Some folks love sitting in the suburbs outside the hustle and bustle, but for others the allure of being right in the heart of the action is too enticing to pass up. The 14th largest city in America, Columbus constantly ranks as one of the best big cities in America and one of the undisputed premier places in the Midwest.
Beyond the Buckeyes and the farmlands that stretch outside the city, Columbus is a thriving business, real estate and cultural center that retains some semblance of small town vibes despite being an incredible up and coming city.
Year after year, the word gets out just a little more about Columbus, and so the Columbus real estate market is hot, hot, hot! Let’s explore some of the reasons that explain that noticeable uptick Columbus has experienced over the past couple of years.
Top 10 Reasons to Move to Columbus
1. One of the best cities in the Midwest
2. Incredible job market
3. Excellent education
4. Relatively low cost of living
5. Availability of diverse cuisines
6. Crime rate is decreasing year over year
7. Great blend of arts and culture
8. Great selection of entertainment attractions
9. Friendly residents and locals
10. Excellent real estate investment opportunity
Columbus - Where is it?
Looking at a map of Ohio, Columbus is almost smack dab in the middle, but erring on the Southern portion of the state. From the northwest, the Scioto and Olentangy rivers and several other tributaries zig and zag through the metropolitan centers for a touch of natural beauty amidst the budding business centers and industrial architecture.
Columbus is just shy of 225 square miles in size, easily establishing it as the largest city in the state of Ohio and the 14th most populous city in the United States, by the numbers. The 2020 Census estimates approximately 905,748 residents in the city, creeping its way to the 1 million mark.
The History of Columbus
As with all of the Midwest, the land was sparsely inhabited at first belonging only to the Native American tribes situated in the region, including the Adena, Hopewell, and Fort Ancient people. Settlers found evidence of these indigenous people dating as far back as 1000 B.C., and the clay used to build their burial mounds were used in the bricks they laid to build the Ohio Statehouse.
It wouldn’t be until the late 18th century that French traders flocked to the region, meeting the Native tribes and other European settlers to dispute with one another over furs and other resources in the area. These disputes led to the French and Indian War between 1754 and 1763, resulting in the 1763 Treaty of Paris which claimed the region for British rule.
Of course, the American Revolution occurred shortly thereafter and, following America’s liberation from British imperial rule, the land “belonged” to a new government. Unfortunately for the Virginia settlers that headed there next, Native tribes including the Miami, Delaware, Wyandot, Shawnee, and Mingo nations were there occupying what was assumed to be an empty frontier. More conflict ensued, which resulted in the Treaty of Greenville which officially established the land as property of the United States government and occupancy began thereafter.
Ohio was established as a state in 803 and the surrounding regions of Franklin, Dublin, Worthington, and Delaware were all established before the idea for a capital city, a residential center of everything in development, was conceived of.
In 1812, they created this center and named the region after the country’s founding father, Christopher Columbus. With the War of 1812 underway, the area’s economy was booming. The nearby rivers and tributaries made excellent passageways to encourage trade, and so many flocked to the region to chase their own wealth and ambition.
By 1831, the National Road from Baltimore (currently U.S. Route 40) made its way straight to Columbus, and the population would grow to over 3,500 people and officially earn status as a city in 1834. Everything started happening very quickly for this premier Midwest business mecca. 1850 marked the arrival of the railroad and by 1875 there were eight different lines coming and going regularly.
Columbus would serve as a base for the Union Army during the Civil War, and attracted many moguls and corporations thereafter. The automobile industry and pivotal figures like C.D. Firestone began opening headquarters in Columbus. In 1886, the prevalence of big businesses also gave impetus for Columbus-based Samuel Gompers to start his revolutionizing work regarding labor unions right there in Ohio.
Into the 20th century, the growth continued. The industrial revolution and prevalence of businesses in the region made loads of construction possible and, as other cities in America like New York were building their skylines, so was Columbus.
Now in the 21st century, Columbus has poured money into city revitalization efforts and renovations along the downtown area, riverfront regions, and more, spending more than $44 million in recent years.
Today, the city has grown into the gargantuan Midwest marvel that have made it one of the best cities in all of America.
Career Opportunities in Columbus
Columbus is a city through and through, and so professionals from all fields, whether just starting out or well-established already, will find something to do while in the city.
