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Columbus Affordability Crisis

The Dispatch reports that the combination of new dorm space for sophmores and new high end rentals may squeeze landlords of older properties around the campus.  "This fall, about 3,000 Ohio State University sophomores who in past years would have lived off-campus moved into OSU dorms, in the first year of the university's policy requiring sophomores and freshmen to live in residence halls. 
And on the edges of campus, developers are building pricey new apartment buildings aimed at students who can afford a bit of luxury. When all the new buildings are open, that'll be another 3,000 or so bedrooms. 
Combined, those dorms and apartments could eliminate a sizable chunk of the market for campus-area rental property. But that didn’t dissuade Jon Willette and his 4 Points Development from buying 22 units this year from longtime landlord David Pettit, who wanted to get out of the business."


Downtown Columbus continues to gentrify as library warns tenants of likely sale of Downtown apartments
       The Columbus Dispatch reports "Thom Chiki thought he had found an ideal, affordable place at Grant Oak Apartments. It offers perks nearby: a grocery, a hospital, a park and the Columbus Metropolitan Library out back. In fact, the library is his landlord, at least for now. It notified Chiki and other tenants last month of the possibility that the apartments would be sold or redeveloped, adding that the letter was sent to 'provide advance notice so you may consider your future living options.' '”                    posted June 10, 2016
      Update from Columbus AboveGround "
I'm a resident here. I'm not sure when this will happen. Looks like maybe May of 2017. I've been here for a while. I really don't like that there will be a loss of affordable housing downtown. I mean, I don't know what they will be doing with this space but it's likely that it won't stay the same. The people here have been good to us. It's sad that it's all going to change. You can see it all around us.' - Ariel, Resident - Grant-Oak Apartments."  posted June 12 2016.

Rents and Renters up in downtown Columbus
Downtown Columbus is closing in on 8,000 residents, and is on track to hit 10,000 by 2018. So apartment buildings continue to rise to meet the demand in the heart of the city. Yet even with all this new construction, and rents north of $1,500 a month, the Downtown apartment occupancy rate is 97 percent, according to a mid-year “State of Downtown Columbus” report released today by the Capital Crossroads and Discovery special-improveme
nt districts.
posted July 27, 2016
Gentrifying Franklinton?
It had to happen. The Dispatch reports: "John Loechler is spending $100,000 to fix up a house in Franklinton. He paid just $6,800 for the land bank house in 2014. And he will soon rent it for $1,275 a month to a young couple moving from the Near East Side. That’s a rent figure that might surprise some. After all, Franklinton is a neighborhood still fighting poverty, blight and bad landlords. The city counts 454 vacant buildings in the neighborhood just west of Downtown. But Loechler is banking on Franklinton's future. The Westgate resident said he might even move himself into the Dakota Avenue house one day.  posted May 3, 2016

OSU Sophmores stuck on campus, new housing opportunity?
Columbus Dispatch reports: "Starting in the fall, all Ohio State sophomores — projected at 5,800 to 6,000 students — must live on campus. Traditionally, half of those, or about 3,000, would have moved off campus. ] That translates to 17 to 19 percent of the 16,000 to 18,000 Ohio State students estimated to live off campus in the University District. As a result, hundreds of campus-area homes, duplexes and apartments remain listed for fall rental on the real-estate website Zillow. Signs advertising fall leases line Summit Street, North 4th Street, Chittenden Avenue and other campus-area strips. And with final exams ending Tuesday, landlords are making last-minute pitches to get students to sign fall leases before they leave campus. “Landlords are trying to figure out any way to attract the students that remain and maybe attract other students, such as those at Columbus State, or recent grads who don’t mind staying on campus,” said Jon Schick, who leases about 60 apartments and homes near campus, including six of his own. Because sophomores often live in large groups, landlords say demand is especially soft for big homes."
Maybe this is an opportunity for Housing Choice Voucher tenants to find affordable lodgings in an "opportunity community" right next to OSU and the hospitals. A little reverse gentrification?  
posted April 30, 2016

"Compassionate" displacement is still displacement
The city of Whitehall (inner ring suburb of Columbus) is purchasing a 270 unit apartment complex in order to demolish it...with no plans to use the land for future development. From the article in the Columbus Dispatch: “ The Commons at Royal Landing, more than 70 years old, was once a valuable part of Whitehall's housing stock. The 270-unit complex, which includes 42 buildings on 17 acres, was nearly 95 percent full just six weeks ago, Woodruff said. Monthly rent ranges from $325 to $560. But in recent years, the complex at East Broad Street and South Hamilton Road has mostly become known for its crime."
Two thoughts. One is that advocates need to look closely to see if this is an intentional effort to remove low income minority residents from the mostly white suburb which is reaching a demographic "tipping point." Although academics continue to debate the tipping point theory, if community leaders and residents believe that dropping below a specific percentage of whites can drive rapid racial change, they may decide to fight back by using tax dollars to create vacant lots. 
A second thought is that, once again, social service agencies will be called in to help low income residents find and secure affordable housing in a "hot" rental market. So who helps the agencies?
posted April 27, 2016

Columbus rents are hot

       The Columbus Dispatch reports: "According to a new report from Zillow, Columbus is the nation’s hottest apartment market, just above Seattle, Denver and San Jose, California. 'While Columbus may not be on everyone’s go-to list of hot markets, this college town is clearly undergoing an apartment building boom, and new units are going quickly,' said Svenja Gudell, Zillow’s chief economist. The real-estate service based its rankings on three measurements: the percentage of total apartments built since 2011 in a community; how quickly new apartments rented in the past year; and overall rent appreciation." 
    Despite what the Dispatch reports, maybe the growth in the luxury rental market is not driven by demand. investing in upscale rental could be a way to shelter taxable revenue. 
The Guardian US has a good explainer that makes the connection between the revelations of the Panama Papers and the overgrowth of "luxury" rental housing.
Guardian UK also has some helpful suggestions for dealing with rent, although the article focuses on British tenants
Here's some extreme examples from NYC. posted April 6, 2016 

More evictions coming to Columbus?

WOSU picks up on the NPR series on eviction with a local report.  


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