Columbus is the state capital and largest city of Ohio. With a population of almost 900,000 people, it is the 14th most populous city in the US. The Columbus metropolitan area is home to nearly 2.13 million residents. The city’s fairly large population combined with the fact that 56.2% of the residents (according to NeighborhoodScout) live in rental properties rather than own a home is a good indicator for those considering investing in the Columbus real estate market, especially with regard to long-term rental properties.
Columbus enjoys a diverse economy balanced among the services, trade, government, and manufacturing sectors, which makes for a high employment growth rate. It is home to the Battelle Memorial Institute, the world’s largest private research and development foundation; NetJets, the world’s largest fractional ownership jet aircraft fleet; and Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS), the world’s largest clearinghouse of chemical information. Several higher learning institutions are located in Columbus, including Ohio State University, which is the largest employer in the city. Columbus is the corporate headquarters for many nationwide firms. Large financial institutions such as JP Morgan Chase and Huntington operate more than 400 offices throughout the metropolitan area. With more than 70 insurance companies based in the city, Columbus ranks among the insurance capitals of the US. In total, there are five Fortune 500 companies headquartered in the city. The US government is the city’s third largest employer, employing a total of 13,800 employees. Other industries in Columbus include manufacturing, technology, healthcare, retail, food, energy, logistics, and fashion.
The Columbus real estate market was named the 23rd most important U.S. Market to Watch by PWC in its annual Emerging Trends in Real Estate: United States and Canada 2019 report. The city’s expanding economy, growing population, as well as good quality of life contribute to a stable housing market that has profitable real estate investment opportunities to offer.
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Real estate appreciation has been moderate for Columbus homes for sale. According to NeighborhoodScout, since 2000, Columbus property values have increased by 45.06%, which equates to an average annual appreciation rate of 1.95%. Meanwhile, Zillow reported a 9.2% increase in the median property value in the Columbus real estate market over the past year. This housing market trend is expected to continue, which makes Columbus a hot seller’s market with vast opportunities for long-term return on investment.
Nevertheless, Columbus investment properties remain affordable at the moment. This makes the local housing market one of the best cities to invest in real estate.
The vacation rental industry in Columbus has thrived in recent years. Columbus was the hottest Midwest Airbnb market in 2018, with more than 107,000 guests staying at Airbnb Columbus rentals, bringing in a total of $11.7 million for the local hosts.
The good news for Airbnb Columbus investors is that short-term rentals are fully legal throughout the city. Nevertheless, they are regulated. Among the Airbnb regulations in the city, short-term rental hosts are required to obtain a permit in order to operate. Hosts are required to apply in person at the city’s Department of Public Safety License Section. They must submit a signed and notarized Short-Term Rental Application and pay a fee of $20. In the case a person rents out their primary residence to guests, the permit cost is $75 per calendar year. The permit cost for any non-primary residence is $150 each per calendar year.
As part of the application, Airbnb hosts must also provide the city with proof of identity, general liability insurance, a copy of the lease agreement for the short-term rental, and confirmation of compliance with all state and federal regulations.