Columbus, OH Economic Overview
With a population of just over 2 million people, Columbus is the 14th-largest city in the U.S., the 3rd-largest capital city in the country, and the 2nd-largest city in the mid-west after Chicago. The thriving Columbus commercial real estate market is driven in part by its centralized location - nearly half of the population of the U.S., and over 40% of the U.S. manufacturing sector are all within a 10-hour drive of Columbus. Moreover, the region continues to draw new businesses and residents, and encourage business expansions year after year.
Columbus has a broad-based economy, across all business segments–government, education, banking, insurance, defense, health care, hospitality, logistics, steel, energy, technology, medical research and hospitality. As the capital of Ohio, government, professional business services and hospitality, leisure and retail are the largest economic drivers in Columbus, employing over 75% of the total labor force. In 2016, J.D. Power ranked Columbus as the #1 Midwest destination, in terms of visitor satisfaction. Columbus's GDP has consistently increased each year, from just under $70 billion in 2009 to over $95 billion in 2017.
Columbus, OH Commercial Real Estate Market
Columbus was given an 'A' rating by Forbes as one of the top places to do business in the U.S. and was included as one of Businessweek's 50 Best Cities in America. Columbus's diversified economy is the result of decades of cooperative work between business leaders, politicians and long-time corporate residents. As a result, the city is able to attract both institutional and foreign investors. Surprisingly, the CAP rates in Columbus commercial real estate trend a bit higher than in comparable markets, while at the same time offering a lower level of risk, giving investors even more 'bang for their buck'.
The 63 million square feet of office space in Columbus offers tenants rental rates at half as much as they would pay in Chicago and 75% less than what they would pay in New York City. Over the last several years, the business-friendly city has generated over 40,000 new jobs with $6 billion in new capital investment.
The retail market in Columbus has more than 58 million square feet to serve the city's diverse, well-educated residents. The walkable areas that surround the central business district, such as Upper Arlington and Grandview, are booming with hip retail stores, restaurants and entertainment spots.
With over 250 million square feet of industrial space in Columbus, leasing activity continues to be strong thanks to steadily increasing business investment interest from all parts of the world. Its centralized location and integrated transportation infrastructure of highways, rail and air cargo all connect at the Rickenbacker Inland Port, making Columbus's foreign trade zone the 10th most active in the U.S.
Columbus, OH Office Sales Volume
Data provided by Yardi Matrix, for properties larger than 50K SF, which sold at over $5M.
Columbus, OH Office Transactions
Data provided by Yardi Matrix, for properties larger than 50K SF, which sold at over $5M.
Columbus, OH Commercial Inventory Breakdown
Total: 44,418,751 SF
By square footage range:
- 50k to 100k SF: 9,578,261 SF / 21.56% of total office
- 100k to 500k SF: 23,328,373 SF / 52.52% of total office
- 500k to 1M SF: 5,792,443 SF / 13.04% of total office
- > 1M SF: 5,719,674 SF / 12.88% of total office
- Class A: 19,906,891 SF / 44.82% of total office
- Class B: 18,357,792 SF / 41.33% of total office
- Class C: 341,039 SF / 0.77% of total office
Employment in Columbus, OH
Because the business and political leaders of Columbus intentionally began to diversify the economy decades ago, no single industry segment accounts for more than 18% of the city's total employment. Columbus has earned numerous quality of life awards including Forbes Best City for Working Moms, 3rd spot on fDi magazine's list of Cities of the Future, Forbes Best Places for Business and Careers, a top-10 city by Relocate America, and Forbes #1 Up-and-Coming Tech City. No wonder that, over the past 10 years, the population of Columbus has grown by more than 50%.
According to the most recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Columbus MSA 's top six employment sectors are:
- Government, office & administrative support with 1 million employees;
- Sales related occupations with 93,000 employees;
- Transportation with 81,000 employees;
- Financial services with 67,000 employees;
- Healthcare with 64,000 employees;
- Education with 60,000 employees.
Five Fortune 500 companies have their headquarters in Columbus, including Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, American Electric Power and Cardinal Health. Because of its centralized location and transportation access to the rest of the U.S., a multitude of food service companies are based in Columbus, including Wendy's, Bob Evans and White Castle. Because the city's economy is so strongly diversified, the demand of office, retail and industrial space in Columbus consistently grows each year.
Education in Columbus, OH
Although it is home to the Ohio State Buckeyes, winners of 8 national NCAA championships, Ohio State University produces more than just championship-winning sports teams. OSU has been rated the 19th best public university in the country by U.S. News & World Report, and has numerous Top 5- or higher-ranked graduate programs including #5 for best veterinary program, #5 for best pharmacy program, #2 for social psychology and #2 for vocational education.
Columbus State Community College is the second public college in Columbus after OSU. There are also many private universities including DeVry University, Ohio Business College, Capital University Law School, and faith-based schools including Ohio Dominican University, Trinity Lutheran Seminary and Ohio Wesleyan University.
With 55,000 students, the Columbus City Schools system is the largest school district in Ohio. The CCS is responsible for the 142 primary and secondary schools, along with several magnet schools. The suburbs of Columbus, which are part of the Columbus MSA, operate their own public school districts. There are also numerous parochial and secular private schools throughout the MSA.
Commuting Time in Columbus, OH
With all the booming business activity in Columbus, one would think that traffic congestion would be a given. In fact, it's just the opposite. So much so, that just last year Columbus was ranked the 2nd-best city for commuters, with residents getting an extra 56 hours per year of additional free time not spent sitting in traffic. However, the city officials are not complacent about the need for mass transit, given that the Columbus MSA is expected to add 500,000 people and 300,000 new jobs over the next couple of decades.
- Total Population852,144
- Male Population(48.7 %) 415,208
- Female Population(51.3 %) 436,936
- Median Age32.20
- Average Household Income$63,554
- Median Household Income$49,478
- Median Income Under 25$25,863
- Median Income 25-44$54,648
- Median Income 45-64$54,141
- Median Income Over 65$38,907
Residential Rents in Columbus, OH
When choosing the best place for a business, location research is very important – not only for the office, but also for the employees’ convenience.
The residential rental market in Columbus is driven by its mix of diverse, walkable neighborhoods, many adjacent to the downtown central business district. The German Village is host to some of the trendiest dining spots, Franklinton offers a cutting-edge industrial chic and the Short North Arts District is home to boutique shopping, dining and entertainment venues.
Compared to other major metro areas residential rents in Columbus are extremely affordable, with 1-bed room apartments averaging $840 per month and 2-bedroom units going for just under $1050 per month.
Columbus, OH Average Rental Price, August 2019
- $ 885/mo
- Studio: $ 642
- 1 Bedroom: $ 808
- 2 Bedrooms: $ 908
Columbus, OH Rent Trends
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