a good buyer’s market, an amazing downtown district, and some exciting sports teams-- Columbus is also full of fun things to do. There is the world famous Columbus Zoo-- which is at the forefront of zoology and animal care. Their exhibits are fascinating and offer people a chance to get out of the comfort zone and really get close to the wild animals. This zoo concentrates its efforts in conservation-- and collaborates extensively with zoos around the world.


The Franklin Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is another great exhibit to check out in Columbus. The flower exhibits change with the seasons-- and there’s always a gardening or nature class to sign up for. It’s a great resource for sustainable gardening practices as well as a good way to spend some time with the family.


Columbus is also home to a fantastic art museum-- The Columbus Museum of Art. This place is full of some amazing works of art and always has new exhibits to view. They also have a full calendar of events including workshops, lectures, and classes-- and even an art book club to get involved with.


Columbus has so much to offer people-- without the expensive home prices. It’s a large enough city to have all you need to live a modern and convenient life-- but it’s small enough to still focus on family and hometown values. Columbus is a great option if you’re looking for a home at a fair price-- and has access to all kinds of amenities and attractions.


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