August 17, 2020

Columbus rents are some of the fastest-rising in the country, Apartment Guide report finds

By   – Staff reporter, Columbus Business First

Even with the disruption of the pandemic, Columbus’ apartments are still a hot item.

That’s according to data from Apartment Guide. In its mid-year rent report, the apartment listing website pegged Columbus’ apartment rents as the fastest-growing of major Midwestern cities and among the fastest-growing of the United States’ 100 biggest metros. According to the listings on its website:

  • The average rent for a studio apartment has risen almost 23% to $1,138 a month year-over-year, making Columbus No. 6 out of the nation’s 100 largest metros for rent increases in apartments of this type.
  • The average rent for a one-bedroom has risen 13% to $1,130 a month, putting Columbus 10th among the biggest metros.
  • The average rent for a two-bedroom has risen 14% to $1,346 a month, putting Columbus is ninth among the biggest metros.

Average rents for all three kinds of apartments have risen in more than half of states, Apartment Guide found. But the cities that dominate the list for rent increases are in the Midwest and the Sun Belt.

Apartment Guide speculated that economic trends could be playing into some of the data – half of the cities that have been “hot spots” for the Covid-19 pandemic have seen rents go down. Some cities where rents have been going up for years have seen decreases in the past few months, including pricier markets like Los Angeles, Miami, Seattle and Houston. But the report said there are too many factors to tell if this is the reason for the trend.

Apartment developers also attribute the rising rents locally to two other big factors: sluggish apartment building that isn’t keeping pace with local population growth and an appetite for higher-end apartments in nicer areas.

Tre’ Giller, president of prolific apartment developer Donald R. Kenney & Company Realty, said costs have risen for materials and long development times drive up rent prices. The developer has 2,000 units in the pipeline around Central Ohio across eight sites with an estimated value of more than $256 million.

Brian Schottenstein, president of Schottenstein Real Estate, said there’s been steady demand for apartments with lots of amenities even in a suburban environment. Rents go up to $2,100 a month for his half-dozen developments in Delaware County, for instance.

Renting is big business. Columbus has about 129,600 apartment units and 256,500 apartment residents, according to a National Multifamily Housing Council study, with renters spending $19 billion a year in rent and other rent-related expenses. Meanwhile, operators put $1.1 billion into managing apartments locally, $980 million in new construction and $460 million in renovations and repairs.

But there’s already speculation that the pandemic could shift living trends here in the long run. The relatively quick rebound of the housing market in this city has some realty groups suspecting that the pandemic is encouraging people who have spent top-dollar to rent in urban areas to accelerate their decision to buy a house in the suburbs.