May 9, 2023 - Real Estate

Columbus is experiencing a luxury apartment boom

Gravity's planned outdoor spa pool, full of residents, in a rendering

What Gravity's outdoor spa pool, set to open this summer as part of the Franklinton development's second phase, could look like. Photo: Courtesy of REALM Collaborative

While affordable housing demand is an ongoing concern, Central Ohio is also luring more renters on the opposite end of the financial spectrum.

Driving the news: The number of Columbus-area renters earning $150,000 or more grew 106% from 2016-2021, Axios' Sami Sparber and Tory Lysik report from Census data.

  • That's higher than the national average of 87.5%.
  • Overall, the number of local renters increased by 7.3%

Why it matters: High-income renters are thinking beyond ordinary gyms and pools for amenities — and it's showing in new luxury developments across the city.

👀 An eye-popping example: New penthouse apartments near COSI cap out at $7,999 a month, our area's most expensive rentals yet, the Dispatch reports.

The intrigue: Experiences are luxury amenities too. Gravity, a Franklinton mixed-use development, offers meditation classes, volunteer opportunities, book fairs and speakers, and will host a summer Mural Fest.

  • Two-bedroom apartments range $1,800-$2,000 monthly.
  • An expansion opening this summer includes a "zen studio" and cold plunge therapy pool, Brett Kaufman, founder of Kaufman Development, tells Axios.

What they're saying: "It's all of those experiential amenities that are what makes us truly unique and connect our residents to our larger community, and people love them," he says.

Data: RentCafe; Chart: Tory Lysik/Axios Visuals
Data: RentCafe; Chart: Tory Lysik/Axios Visuals

State of play: Columbus is one of the country's hottest housing markets, ranking No. 4 on's most recent report, based on online views and listings' time on market.

Meanwhile, rent is increasing too — but when compared to other major U.S. cities, Columbus renters get a bargain at a 2022 average of $1,135 a month.

Zoom in: Higher-income renters offer developers the most bang for their buck, and companies are trying to differentiate themselves with amenities, Andrew Mazak, partner at Columbus-based real estate research firm Vogt Strategic Insights, tells Axios.

  • These renters may include professional athletes, doctors on the move, or employees for new tech projects, he says.

Yes, but: There is still great demand for "workforce housing" in the price range of a typical young professional or civil servant, Mazak says.

  • "There really needs to be a paradigm shift … to incentivize developers to build that missing middle too."

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