FY 2021 Housing Needs Assessment Sections:

Executive Summary Table of Contents Homeownership Rental Housing Home Energy & Transportation Housing Insecurity Housing Stock Income & Labor Demographics How Ohio Compares COVID-19 Past Assessments
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Fiscal Year 2021
Ohio Housing Needs Assessment
Executive Summary

As part of OHFA's Annual Plan, the Housing Needs Assessment uses a wide range of state data to identify the scale and scope of Ohio's housing challenges. The HNA evaluates Ohio's current housing landscape to gauge needs, identify gaps and highlight key trends. Identifying the key housing challenges throughout the state provides baseline information that helps establish the basis upon which the agency builds its priorities for action.

The following executive summary highlights the key trends occurring within Ohio related to affordable and accessible housing. The full Housing Needs Assessment is available online.


Housing cost burden: spending at least 30% of income on housing-related costs.
Severe cost burden: spending at least 50% of income on housing-related costs.
AMI: Area Median Income

Homeownership rates and home values continue to increase. This is beneficial for existing homeowners; however, it may also act as a barrier for many prospective buyers who wish to enter the market.

In 2019, the homeownership rate in Ohio was 68.2%, slightly higher than the U.S. average of 64.6%. While not yet fully rebounded from pre-crisis levels of over 70%, homeownership rates have been trending upward since 2015.

Homeownership Rate in Ohio

Homeownership rates are consistently high across the state, though they are highest in Southeast Ohio (71.0%) and lowest in Central Ohio (61.8%). Rates of homeownership are highest in rural areas (74%) and lowest in urban areas (46%). This is likely due to the higher mix of multifamily rental properties in urban areas compared to rural regions.

Rural Homeownership Rate Urban Homeownership Rate

Both real and nominal home values have been steadily increasing since a low from 2010-2013. This is a positive rebound for those who already own their home. However, rising home prices are a symptom of a tight housing market.

As home prices rise, homeownership drifts further out of reach for lower- and moderate-income Ohioans.

If home prices continue to rise and vacancy rates fall, Ohio may face a severe shortage of affordable options for homeownership in coming years.

The median home price in Ohio in 2019 ($132,317) was 2.4 times the median household income - the largest price-to-income ratio since 2006 -making homeownership unaffordable to many prospective homebuyers.

Housing cost burden is declining for homeowners regardless of mortgage status.

As homeownership rates rise, the share of income that Ohio's homeowners are spending on their housing, regardless of mortgage status, has steadily decreased. For homeowners with a mortgage, median monthly costs have fallen by 15%, from $1,469 in 2006 to $1,248 in 2018.

Median Monthly Mortgage Costs

Given this, the share of households that are severely cost burdened has declined from 11.7% for mortgage holders in 2010 to 8.4% in 2019. Of those without a mortgage, only 6.2% are severely housing cost burdened.

Ohio's declining rate of severe housing cost burden for mortgage holders is lower than neighboring states, Pennsylvania (10.2%), Michigan (8.9%), West Virginia (9.0%) and Kentucky (9.4%).

States Percentage of Severe Housing Cost Burden

Severe homeowner cost burden is concentrated among specific populations and geographies.

While overall homeowner cost burden is declining, this is not true for specific subsets of Ohio's homeowners. Of Ohio's lowest income homeowners (those earning 30% AMI or less), 67% are severely cost burdened, compared with only 2% of those earning 81%-100% AMI and less than 1% of those earning more than 100% AMI.

Severe Homeowner Cost Burden

Severe homeowner cost burden is more concentrated in Southeast (9.85%) and Northeast Ohio (8.85%). There is also more severe cost burden for mortgage holders in urban areas (12.7%) compared to suburban (8.1%) and rural areas (8.2%).

Ohio continues to experience a large and growing racial gap in homeownership and housing cost burden, putting Black Ohioans at risk.

The racial gap in homeownership between Black and white Ohioans has been increasing steadily for over a decade, hitting 37 percentage points in 2018 - nine points larger than the national gap.

Both Black and white potential homebuyers in Ohio are less likely to be denied on a mortgage loan application than they were a decade ago; however, the racial denial rate gap remains large–Black Ohioans are still far more likely to be denied (38% compared to 22% of white Ohioans).

