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The benefits of living in the home of The Ohio State University are plentiful, and not just for college sports fans. It’s a hotspot for young professionals, with a median resident age of just 32.4 years old, according to the World Population Review, and a thriving technology industry. And downtown, the Arena District offers ample entertainment options, including the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets. The state capital is also a very affordable place for residential real estate, which makes it an attractive destination for homebuyers. Whether you already live in this popular college town or are contemplating a move, here’s what you need to know about the housing market in Columbus.
Columbus housing market overview
Home prices here are on the rise, showing year-over-year growth of about 2.5 percent according to both Redfin and the Columbus Realtors. In fact, the city recently ranked third on Realtor.com’s Hottest Housing Market List.
“Columbus is a steadily growing real estate market,” says Ron Manton, an Ohio-licensed mortgage loan originator at Churchill Mortgage. The increasing demand means housing inventory is low, he says, which makes Columbus a seller’s market.
Low is a bit of an understatement for the housing shortage in this market, actually: Columbus Realtors data shows just under a one month supply in March of 2023. It would take a five to six month supply for a balanced market.
Columbus housing trends and stats
- The median sale price was $286,000 as of March 2023, per Columbus Realtors. That’s well below the National Association of Realtors’ nationwide median of $375,700.
- Homes tend to sell just below their list price, with a sale-to-list ratio of 98.8 percent — down 4.1 percent year-over-year.
- The amount of time homes spend on the market before selling nearly doubled from March 2022 to March 2023, increasing from 18 days to 34.
- The volume of closed sales dropped slightly year-over-year, from 2,430 to 2,304.
- Closing costs in Ohio average 2 percent of the home’s sale price, according to data from ClosingCorp. For a median-priced $286,000 home, that comes to $5,720.
Should you buy or sell in the Columbus housing market?
Whether you’re thinking of buying or selling in Columbus, it’s essential to take current market conditions into account.
If you’re a home seller
The good news for Columbus sellers is that home prices are on the upswing, and buyer demand is strong. “We are still seeing multiple offers and very low days on market,” says Jamie Curtis, an agent with Street Sotheby’s International Realty in Columbus.
But remember that mortgage interest rates play a big role in home sales, and the higher rates are, the fewer buyers there will be who can afford them. In today’s rate environment, it’s smart to collaborate with a real estate agent to get a precise estimation of how much your property might sell for, and how long it might take. Be ready to engage in negotiations with buyers to finalize a sale.
If you’re a homebuyer
The Columbus market is refreshingly affordable for home shoppers, especially compared to other markets across the country. Even with prices on the rise, the median sale price here is nearly $100,000 less than the national median.
“Now is a great time to purchase a home in Columbus,” says Manton. “The home you see today will sell for more next fall, next spring and next summer due to low supply and high demand.”
Before you start house-hunting, use Bankrate’s affordability calculator to crunch the numbers for your homebuying budget. It’s also important to get preapproved for a mortgage — this will give you a clear understanding of how much a lender will be willing to loan you, as well as show sellers that you’re a serious and qualified buyer.
Columbus housing market predictions
It’s not easy to predict where the market is headed. But Columbus’s high ranking on Realtor.com’s Hottest Housing Market List is certainly encouraging.
“Any agent in this city will tell you that Columbus is one of the strongest real estate markets in the U.S.,” says Curtis. “We are seeing relocations from markets all over the country, including Phoenix, San Francisco and New York. Buyers who migrate from larger markets are getting much more for their money. Our cost of living is lower compared to many major cities in the country, and we have a vibrant, young workforce.”
One thing you won’t have to worry about: Columbus doesn’t look like it’s headed for a housing crash anytime soon. Unlike many markets across the country, prices are actually rising here, not declining.
Find a Columbus real estate agent
The housing market in Columbus — and the rest of the country — is changing constantly, making the guidance of an experienced real estate agent indispensable. Seek out an agent who is very familiar with the Columbus area and has a comprehensive understanding of the local market dynamics. To get started, ask for recommendations from friends and family, and look at the names on “sold” or “for sale” signs in the neighborhoods you’re interested in. Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, having an experienced agent by your side can significantly enhance your real estate journey.
Quite the opposite — home prices here are actually on the rise. Per data from the Columbus Realtors, the median sale price rose 2.5 percent between March 2022 and March 2023. Redfin data shows a similar year-over-year increase. However, despite increases, the median home price in Columbus is still much lower than the nationwide median.
Ohio’s capital city is very affordable when compared with many other popular markets in the country, which makes buying a house here a great value. And experts anticipate Columbus booming in population over the next 25 years, which could increase demand and housing values. According to Churchill Mortgage’s Ron Manton, “Now is a great time to purchase a home in Columbus. The home you see today will sell for more next fall, next spring and next summer due to low supply and high demand.”