Cincinnati, one of the friendliest cities for first-time homebuyers, plans on getting friendlier

Cincinnati, one of the friendliest cities for first-time homebuyers, plans on getting friendlier

2022-07-12T07:10:19-04:00June 14th, 2022|Cincinnati, Economy, Real Estate & Construction|

Writer: Joshua Andino

2 min read June 2022Despite being named one of America’s friendliest cities for first-time homebuyers, increased demand, low inventory and ongoing community discussions are prompting local leaders to take further action. 

A recent study conducted by consumer financial services company Bankrate assessed the best metro areas for first-time buyers in 2022 along five categories: housing prices in relation to local wages, available housing inventory, crime, employment, and health. Cincinnati took the No. 3 spot on the list, behind only Pittsburgh, which took first place, and Minneapolis. 

While the city refuses to rest on its laurels, increased demand and a lack of inventory, issues facing cities across the country, continue to pose a challenge for homebuyers and renters of all stripes. Cincinnati itself is at an inflection point, with city leaders and residents engaged in a longstanding debate over the future of the city’s housing after a contentious ordinance that sought to increase density in mixed-use areas was rejected in March.

Mayor Aftab Pureval believes the city’s widespread single-family zoning is one area that can be improved. Approximately 77% of the city is zoned for residential single-family housing, and about 53% of the city’s residential zoning does not permit multi-family development, according to WXVU.

Speaking at a Housing Solutions Summit in Price Hill on Saturday, Pureval said, “We have — as a council, as the mayor’s office, the administration — identified areas that we believe are holding us back in order to create the kinds of dense diverse neighborhoods that are walkable with good public transportation that’s going to make us a destination in the country,” reports WXVU

Major land reforms being considered span the gamut of removing or reducing parking minimums to spur more dense development, allowing increasingly popular Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), known colloquially as granny flats, and providing tax incentives that promote more affordable housing. While these considerations will guide much of the policy considerations underway, Pureval said that community feedback was the priority. 

“The administration will then draft ordinances in those subject areas, pulling from the specific ideas from this summit, and people will be able to see their ideas in those ordinances,” said Pureval. “And then we’ll go through another round of community engagement to further craft them.”

While these challenges are not unique to Cincinnati, this is not the first time the city and overall metro area has received accolades for the opportunity it provides homebuyers. LendingTree released a similar study at the onset of 2019 where Cincinnati ranked No. 4 of 50 metropolitan areas for first-time home buyers, and a more recent study on rental rates by real estate company Clever demonstrates that despite rising rents both locally and nationally, the city remains a favorable spot for renters and is one of four U.S. metro areas where the rent-to-income ratio remains below the national average

With Cincinnati proactively looking to address the issues facing the city in terms of housing availability for buyers and renters alike, the favorable environment it has managed to cultivate despite national headwinds has seen it buck statewide trends. While Ohio has seen its overall population decline, the greater Cincinnati region continues to grow at a steady pace.