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Rising rent, home prices are some of the challenges Greater Cincinnati residents face, report finds


Five jurisdictions within Hamilton County completed a "Housing Action Plan" pilot program this year - Addyston, Cheviot, Deer Park, Silverton and Norwood - which showed rising rent and a shortage of affordable units are a problem in the county's housing market. The pilot seeks to create county-wide support for local jurisdictions and encourage support for affordable housing solutions.

The plan's partners include LISC Greater Cincinnati and the Community Building Institute.

Trends seen within the region's housing market include rising rent, rising costs of single-family homes, changing market dynamics within urban places, and the challenges Black homeowners face. The most notable trend is the very tight housing market, which is attributed to a lack of new homes entering the market and few sellers.

Kristen Baker is the Executive Director of LISC Greater Cincinnati. She says properties are sitting on the market for a little longer than they were a few months ago, but it's still tough to buy.

"It is really difficult to purchase a home right now in this community, particularly at certain price points, especially those that are more affordable to our median income here in the region," Baker said.

Data shows that 30% of Hamilton County households are cost-burdened, meaning they're spending 30% of household income on housing costs. Nearly all cost-burdened households make less than $50,000 a year. Renters are also more likely to be cost-burdened than homeowners.

People under the age of 65 are more likely to be cost-burdened. Commissioner Alicia Reece says she herself can't really afford to live in the city of Cincinnati and acknowledged the desires millennials have in the market.

"They want to rent - some of them want to rent," Reece said. "They want to live in these nice places Downtown and other places and have rooftop pools and kind of have that type of lifestyle and they should be allowed to do it."

Rent and home value within the region rose between 20-30% between 2014 and 2019, according to the Chamber's Regional Housing Report. Emily Carnahan is the interim community development administrator. She says this is all happening while wages remain mostly stagnant.

"We have to put a little more effort, I think, into understanding how we can increase wages to keep pace; and also how do we present tools to residents to make sure that they're able to maintain their home, to get into home purchase, to have rent that's affordable, etc.," Carnahan said. "We have to tend to both things at once."

Preliminary recommendations include creating a loan/grant pool for low- to moderate-income homeowners and updating zoning codes. You can watch the meeting and view the slideshow presented at the bottom of this article.

COVID-19 Update

COVID-19 cases seem to be headed in the right direction across Hamilton County.

The county is dealing with 7,500 active cases, a dip from more than 8,000 the previous week.

At least 70% of county residents above the age of 12 have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Out of the total population, more than 57% have received a dose.

This story has been edited to give proper attribution of a quote to Kristen Baker of LISC Greater Cincinnati. An earlier version of this story attributed it to Emily Carnahan. We regret this error.

Cory Sharber attended Murray State University majoring in journalism and political science and comes to Cincinnati Public Radio from NPR Member station WKMS.