Axios Columbus

Picture of the Columbus skyline.

Hello, Saturday!

👋 Axios real estate reporters here with a special newsletter edition about the big trends that shaped Columbus' housing market this year.

Today's newsletter is 580 words — a 2-minute read.

1 big thing: Brutal year for buyers

Data: Redfin; Chart: Alice Feng and Tory Lysik/Axios Visuals
Data: Redfin; Chart: Alice Feng and Tory Lysik/Axios Visuals

Becoming a homeowner in 2023 was "more challenging than ever," according to Columbus Realtors president Patti Brown-Wright.

Why it matters: A year that saw record-low housing affordability is drawing to an end.

Zoom in: Columbus is still a sought-after market, Brown-Wright says, pointing to some of the high-profile projects slated for the area including Intel's Ohio One mega chip factory.

  • Gahanna was recently named the Hottest Zip Code of 2023 by
  • Pickerington was dubbed one of the nation's top suburbs for first-time home buyers.

The big picture: U.S. home sales have cratered as many owners clamp down on their lower mortgage rates.

  • "If there's nothing out there for me to buy, why would I sell? We are all kind of stuck in that paradigm right now," chief economist Matthew Gardner at Windermere Real Estate said at a November conference.

Between the lines: The number of Central Ohio listings available to buy dropped from around 10,000 to roughly 6,900 between October 2019 and October 2023, per the latest Redfin data.

What we're watching: Mortgage rates would need to slide significantly to loosen homeowners' golden handcuffs and boost listing activity, real estate experts say.

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2. Our steepest home sale

house covered in lush greenery

Photo: Courtesy of Dale Clark/Arc Photography

This Georgian estate on a hill sold for $5 million in May, the most expensive Central Ohio sale of the year, according to Columbus Realtors data as of late November.

Zoom in: The five-bedroom, eight-bathroom home just west of Bexley sits on 3.6 lush acres overlooking Wolfe Park.

Highlights: A new kitchen and spa bathroom with eye-catching tile, a pool and five wood-burning fireplaces.

double doors opening to rows to green landscaped trees
Photo: Courtesy of Dale Clark/Arc Photography

See more photos.

3. 🏃‍♀️ Catch me up

Illustration of a house with cursor arrows lodged in and around it.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

We rounded up some of our top stories this year on Columbus' housing market.

📦 Clevelanders want to move here. Over half of page views for Columbus-area home listings this year came from Cleveland, per first-quarter data Zillow shared with Axios.

🙅‍♀️ Ohio homeowners won't let go of their lower mortgage rates, keeping houses off the market.

🔥 About that tight market: While more than half of Columbus' millennials are already homeowners, those who haven't bought yet face higher borrowing costs and home prices.

💰 The annual income needed to buy a typical Columbus-area home has surged to just over $90,000, according to Redfin.

🏗 Columbus' luxury apartment boom includes eye-popping amenities aimed at a growing cohort of high-rolling renters.

Go deeper: One development is bringing co-living to the area.

4. 💬 Quote du jour: A mogul's approach

A photo showing Mauricio Umansky sitting in what looks like a homey studio set wearing an open blazer and buttoned down shirt with the top two buttons undone. He's slightly smiling. He has a stubble beard and salt and pepper hair.

Mauricio Umansky. Photo: Nathan Congleton/NBC via Getty Images

"Nobody wants their mom to sell their real estate anymore, or their best friend. I mean, I just got a listing the other day on a $24 million house, and they said to me, 'Well, I gave it to my wife's best friend, because I thought the house was going to sell itself.' That day's gone … Now people want to deal with professionals."
— Real estate mogul Mauricio Umansky at the November gathering of agents from his luxury brokerage, which has an office in Cleveland.

Between the lines: You might recognize The Agency's founder and CEO from "Dancing With The Stars," "Buying Beverly Hills" or "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills."

5. ☎️ Calling mortgage-free homeowners

Illustration of a house stuffed to the brim with money, with some bills sticking out from the roof.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

We want to talk to homeowners who are mortgage-free, a growing cohort nationally.

  • Whether you paid your mortgage off early or are taking your time, we want to hear why.
  • If you own your home outright, what are you doing with that financial freedom?

📬 Reply to this email. We might feature your insights in an upcoming newsletter.

Our year in housing:

📦 Sami moved into her first studio apartment.

🍽 Bri's china collection grew considerably, thanks to generous wedding guests.

Thanks to our editor Ashley May and copy editor Bill Kole.