Tuesday, April 24th, 2018

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Location, location, location…Where various NE Ohio buyers are looking to buy homes today


Andrew at Clifton Pointe




The Ohio housing market is booming, based on March national figures. And although Northeast Ohio is not as robust as the statewide market, based on statistics from the Ohio Association of Realtors, area agents are being kept busy.

Statewide, sales were 7.3 percent higher in March of this year, compared to March 2016, the best March in 19 years. That breaks down to buyers for 12,245 homes with the average price of $163,382.

According to Dwight Milko, who owns five RE/MAX franchises with more than 110 agents in the east side suburbs, there are “pockets” in Northeast Ohio that are booming. The standard of a healthy market is if the balance of inventory would last about six months. “Today, in some pockets, it’s less than three months,” Mr. Milko said.

With all that activity, we decided to ask around about what areas in Northeast Ohio are appealing to particular clients? Do Millennials love old or new homes? Busy or quiet neighborhoods? Are suburbs more popular than rural spots? Here are some observations:

Downtown, Tremont, Ohio City, Hingetown (between Ohio City, the Warehouse District and Gordon Square) are among the most popular spots for young professionals, whether they be single or married, agree two experts we contacted.

“There are many older buildings being rehabbed into great open spaces for living which gives you that rustic urban feel,” said Sharon Dail Matia of Howard Hanna Real Estate. “Hardwood floors, high ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows all add to the allure for the young professionals. People can walk to the trendy restaurants and galleries, ride their bikes on the connected towpath or take public transportation to downtown and this only adds to the appeal.”

She added, “Hingetown is the newest neighborhood to spring up and one many may not know about.”

Said Mr. Milko, ”I would say most of Northeast Ohio is moving fast right now. The key is not ‘location, location, location.’ The key today to move a home is ‘Location, Beauty and Price.’ If these three elements are in line, the listing will sell very fast.”

“For singles, Millennials and young professionals … downtown and the near west side (Ohio City, Tremont, Detroit Shoreway),” said Allie Carr of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services/Professional Realty. “There is a lively nightlife in all of these regions making it easier for singles to get out and mingle. Plus, there are many recreational sports leagues put together by the Cleveland Plays organization, which is a great place for singles to meet!“

Added Ms. Matia,” In Tremont, there are numerous condos and townhomes being built. Some offer terrific views of the city, have the open floor plan, kitchens with granite and stainless appliances and a feel of a trendy New York City loft. Many are still in the development stage which allows you to design the interior layout. Prices range from the mid $250’s to the mid $350’s depending on square footage.”

What are some of their other observations about the buying/living habits of Northeast Ohioans? Well, where people live is dependent on what they are looking for in terms of personal happiness. And the area offers just enough physical diversity that many are choosing to stay put rather than move to pursue their careers or even to retire.


Here are additional observations from our experts:


Best Market for Singles, Millennials and Young Professionals
Mr. Milko:


“We have seen a diverse mix. The prior trend lines and history is that young professionals would gravitate to the Downtown area and families would gravitate to the suburbs … and they still are.” However, it’s interesting to note a couple of more recent trends: We see young serious professionals that are planning out their next 10 years and are opting to purchase in the upscale suburbs. They know they will be planning a family and want to find the best schools and locations to raise their future family.

“We also see a larger increase in cash buyers and/or buyers that have saved a lot of money and are ready to make an offer to beat out any competition when there are multiple offers on a home.”


Best Market for Retiring Professionals:


Ms. Matia:


“Like the young, many retiring professionals are also flocking to Tremont, Ohio City and downtown. Erie View Towers has been reinvented into upscale condos with views of Lake Erie and downtown. The Association fees are pricey, but you can’t beat the location and convenience. Another area of interest is the Cedar/Fairmount neighborhood in Cleveland Heights.”


Ms. Carr:

“I can’t speak to the ‘best’ area, but I will say many are drawn to areas with lower taxes. That said, we’ve seen an influx of “empty nesters” downtown, in Ohio City, Tremont and the Shoreway, primarily because they want to be near all the excitement and bars and restaurants that the area has to offer. Or they’re tired of always getting a hotel when they head downtown. Areas like Ohio City and Tremont offer a neighborhood feel they might be accustomed to just a three-minute drive from ‘the big city’”


Best Market for Families With Children:


Ms. Matia:

“The best markets will always be those towns with the best school districts and amenities. Solon, Chagrin Falls, Hudson, Beachwood, etc, continue to be huge draws for families. Housing stock is also key. Solon’s newer neighborhoods like Thornbury and Signature offer the open floor plan, higher ceilings and windows that many other towns can’t because they are older. Chagrin Falls and Hudson offer the charm of their downtown section and walkability to restaurants and shops. For the first-time buyer with small children, Solon offers affordable housing in neighborhoods where the current owner has done many upgrades in order to sell. So they are getting great deals on good houses in neighborhoods where there are, once again, young families moving in. The first-time buyer neighborhoods of Solon, Chagrin Falls, Hudson, etc. are so popular, that homes in good condition are selling on the first day they hit the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) and many in multiples that go over asking price!”


