OTR Housing Now More Upscale

Jan 26, 2016

A new study of housing inventory in Over-the-Rhine finds the Cincinnati neighborhood has become more economically diverse since 2002, but has lost 73 percent of units available to people in lower income brackets.

The majority of OTR units are apartments. Of the 5,200 units available, 4,000 are occupied and 1,200 are vacant. Thirty-nine percent are subsidized and an overwhelming number (82%) are renter-occupied and located in multi-family units (77%).

The study, prepared by the Community Building Institute at Xavier University, was commissioned by the OTR Community Council (OTRCC). The Council's goal was to "benchmark housing affordability and develop methodology that will inform future neighborhood development."

The study of 2015 inventory found:

  • 6%, or 253 units, are affordable for families making more than $71,000.
  • 26%, or 1,054 units, are affordable for families making $43,000 and up.
  • 46%, or 1,864 units, are affordable for families making $22,000 and up
  • 22%, or 869 units, are affordable for families making less than $22,000 (down from 90% of units in 2000).

According to Liz Blume, director of the Community Building Institute and one of the principal authors of a 2002 OTR report, "Neighborhoods are always changing, and the recent investments in OTR are certainly changing the neighborhood for the better." She says, "The findings of the report show more diversity of housing options but there has been a loss of units available to people who need housing at 0-30 percent of AMI (Area Median Income)."

Blume says the changes are happening at different rates and in different parts of the neighborhood. South of Liberty Street has seen more investment.

According to Ryan Messer, president of the OTRCC, “We have tremendous opportunity to influence what happens next, based on this data. Now we can realistically look at vacancies and future development plans and ask, as a neighborhood, what do we need to insure that OTR housing remains diverse and affordable to people of all income levels.”