Columbus is home to a number of major corporate headquarters and industries as well. Nationwide, American Electric Power, L Brands, Cardinal Health, Alliance Data, and Huntington Bancshares are some of the Fortune 500 companies that call Columbus their home, and professionals in any of these fields should find employment in these corporations.
Whatever your field, you’re statistically likely to find employment, and lucrative employment at that. The median income per capita in Columbus is $65,000 which, set against a relatively low cost of living for cities that boast similar appeal, goes a long way, doubly so in two-income households. Columbus has a mere 4% unemployment rate, making it one of the best cities for professionals to find work.
Beyond the big corporations that provide thousands of jobs to Ohioans, the following industries are also booming in Columbus:
• Data centers
• Fashion and apparel
• Finance and insurance
• Food and beverage
• Headquarters and business services
• Personal care and beauty
• Retail and eCommerce
No matter what field you work in, you’re sure to find a great opportunity in the city of Columbus.
Crime in Columbus
As a city of nearly 1 million people, Columbus is statistically less safe than surrounding suburbs. In Ohio, you have the odds of 1 in 327 of becoming a victim of a crime, but in Columbus those odds are greater as it is now 1 in 178.
Over the past couple of years, however, we have noticed a downtrend in crime. Whereas in 2015 there were 546.27 crimes per 100,000 residents, it dropped to 494.75 crimes per 100,000 residents in 2018. Today, that number has dwindled to barely 370 per 100,000, marking a significant decrease in the past 7 years.
In a city this size, some crime is to be expected. However, the city overall is becoming more safe as time goes. In addition, some neighborhoods are considered very safe, including Grandview Heights, Bexley, Italian Village, Worthington, Brewery District, and Victorian Village.
Schools in Columbus
If you’re raising a family in Columbus, you’ll be pleased to find out that the schools are simply top notch. At any grade level, you’ll get an excellent education from PK-5, middle school, high school, and even at the college level too.
Some of the best schools in the area include Bexley High School, which ranks as the best school in the city and #184 nationally, as well as Grandview Heights which is ranked #2 in Columbus, #11 in Ohio, and #484 nationally.
There’s a great selection of elementary schools as well, including Hamilton Elementary School, Alpine Elementary School, and Clinton Elementary School. The charter school Columbus Preparatory Academy is esteemed as well, making it an excellent option for children aged K-12.
Higher learning is available as well for both Columbus natives and out-of-towners too. The Ohio State University is #1 in the Columbus area, known for its great campus, incredible value, and legendary football team, the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Additional colleges include Columbus State Community College, Ohio Dominican University, Franklin University, and the Mount Carmel College of Nursing.
Whatever your education level, you’re bound to find a great school in many neighborhoods of Columbus, as well as some great
Outdoor Attractions in Columbus
Thinking there’s no greenery in a bustling city like Columbus? Think again.
Columbus, Ohio not only has plenty of shopping and entertainment, but there’s a great selection of parks as well for picnics, walks, and outdoor sports of all kinds. You might catch one or two during a quick visit or vacation to the city, but only locals stand a chance to visit all of the 370 public parks in the city. The City of Columbus boasts over 200 miles of trails and almost 30,000 acres of parkland.
For one of the best, visit the Scioto Audubon Metro Park right alongside the famous Scioto River. Featuring 120 acres of natural beauty, there’s plenty to explore and discover from this incredible location. The Scioto Greenway offers 10 miles of trail for runners, hikers, and cyclists alike. Visitors of Scioto Audubon may enjoy biking, boating, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, picnicking, and sledding, or checking out any of the park’s nature centers to learn a thing or too about the local flora and fauna.
As if that’s enough at Scioto Audubon, there’s also a rock climbing wall and an obstacle course that includes a quarter-mile running track, tire run, tire flip, 8-foot wall, tunnel crawl, balance beams, monkey bars, cargo climb, belly crawl, and a log over/under obstacle. This one is loads of fun for kids and adults alike. It’s a must-visit for active lifestyle enthusiasts and fitness aficionados!
Looking for something a little bit more casual? Try the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. Its 13 acres include the Conservatory Building and expansive grounds that showcase different botanical biomes, horticulture, incredible gardens and art exhibits like the stunning glass pieces done by artist Dale Chihuly. You’ll also be able to check out the Botanical Gardens’ apiary, rose pavilion, and berry house. It’s a stunning showcase of nature, flora and fauna, that everyone is sure to enjoy!
