This Old House: Ohio homes among the nation’s most affordable

UC professor says data shows Cincinnati is one of the nation’s hottest housing markets

Buying a house in Ohio requires a lower down payment than in almost any other state, This Old House found, but a University of Cincinnati professor said Ohio cities such as Cincinnati could see that affordability wane.

Gary Painter

Gary Painter

This Old House analyzed median home sale price data from Redfin to calculate the down payment needed to purchase a house in each state and the largest American cities.

In Ohio, the median down payment required was $35,250, which was third lowest among all states behind only Iowa and Mississippi.

Among 50 of the largest metro areas in the nation, Cincinnati was 41st in the median down payment required to buy a house. The average down payment in the Queen City was $42,000.

Gary Painter, PhD, the academic director of the Carl H. Lindner College of Business real estate program and a professor of real estate, said cities such as Cincinnati are relatively affordable for people looking to buy a house. However, that could change in the near future.

“Given the relatively robust economy, a young household’s ability to afford a down payment in Cincinnati and other Ohio cities is quite high relative to regions of similar size across the United States,” Painter said. “Unfortunately, this might be changing as Zillow projects Cincinnati and Cleveland and the No. 2 and 3 hottest housing markets in the U.S. Unless new housing supply can keep up with this rising demand, Cincinnati and other Ohio cities will lose its affordability advantage that makes the region attractive to newcomers.”

As part of an expert tips and insights portion of the This Old House article, Painter encouraged people to start saving as early as possible if they want to purchase a house while providing additional advice.

“New home buyers should investigate FHA loans as well as conventional loans,” Painter said. “FHA loans may only require a 3% down-payment. Borrowers should keep in mind that if they have a down payment lower than 20%, they may have to pay mortgage insurance as well.  However, the opportunity to purchase a home sooner might pay off in a market that is experiencing rapid appreciation. Once a homeowner has 20% in their home, then can often refinance and get rid of mortgage insurance.”

See more from This Old House.

Featured image at top: Ariel photo of a residential community. Photo/Aiden Frazier via Unsplash

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A recent opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times examined differing viewpoints and data around affordable housing in the publication’s namesake city. The author tapped Gary Painter, PhD, professor of real estate, and an expert and longtime researcher in social innovation, housing, urban economics and education policy, to offer insight.