Cleveland’s performance during the health crisis did not stand out in one direction or the other. Amid pandemic-induced hardships, the metro proved its resilience and continued attracting residents. Despite its population continuing a downward trend, the metro lost fewer residents than it did before the pandemic. This kept the multifamily market on track, with rents up 0.7 percent on a trailing three-month basis through August, to $1,016. Meanwhile, occupancy increased to 95.9 percent, Cleveland’s highest level during the past decade.
The unemployment rate improved to 5.9 percent in July, not far behind the 5.4 percent national rate. Yet, employment still contracted by 0.4 percent in the 12 months ending in June, while nationally, the rate expanded by 0.3 percent. Cleveland added 37,900 jobs across sectors over 12 months, with just one sector losing jobs—manufacturing, down by 0.5 percent, or 800 jobs. Leisure and hospitality recovered 17,600 jobs, but could see a slowdown as the summer travel season closes. Similarly, the trade, transportation and utilities sector—up 1,700 jobs—could see a pause in its recovery as the number of flights at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport starts declining.
Development activity was high as of August, with 3,884 units underway. However, deliveries softened, with just 315 units added to stock in the first eight months of 2021. Meanwhile, investors traded working-class assets for a total of $118 million.