Denied Home Loan Rates

Black homeowners are twice as likely to be severely cost burdened as white homeowners (14% compared to 7%), meaning they spend at least half their income on housing. The racial gap in severe housing cost burden is higher in Ohio (6.7 percentage points) than the nation overall (6.5). The racial gap in severe housing cost burden is largest in urban areas (7.9) compared to suburban (4.6) and rural (5.5) areas.

Cost Burden

The housing market in Ohio is tight and the rate of new construction is low.

Homeownership Out of Reach?

Since 2010, Ohio's housing stock has grown by 2.1%. Much of this growth happened in suburban areas, while Ohio's urban cores have seen housing stock decline (–1.4%). The largest growth in housing has been in central Ohio, where growth of 6.6% over the last 10 years has outpaced the state.

In part due to the slow rate of construction, homeowner vacancy rates have been steadily declining over time. The homeowner vacancy rate hit 1.2% in Ohio in 2019, lower than the U.S. rate of 1.4% and a substantial decline from 3.3% in 2010.

Of those houses that are vacant, a declining portion is available; more than half of Ohio's vacant stock is not for sale or rent. Central Ohio (31.2%) has the highest proportion of vacant housing available for sale or rent, the smallest proportion is in Southeast Ohio (20.1%).

The low rate of construction, low vacancy rate, and rising home costs are interrelated and create a tight and concerning housing market. The combination of these indicators points to increasingly high barriers to homeownership for many Ohioans.

Ohio's aging housing stock puts children and families at risk of health concerns.

In part due to the slow rate of construction, the current housing stock is relatively old. One in four housing units in Ohio (26.5%) were built before the 1950s, when the first lead paint laws were enacted. Many of these older units are concentrated in urban areas; 58% of homes in Ohio's urban cores were built before the 1950s.

More than two-thirds of Ohio's homes were built before 1980 (67%), at which point lead-based paint was banned. This includes 421,640 homes with young children present who are at risk of lead-based paint hazard.

Statewide, about 9.2% of all homes are at risk of lead-based paint hazard to children. In 2018, 3,856 children in Ohio under age 6 were confirmed to have elevated blood lead levels (EBBLs): 2.3% of those tested. The prevalence rate was highest in Cuyahoga County (6.6%), where the risk of lead-based paint hazard is higher.

Children with Confirmed EBBLs

A recent study from the research firm Altarum estimates that 10% of children born in Ohio in 2019 will have blood lead levels in excess of 2 ug/dL. According to the study, this will cost Ohio $2.8 billion in reduced productivity, added health care costs, social assistance, education spending and premature mortality.

Rental cost burden is declining for the average Ohioan, but is rising rapidly for Ohio's lower-income households.

The prevalence of severe rent burden declined from a high of 28% in 2010 to 23% in 2018. This is due primarily to an increase in wages for top-earning Ohioans, rather than a decline in rental costs.

Adjusted for inflation, median gross rent in Ohio increased by 9% from $733 per month in 2012 to $797 per month in 2018. The increase in income for the 80th percentile of Ohioans–the highest earners–since 2006 has outpaced this increase in rent. However, Ohioans in the 20th percentile of income–the lowest income bracket–have lagged since 2008. As incomes diverge in the post-crisis period, lower income Ohioans have not been able to match increases in rent, putting them at a higher risk for housing cost burden, housing instability and homelessness.

Disaggregating severe rental housing cost burden by income groups, lower income Ohioans have experienced a large increase in severe rent burden.

Severe Housing Cost Burden

There are not enough affordable and available units for lower income Ohioans.

In 2018, Ohio had only 80 affordable and available units for every 100 very low-income households. This gap is even larger for the lowest income groups; there were only 44 affordable and available units for every 100 extremely low-income households. This translates to only 199,118 affordable and available rental units for 455,993 ELI renter households in Ohio, leaving a shortage of 256,875 units.

Affordable Housing Unit Shortage

This gap is present in all 88 counties; only 17 counties are meeting more than half of local need. The largest gap is in Central Ohio, where there are only 34 available and affordable units for every 100 ELI households.

While the affordable housing gap has been gradually shrinking, Ohio's current construction pace suggests it will be decades before it closes. Currently, Ohio produces a net growth of about 5,000 units for the lowest-income renters annually. At that pace, it will take almost 50 years to close the affordable housing gap.