No matter where you are in the city, there’s always somewhere close by to grab some friends, grab the dog, and get outside to take in the beauty and community that’s everywhere in Columbus.
Arts and Culture in Columbus
As a budding metropolis of nearly 1 million people, there’s arts and culture aplenty in Columbus. Everywhere you turn, there’s something to explore or celebrate in the diverse community that comprises the city.
Conveniently located in the downtown portion of the city, the Columbus Museum of Art showcases American and European modern art including folk art, glass art, and photography exhibits. The museum regularly hosts galas and features that celebrate local artists as well to promote an appreciation of art in the community.
Are you more into performance arts? The Ohio Theatre is also conveniently located in the Downtown District and features plays, productions, films, and concerts. The theater itself is quite stunning as well, built in 1928 to include luxurious fixtures and themed rooms that included authentic art from various regions. In the 1960s, the theater would close and be purchased by a developer to be destroyed and become the site of a tower instead, but the community banded together to protect it and instead became a protected National Historic Landmark in 1977.
Another great thing about the cultural diversity and neighborhoods in Columbus is that there are festivals often to celebrate the culture of the city’s inhabitants, showcasing their traditions, music, and, most importantly, their food! Columbus boasts over 300 annual events each year.
Some local favorites include:
• Columbus Arts Festival
• Columbus Coffee Festival
• Highball Halloween
• Food Truck Festival
• Scrawl 15
• PRIDE Festival
• Jazz & Rib Fest
• Greek Festival
Whatever the season or culture, there’s always something to do in Columbus.
Cuisine in Columbus
With so much diversity and culture present in Columbus, you can find some of the best authentic cuisine from comfort favorites to exotic indulgences.
For instance, if you happen to be in the German Village and Brewery District and you’d like some cuisine to make the experience truly authentic, try visiting Schmidt’s Sausage Haus. Since 1886, this German eatery has served favorites like sauerbraten, wiener schnitzel, and steins of Hefeweizen bigger than your head. While the fare is served in heaping portions, make sure you save room for the German Chocolate Cake!
How about something from the other side of Europe? Barcelona Restaurant and Bar serves tapas and other Spanish cuisine including paella, empanadas, costillas, and savory entrees like bistec, chuleta, and fresh pescado. Pair your meal with any of their many wines and you’ll be instantly transported overseas to Barcelona from right in Columbus, Ohio.
In Columbus, you have plenty of access to high dining options, craft beer, great wine, and all your national favorites like fast food and other recognizable chains. Like many other cities in America, there’s an extensive array of cuisine available to satisfy any craving you may have anytime.
Columbus Ohio Homes For Sale
Renting is common in a city like Columbus, but rent is always a near inordinate amount when investing in property is always the ideal long-term option instead. The average rent in Columbus is $1,164. This figure fluctuates, of course, depending on the neighborhood, square footage, and included amenities. Although it’s relatively low versus rent in cities of similar size, it’s still rent, and thus provides no equity towards ownership.
That’s why it’s worth looking at the homes for sale in Columbus, Ohio and investing in a property that will only become a financial asset in time. Currently, the median home listing price in Columbus is $260,000, which is a 4% increase from last year.
This growth is modest, but should remain stable over time. This makes the Columbus real estate market more reliable and guaranteed to continue trending upwards. If you love the city and rent, you’ll have access to all the great things the city has to offer. However, if you purchase one of the many Columbus homes for sale and build equity in real estate as the market continues to grow, you will have access to a great city and build equity in a great real estate market simultaneously.
Whether you’re looking for your dream home or seeking out a smart investment, Columbus checks all the boxes and you’re sure to find what you need.
All good things come to an end.
For Columbus, the good is far from over and should continue growing and evolving over the next few decades as the local government invests in building up and revitalizing the area and its attractions. This means property values should continue to grow reliably while residents have more and more to appreciate about this large city smack dab in the middle of Ohio.
What will come to an end, however, are the great deals available now. Don’t watch the market climb higher while your cold cash stays cold in your pockets. Invest in an incredible Columbus property and watch it grow while you enjoy one of the best cities in the Midwest!