Top Housing Markets of 2015

The 2015 housing market was one of the strongest since before the recession, and 2016 looks to do even better. An ongoing problem, especially within the more urban markets, is a historically low inventory of available homes for sale. This has been a problem for several years now, as construction has failed to match demand.

That lack of inventory really shows up in the yearly % change chart. Few urban markets have increased year over year, as they have a much more limited supply of housing, even as demand for urban housing has increased.

Let’s see how this impacted prices.

While urban markets were not necessarily the most expensive compared to suburban, more of them were generally towards the top half of price increases last year.

Columbus Crime Plummets 2010-2014

The FBI recently released full 2014 crime statistics for its Uniform Crime Reporting program, and the results show a big drop in Columbus’ crime since 2010.

Let’s take a look at some of the numbers. First up, violent crimes.

Total violent crimes between 2010 and 2014 fell 16.6%, with any single person’s chances in 100k of being a victim of violent crime falling 21%. This is a pretty significant drop in just 4 years.

Here’s an individual violent crime breakdown:
-Murders were down 15.2%
-Rape was up 28.6%. The definition has changed in this time, which may explain some of that increase.
-Robbery was down 37.7%
-Aggravated Assault was up 14.6%.

So some good and bad. The good news for assault is that it’s well under where it was just 10 years ago, and almost 50% down from its historic peak in the early 1990s. It may have just been a bit worse year in 2014 for this, as all crime totals go through spikes even during a general decline. The bad news is that rape is historically high, but because the definitions have changed for it recently, it’s hard to make a fair comparison to previous years. If the current definition was in place years ago, it’s certainly possible it would now show a decline. Or, as with assault, rape totals could’ve seen a temporary spike above the trend line. Future years will tell the tale.

Now for property crime, something that’s always been somewhat high in Columbus, possibly due to the young population age and large number of college students.

Property crime in the city has dropped 29.8% 2010-2014, even more significant than the decrease in violent crime.

Here’s the breakdown:
-Burglary dropped 40.6%.
-Larceny Theft dropped 24.5%.
-Motor Vehicle Theft dropped 29.3%.

All down in the period.

So what about 2015 and beyond? Well, indications are that crime is up for 2015 vs. last year, though there are differing theories as to why. Crime being up seems to be widespread in cities around the nation, and some of it has been attributed to a newfound national popularity in heroin. Until we see 2015’s number sometime next year, we won’t know exactly the impact. For now, we can celebrate that the city has indeed become safer.

For more on 2014’s numbers, and to check out other cities, go here:

Cool Link of the Day: Before and After Worldwide

Similar to the Before and After posts of how Columbus has been changing, the link below from the site Urb-I, has hundreds of before and after photos of streetscape change in a host of world cities. Columbus itself is not included, but perhaps that can be changed as the site allows anyone to submit images.!before-after/ceh8

Link of the Day: The Columbus Land Bank

The Columbus Land Bank got started back in 1994 to address vacant land and properties, but more specifically, the worst of the worst. Over the years, the number of properties on the list has grown into the hundreds as the city bought the properties to either renovate what could be renovated, or to demolish those that could not be saved and were contributing to the decline of surrounding neighborhoods.

The city provides a few links where these properties can be searched for and purchased. The properties are in various stages of decline and are being sold only to those qualified to renovate the properties or replace them with new development. Many of them are in urban locations, and most of the houses are old, with many retaining elements of their original architecture. In most cases, they need major to moderate rehabs, however. Given the rise of urban living lately and the rapid pace of revitalization happening throughout urban Columbus, these properties maintain some inherent value despite what their overall condition may be.

The first link is an interactive map where you can search for properties. It’s a great resource where you can search by address, street or area. You can also apply to buy properties if you are so inclined.

The second link is a list of for-sale property highlights. This list is updated through the last 90 days.

Take a look!

2013 Residential Projects and the Year Ahead

2013 was a pretty significant year for Columbus, if only because it saw its busiest residential development year in and around the urban core in many years. Here are the highlights of some of the biggest.

1. The South Campus High Rise and Addition Project
# of New Units: 360
Project Cost: $171.6 Million
Project Height: 7-8 Stories in Multiple Buildings
Some might suggest that this isn’t strictly a residential project because it was student housing. However, I disagree with that. The projects added significant additions to already existing Park, Stradley, Steeb and Smith Halls by connecting the pairs together with what essentially amounted to a brand new building stuck in-between. It also involved significant renovations to other residential buildings in South Campus. This was the first part of a major renovation and expansion project for housing on OSU’s campus.

Some links to this project complete with site maps and construction photos:

2. HighPoint at Columbus Commons
# of New Units: 302
Project Cost: $50 Million
Project Height: 6 Stories in 2 Buildings
HighPoint was a rather unexpected surprise for Downtown. When Columbus Commons was being constructed, the plan called for residential buildings running along High Street on the west side of the park. Unfortunately, that plan was not supposed to happen for perhaps a decade or more, depending on development interests. Within a year of the completion of the park, however, HighPoint was being proposed. While not exactly the most inspired design or preferred height for such a prominent location Downtown, the projects potential 450+ residents will greatly help the neighborhood’s goal of increased vitality and 24-hour activity. In fact, it may not be too much to assume that this project has encouraged others, such as the 12-story 250 High Project and LC’s double 8-story tower project, both of which will begin construction soon just across the street from HighPoint and the park. Collectively, they will add, at minimum, over 650 new residents.

