Columbus, Ohio Is So Much More Than a College Football Town
Named the hottest real estate market in the country just two years ago, the city is thriving thanks to its diverse community and business landscape.
Ohio State University’s powerhouse football team keeps Columbus, Ohio in the national spotlight. Still, outsiders who know this city only as the home to the Buckeyes or as the capital of Ohio may be pleasantly surprised to discover just how much Columbus has to offer. The fourteenth largest city in the United States has nearly 900,000 residents, and more than 2 million people live in the Columbus metropolitan area. For the past 20 years, the metropolitan region’s population has steadily grown by 1.4% annually.1
The city was named the “hottest real estate market” in the country by Realtor.com in 2019.2 Part of the reason people move to the city may be that the cost of living in Columbus still remains below the national average and below the costs found in comparable cities like Austin, Salt Lake, or St. Louis.3
A strong job market
Ohio State and the state government are the two biggest employers in the Columbus metropolitan region. More than 29,000 people serve the 61,000 students on the university’s Columbus campus, and 22,000 people in the area work for the state of Ohio.4 There are also many research and medical facilities affiliated with the university. Beyond that, the city’s employment landscape is still quite diverse, as it is home to companies operating in the health care, insurance, retail, food and nutrition, information technology, and finance sectors. Other large employers in the region with well-known brands are JPMorgan Chase, L Brands (the firm behind Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works), and Honda of America. With such a wide range of employment opportunities, the city’s unemployment rate has been below the national average.5
Defying any outdated stereotypes of a Midwestern city
Visitors will quickly find reasons to dispense with any preconceived notions that this midwestern city lacks the sophistication of its coastal counterparts, like New York and Los Angeles. The locals know that Columbus is:
A major fashion hub: Fashion Week Columbus offers a full week of fashion shows and fashion-related programs to showcase emerging fashion designers in the region. Fashion Times magazine acknowledged that Columbus has emerged as a “major fashion hub,” and Columbus Monthly magazine noted that Columbus ranks third in the country for its number of resident fashion designers, trailing only New York and Los Angeles.6
An Intelligent Community: In 2015, Columbus was selected as the Intelligent Community of the Year by the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF). The ICF awards this designation to one city per year in recognition of that community’s use of broadband and information technology to attract investments, improve delivery of government services and raise the quality of life for its citizens.7
A destination for food lovers. A decade ago, The Washington Post profiled Columbus as “a new destination for food lovers,” with its “serious cocktails and microbrews, pastries worthy of Paris, fantastical ice cream flavors – think peanut with toasted coconut and chili – and extraordinary food shopping.”8 Anyone interested in getting a sampling of the wide range of culinary delights the city has to offer can visit the downtown branch of North Market, where an eclectic mix of 30 independently owned restaurants and food shops serve everything from locally grown produce and meat to international delicacies such as imported wine, cheese and spices.
A home for pro sports teams, too. Attending an Ohio State football game is an experience not to be missed, but fans of pro sports will find plenty to do in Columbus, as well. The Columbus Blue Jackets of the National Hockey League have the Nationwide Arena as their home ice. The city also has an important place in the history of U.S. soccer, as it built the first soccer-specific stadium for Major League Soccer. That stadium, which opened in 1999, now serves as the training facility for the Columbus Crew, and the team currently plays in a brand-new soccer-specific stadium, Lower.com Field. Baseball fans can also head to Huntington Park to watch the Columbus Clippers, the Triple-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians.
A great place for live entertainment and family fun. Music lovers don’t have to travel far to see major headline acts. The band Genesis, James Taylor and Jackson Browne are among the artists that perform at the city’s 18,500-seat Nationwide Arena. The Newport Music Hall and the Schottenstein Center are performance halls that draw both emerging bands and global superstars. Shadowbox Live offers a mix of sketch comedy and music, with cast members also selling tickets and serving drinks to make the show a completely immersive experience for audiences. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has 10,000 animals and attracts more than 2 million visitors per year.9
A welcoming place for everyone. The fact that more than 109 languages are spoken in the region demonstrates how inclusive the community is and that people from diverse backgrounds feel welcome in Columbus.10
Perfect for active lifestyles. The city has invested $20 million to develop a growing system of bike and fitness trails that connect the suburbs and river trails to the downtown riverfront park system, which has been undergoing a $44-million restoration.11
A good city for real estate investment
The recent recognition by Realtor.com as the hottest market in the country certainly speaks to the opportunities for real estate investors in Columbus. Another key benefit is that Ohio is considered to be more landlord-friendly than neighboring Midwestern states. Under the state’s rules, the interest owed on rental deposits is modest, and there are no requirements for payment grace periods. Rental agreements are recommended but not required for short-term leases. There is also no set limit on late fees beyond their having to be “reasonable.”12
The Buckeyes’ national recognition may have put Columbus on the country’s mental map, but the thriving economy and the relatively low cost of living are just some of the many reasons why more people are choosing to relocate to Ohio’s capital city.
1. Source: “Columbus Metro Area Population 1950-2021,” MacroTrends.net
2. Source: “Columbus Ranked #1 Real Estate Market in US,” ColumbusUnderground.com, 4/10/19
3. Source: “The Top 10 Reasons Why People Are Moving to Columbus,” unpakt.com
5. Source: “Columbus, OH, Job Market | U.S. News Best Places,” usnews.com
6. Source: Fashion Week Columbus, fashionweekcolumbus.org
7. Source: “Columbus Named 2015 Intelligent Community of the Year,” The City of Columbus, Department of Technology
8. Source: “The Impulsive Traveler: Columbus, Ohio, a new destination for food lovers,” The Washington Post, 1/28/11
9. Source: Columbuszoo.org
10. Source: “5 Reasons Why We Love Columbus,” Ohio State University undergraduate website
11. Source: The “Quality of Life” section on the city of Columbus website
12. Source: “Columbus Housing Market: Prices | Trends | Forecast 2021-2022,” (noradarealestate.com), 9/12/21
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