Ms. Carr:

“I’m biased because I grew up in Chagrin Falls and I still think it’s the nicest market for families with children. I appreciate what Chagrin has to offer for a growing family more and more. … On the west side, Lakewood has proven to be a new draw for young families as the prices continue to soar here. Homes are affordable, commute to downtown is still short, plenty of sidewalks and parks – what’s not to love?”


Best Market for those who want lots of Land with their home:


Ms. Matia:

“For this you have to go east – Bainbridge, South Russell, Newbury, Munson. There are some developments springing up that offer new homes. Not many and you also may have to contend with septic and well over public sewer/public water.”


Ms. Carr:

“For those who want lots of land – Hunting Valley! Zoning laws make it so all of the properties have to have five-plus acres so one can be confident that they’ll have privacy on all sides. Geauga County has many areas like Auburn and Russell, where one can purchase a lot of land at a not-so-premium price!”


Best market for new/newer construction, brand new homes


The East Side and West Side are booming with construction, with hotspots including Orange, Twinsburg, Solon, Avon, Avon Lake, Olmsted Falls and even in Lakewood, there are clusters of new homes and condominiums.


Ms. Matia:

“Solon still has land available to develop but it’s going fast. One of the newest areas is in Orange off of Brainard — The Villas of Orange. It’s a cluster community and close to everything which is very appealing. … Another is on Pinetree Rd. in Pepper Pike that offers upscale new housing, shopping and much more.”


Ms. Carr:

“Seems like Twinsburg, Reminderville and Aurora are just booming with new homes left and right! Same thing with Ohio City, Tremont and Gordon Square. There isn’t a ton of re-sale inventory here right now so many developers have bought up lots or tear-down homes to build something new and take advantage of the 15-year new construction tax abatement offered which is a HUGE incentive for buyers here.”


Best Market for Lakefront/Lake View Living


The Realtors are unanimous on this: Bratenahl, Rocky River, Bay Village and Lakewood. All are at various prices ranges and ages of the housing stock. Avon Lake and Sheffield Lake are also a focus of Lake Erie lovers, as are the more established areas of Vermilion and Huron.


Best Market for Empty Nesters:


Mr. Milko:

We see a trend of empty nesters who have sold ‘the big house with a couple of acres’ in the suburbs and are ready to give downtown Cleveland, Ohio City, Tremont area a try for the next stage in their lives. They want to experience the city life to its fullest.
Ms. Matia:

“As an eastern suburb realtor, most of my friends are moving to the developments of Edward’s Landing and Canyon Lakes/Canyon Woods in Bainbridge. The land along Chagrin River Road in Bainbridge is booming with new empty nester homes. You are offered a range of having either a cluster, which is a home clustered close to other homes, or you can build a traditional single family home with land surrounding and space between you and your neighbor. The HOA fees cover everything empty nesters no longer wish to handle such as landscaping and snow removal.”


“Another popular area for building new empty nester clusters is in Aurora off of Rt. 82. Prices are reasonable and you are very close to everything you need in terms of grocery, restaurants, freeway to downtown, etc. And then, like the professional retirees, empty nesters are moving to Tremont, Downtown, Ohio City and the Cedar/Fairmount area. These areas give the empty nester a neighborhood to walk around, shops to explore, restaurants for dining and galleries all of which add value to your investment and interest for living … not to mention taking you back to your youth when you lived carefree and could walk out the door and be surrounded by interesting options!”


Other popular markets for buyers with specific needs/wants


Ms. Carr:


Doctors tend to gravitate to “Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights, she said. Tremont and Ohio City have emerged as popular options as well, with easy highway access to I-490 and I-90 – also close proximity to CCF Lutheran Hospital and Metro Main Campus, Ms. Carr said.

For nature lovers, Ms. Carr suggests the cities of Brecksville, Hudson, Hunting Valley, Rocky River and Moreland Hills.

For proximity to shopping/dining? “Beachwood/Lyndhurst, Pepper Pike/Woodmere, Westlake , then…. soon to be Orange with the arrival of Pinecrest , and Shaker Heights with arrival of the Van Aken District!”

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