Multifamily rents in Columbus have moderated in recent quarters, after several years of above-trend growth and solid absorption. Rents were up 2.7 percent year-over-year through September, 50 basis points below the national average and down from a 3 percent-4 percent growth range during 2016-18. The deceleration was caused by weakening job growth while the metro digested a large amount of new supply. However, with Columbus’ population increasing twice as fast as the national average, demand should remain healthy and spur further growth in the near future.
Despite a slowdown, job growth remains healthy. Franklin County added 10,900 jobs in the 12 months ending in July, led by education and health services. Ohio State University’s $1 billion investment in a new hospital and ambulatory center is among the largest in the state. Although many of the projects under construction are in the city’s urban core, Columbus’ Rickenbacker International Airport is also on track for $15 million in runway repairs.
With 1,784 units delivered through the first three quarters and another 8,600 units underway, multifamily completions will most likely have another strong year. With occupancy in line with national levels—at 95.1 percent as of August—we expect rents to continue growing, albeit at a slower pace.