Links for the project:

3. Liberty Place, Phase II
Address: 250 Liberty Street
# of New Units: 207
Project Cost: $25-$30 Million
Project Height: 4 Stories
Liberty Place, in the Brewery District, was completed in 2006, the last of a slew of development projects in the Brewery District beginning in the 1990s and came in the middle of a relative quiet period that began when the Arena District stole some of the neighborhoods momentum. That momentum has returned in recent years as urban living has gained significant traction in public opinion. Phase II of Liberty Place was supposed to have been built years ago, but the recession and the uncertainty regarding the exact layout of the rebuilt I-70/I-71 split which runs past the site put the project on hold. All told, Liberty Place now has 342 units.

Links for the project:

4. Tribeca
Address: 700 West Third Avenue
# of New Units: 205
Project Cost: Unknown
Project Height: 4 Stories
Tribeca, from Edwards Communities, was built along Third Avenue in the 5thxNW neighborhood. While adding significant density to the area, the project is mostly known for its strange layout. Dubbed the “Fortress” or the “prison”, the project has a long, blank wall along Third Avenue with tower-like structures along it, resembling the fortifications of a prison. The ugly design and lack of interaction with Third because of this layout caused the project to receive a lot of criticism.

A link to the project, the criticism and photos:

5. Lennox Flats
Address: Kinnear Road, Lennox Town Center
# of New Units: 194
Project Cost: Unknown
Project Height: 3 Stories
Lennox Flats was built over two phases, the first with 92 units and the second with 102. Built in a mostly vacant lot just to the west of Lennox Town Center (across the railroad tracks), these were built in modern-styles and were targeted at students from OSU.

Link with photos:

6. 600 Goodale
Address: 600 West Goodale Street
# of New Units: 174
Project Cost: Unknown
Project Height: 5 Stories
600 Goodale is likely the most strangely located new project of 2013. It was built on a small strip of land located north of Goodale Street across from White Castle’s HQ building. The location is strange because the land is bordered by the Olentangy River on the west and a highway exit ramp to the north and east sides. In fact, the site sits on a section of land between 315, 670 and major ramps for both to the north. The land is not directly connected to any major neighborhood. Despite the strange location, the modern building was, at last count, 96% leased.

Photos of the project:

So those were the top 6 largest projects from 2013. More than 2,200 total units were completed in the urban areas of Columbus.

But what’s coming for 2014? Here are the top 5.

1. Jeffrey Park Phase 1
Address: E. 1st Avenue and N. 4th Street, Italian Village
# of New Units: 334
Project Cost: $180 Million+ For all phases.
Project Height: 4 Stories
The Jeffrey Manufacturing site has long been planned for redevelopment. It is, by far, the largest undeveloped site in Italian Village or anywhere in the Short North. Previous plans from the early-mid 2000s fell through, but were revived by a new developer in recent years. The first phase calls for the completion of a mix of townhomes and apartments in a mix of styles. A community center is also planned with a gym and pool. Although this project was supposed to start in the fall of 2013, calls are now for it to begin before winter is over. This may delay the finish for this project into 2015, but for now, it’s still the biggest project for 2014. The entire Jeffrey site will eventually have more than 1,300 new units.

Photos and project information:

2. Taylor House
Address: 5005 Olentangy River Road
# of New Units: 329
Project Cost: Unknown
Project Height: 4 Stories
This project along Bethel Road will go into the site of a former K-Mart. Construction began over the fall and should wrap up toward the end of the year.

Renderings and more information:

3. View on 5th
Address: 965 West 5th Avenue
# of New Units: 285
Project Cost: $50 Million
Project Height: 6 Stories
The View on 5th, in 5thxNW, is a 2-building complex along 5th and Holly Avenues. The 6-story building along 5th will contain 153 apartments with ground-floor retail, while the Holly Avenue building would be 3-stories and contain 132 units. The project is scheduled for completion this coming summer.

Link with info and renderings:

4. Berkeley House
Address: Bethel Road and Riverside Drive
# of New Units: 256
Project Cost: Unknown
Project Height: 4-5 Stories
Berkeley House is being built by the same company as Taylor House, only on opposite ends of Bethel Road. This will be a mixed-use complex featuring apartments and offices. There was some controversy surrounding this project as it sought to demolish a small stone house from around 1808. Unfortunately, no one seemed to realize the historical significance or age of the structure until the project was set to begin construction. The lack of time made it impossible to raise the money to move the house, so it was demolished. The Upper Arlington Historical Society saved the stone from the house and plans to build some type of marker with it.

Unfortunately, I have not seen any renderings for this project yet, but it has begun construction.

5. Neighborhood Launch
Address: East Long Street, Downtown
# of New Units: 130
Project Cost: Unknown
Project Height: 5 Stories
Neighborhood Launch is an ongoing project Downtown. About 200 units have already been completed along and near the Gay Street Corridor. The project is continuing with the first of 2 buildings, each containing 130 units, along Long Street. The first of these 2 should be complete later this year, with the 2nd beginning construction over the summer.

Renderings can be found here:

So there you have it. 2013’s and 2014’s largest projects. These, of course, represent just a small sample of what’s being built.