Columbus Ohio Multifamily Market Analysis Q1 2024

Investment activity in the Columbus multifamily market has plummeted to historic lows. Sales volume in the final quarter of 2023 represented a mere fraction of pre-pandemic averages, with smaller individual investors replacing institutional players as the primary buyers. A shift towards smaller, lower-tier properties is evident, while a few notable transactions highlight the impact of rising interest rates on pricing, particularly for older assets.

Market Conditions

  • Demand significantly lags behind new unit supply as of early 2024. Net absorption in 2023 was 4,400 units, a return to pre-pandemic levels.
  • 2023 saw record-breaking deliveries with over 8,000 units added – double the pre-pandemic average.
  • Vacancy is rising faster in Columbus than the national average. It increased by 150 basis points year-over-year (vs. a 120 basis point increase nationally). The sharpest vacancy rise was in the 3 Star sector (up 270 basis points).
  • While vacancies rise, rent growth is returning to pre-pandemic levels. Columbus remains among the top markets in the US for growth, likely due to a modest pandemic-era construction pipeline.
  • Sales volume was weak throughout 2023. Activity in 2023 Q4 totaled just over $40 million, the lowest fourth-quarter total since the global financial crisis.

Development Trends

  • Downtown Columbus and Upper Arlington remain development hotspots. Southern Columbus saw 20% of new deliveries in the past year, driven by job growth in the logistics sector.
  • Elevated interest rates are slowing construction activity. Starts in 2023 Q4 hit a decade low, predicting fewer deliveries by 2025.

Investment Trends

  • Sales activity is extremely weak. 2023 Q4 sales totaled just $40 million, the lowest since the financial crisis and a mere 20% of pre-pandemic fourth-quarter averages.
  • Institutional investors accounted for a few deals in 2023.
  • Buyer profile now favors individual investors over developers and private REITs.
  • Focus is on smaller, 2 and 3 Star assets.
  • Limited High-Value Deals: Only a few deals surpassed $20 million in 2023, mainly in Columbus’ northern suburbs.


  • Columbus’s demand outlook remains positive due to population growth, steady job growth, and demand from Ohio State University.
  • Vacancy is likely to tighten by 2025 as the pace of deliveries slows.
  • Sales volume and prices will likely remain subdued due to rising vacancy and interest rates.
  • Recent deliveries still command higher prices, which may change as market conditions shift.
  • The investor landscape in Columbus is changing, with smaller individual investors becoming more prominent.

Source: Costar Group