Look to Columbus, Ohio, for investment success

Investors who want to diversify their portfolios with single-family real estate should consider investing in Columbus, Ohio, a city with a rapidly growing economy and a sizable appetite for rental homes.

Most people associate Columbus with Ohio State University and the school’s well-regarded football team, but there’s more to Columbus than college athletics. While education makes up a big part of the area’s economy, the range of industries present in Columbus are a defining trait of the country’s 15th-largest city. Here are some of the factors making Columbus a hotspot for investors:

An economy on the rise

Columbus is the capital of Ohio, and the city has certainly been a leader when it comes to economic improvement​ following the Great Recession. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis released data for economic growth by metro area in September 2014. That information revealed Columbus’s GDP grew 3.3 percent during 2013, and that performance was strong enough to outpace not only every other metro in Ohio, but the vast majority of cities in the nation as a whole. Overall, Columbus managed the eighth-biggest GDP gain of any U.S. city, and that performance wasn’t a fluke. The city’s economy has improved by 3 or more percent every year since 2010.

Improvement in the Columbus GDP is driven by gains in several industries. While a variety of businesses call the central Ohio city home, a full 30 percent of the area’s employment comes from education and government jobs, according to the city’s website. The presence of strong higher education institutions in the area make it an extremely appealing location for businesses that need access to an educated workforce and contributes to the demand for rental housing in the region.

A good time to enter the market

Investors who want to get into the Columbus market while prices are relatively low for single-family real estate should move quickly. Inventory of single-family homes dipped more than 30 percent during the past year, according to the Columbus Board of Realtors, and that decline is likely to push prices up going forward. In 2014 alone, single-family home prices rose over 9 percent, and that trend is likely to continue.

According to the Census Bureau, the Columbus population rose substantially in the three years following 2010. In addition, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the unemployment rate is currently at 4.5 percent, a full percentage point below the national average. People come to Columbus and find employment, which is going to keep housing demand high for the foreseeable future. Investors who want to maximize their yield from investing in the Columbus area should act now to purchase a home at the lowest possible price.

The educational and governmental focus of the Columbus economy makes rentals appealing for a large portion of the population. Political workers and young professors are likely to value flexibility regarding their housing situation, and students who live off-campus will provide a consistent flow of potential tenants. By entering the SFR rental market in Columbus, investors can benefit from Columbus’s unique traits.

HomeUnion is an ideal partner for real estate investors who want to enter the SFR market. Registration on the HomeUnion site gives investors access to hundreds of property listings in the best cities across the country for SFR investing, and an in-house lender makes it easy to procure financing. HomeUnion handles property and tenant management, and provides assistance when an investor decides to sell. Real estate investing doesn’t need to be difficult. With HomeUnion, anyone can enter the intimidating world of single-family real estate.

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