Should I Buy Rental Property in Columbus, Ohio?

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Columbusskyline

We see and hear this question a lot online from out-of-state residential real estate investors looking for the next great place to sink their investment dollars.

The short answer?

Yes.

We work mostly in the multifamily sector, our broker and agents helping local and outside investors find duplex and above rental properties that cash flow and otherwise meet their real estate investing goals. According to a recent study from independent CRE market research firm, Integra Realty Resources (IRR), Columbus is still in the “expansion” phase in the multifamily market cycle, with anticipated steady cap rates for at least the next year.

In its “2016 Mid-Year Commercial Real Estate Trends Report”, IRR notes that multifamily (considered “commercial” at 4+ units) housing investment has enjoyed a 7-year bull run and investors are questioning whether that run is about to end. Its answer to that? IRR says it depends on who you talk to, and what area you’re looking to invest in. Although MFH metrics have softened nationally due to increased supply, Columbus is still reported as expanding, and here’s why:

  • We have decreasing vacancy rates (under 8% for Class A Urban; around 3% for Suburban Class B in the Central Region), and
  • Moderate to high new construction
  • High absorption
  • Moderate to high employment growth
  • Moderate to high rental rate growth

In the property management segment of our business, we’re still increasing rents each year despite the multifamily construction we see all over the city. Our own vacancy rate for rentals, in a management portfolio with nearly 500 units, has been hovering in the 3-5% range for several years now. On the sales side of our business, we’re seeing a steady supply of MFH sale properties on the MLS, which we consult daily for investors, and lenders are still lending money for property acquisitions at low interest rates. The market is strong here with $100,000 duplexes for first-time investors, and, despite what many newbies think, you don’t have to be a millionaire to buy.

Columbus is a great place to invest because people are moving here for our fantastic employment and cultural opportunities, and the rental market is absorbing them into a robust inventory of new and existing MFH options.

Skeptical?

Last year, Forbes ranked Columbus, with its major technology, insurance and education industries, #11 in its “Best Places for Business and Careers” rankings. And in June 2016, National Geographic ran an article online entitled, “Why All the Cool Kids Love Columbus, Ohio”, touting Columbus’s cultural renaissance that’s pulling in hipster millennials (read: renters!) from all over.

If Columbus, Ohio is soon to be “the next Brooklyn”, then why haven’t you invested here yet?