The affordable and available housing gap is largest for homes with multiple bedrooms. While Ohio is nearly meeting the need for single bedrooms for very low-income renters, there is a sizable shortage of supply for affordable units with more bedrooms that can accommodate larger families.

Housing insecurity continues to increase, stressing homelessness services.

Homelessness continues to rise to 76,000 unique entries in 2018, a 30% increase from 2012.

The demand for homelessness services outpaces the supply of beds. In 2019, there were 32,362 beds in Ohio for homeless persons, including 9,231 in temporary housing and 23,131 in permanent housing.

Ohioans Requesting Homeless Services Annually

In 2018, there were 105,265 eviction filings statewide, representing 6.6% of all renter households. Although consistently higher than the national rate, Ohio's eviction filing rate has fallen to its lowest level in decades, from the peak in 2005 at 8.6%. Eviction filings are less common in Southeast Ohio where the rate (3.7%) is considerably below the state average.

Ohio has deep racial disparities in poverty and income, exacerbating issues of housing security and homelessness.

Black vs. White Ohioan Poverty Rate

The link between poverty and income is strong. In 2018, Black Ohioans were nearly three times more likely to live in poverty than white Ohioans (29% versus 11%). While slowly declining since 2012, the 18-point gap is substantially larger than the national gap (12) as well as the gaps in all neighboring states.

The 2018 median household income for a white head of household in Ohio was $60,783, 1.8 times larger than the median income for a Black head of household ($33,590), the largest such gap ratio among neighboring states, and larger than the national gap ratio (1.6).

As a result, Black renters are more likely to be cost burdened (33.4% compared to 21.5% for white renters) and face higher barriers to housing stability. Black Ohioans are also over-represented in the homelessness system.

High barriers to stable housing for Black households–combined with multiple forms of discrimination and systemic racism–contribute to the racial disparities in health throughout Ohio. One of the clearest examples is infant mortality; in 2018 the infant mortality rate for Black mothers was 13.9 per 1,000 live births compared to 5.2 for white mothers – a gap of 8.7 points per mille.

Infant Mortality Rate

Children born to Black mothers in Ohio were almost three times more likely to die before their first birthday than those born to white mothers in the state.

Ohio's children remain at risk for housing cost burden and homelessness.

Homelessness among students remains high. During the 2018-2019 school year, 35,214 public school students (2% of enrollment) were flagged as lacking a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence. Homeless students as a share of enrollment were highest in Southwest Ohio (2.41%) and Northwest Ohio (2.22%).

Enrolled Public School Students

There is a large disparity in homelessness flags by school district type; student homelessness is higher in urban school districts (5%) than in suburban (0.7%) and rural or small town districts (1%), however the two counties with the highest incidence of student homelessness are both rural: Morgan and Monroe counties (both 8%).

Ohio's children are more likely than adults to live in poverty; 19% of children under 18 and 22% of children under 5 are living in households below the federal poverty level, compared to 14% overall.

Children and the Federal Poverty Level

Ohio's aging and disabled population is rising, but housing options remain limited, putting them at unique risk for housing instability.

More than 35% of mortgage holders aged 65-74 are housing cost burdened and almost half of those aged 75 or over are cost burdened. This is, in part, due to the massive increase in the share of Ohioans aged 65 and older living alone. However, it speaks to a consistent theme within this Housing Needs Assessment, which is that older adults in Ohio are increasingly vulnerable to housing instability or homelessness due to housing cost burden.

Senior Housing Cost Burden

In 2018, 16.8% of Ohio's population had a disability. The prevalence of disability in Ohio has been generally increasing since 2008 and has consistently been above the national average (15% in 2018).

The disability rate is highest for Southeast Ohio (23.1%) and lowest in Central Ohio (14.3%). Compared to their younger counterparts, the disability rate is substantially higher for aging adults older than 65.

Those with disabilities have a higher prevalence of housing problems than those without disabilities. About 54.9% of renters with a disability experience housing problems, compared with 44.5% of all renters.

The number of people aged 65 and older accessing homelessness services increased 17.5% from 2017 to 2018. Large increases were also seen in those aged 55-64 (a 5.8% increase) and transitional age youth 12 to 17 (4.6%).

According to the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, there are only about 5,630 designated beds in Ohio for those with disabilities.

For a more in depth look at the data please visit the Ohio Housing Needs Assessment website.